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Living the Right Life - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
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February 18, 2024 5:00 am

Living the Right Life - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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February 18, 2024 5:00 am

If this sermon was a book and I wanted to sell lots of copies, the title would cause it to fail. Now if it were entitled "Living the High Life" or "Living the Successful Life," then I may have a winner. But many have lived with both success and riches who didn't live right! So what is the right life? Or to frame it with a better question: What kind of life is most pleasing to God? Through a series of paradoxes, John gives us the answer—it wasn't the answer most people are looking for!

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Most assuredly, I say to you, and you're going, yeah, I'm all ears. Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone.

But if it dies, it produces much grain. Now if the first statement raised their hopes, the second statement shattered their hopes. You had to pick these disciples off the ground after verse 24.

Welcome to Connect with Skip weekend edition. Craigslist is famous for having just about everything under the sun for sale. Souls are no exception. Several posts in the Craigslist listing are for souls. The owners of these souls are selling them for different reasons, like needing cash or feeling they no longer have need for one.

That can maybe amuse us for a moment, but the truth is that our soul will live on after the body dies. If you have a Bible handy, you'll want to open it up to John chapter 12, as we join Skip Heitzig for today's teaching part two of living the right life. They also had a fixed eschatology in their heads, in their hearts. They believed certain things about how the end of times, the coming of the Messiah would unfold. Number one, according to their thinking, according to their study, the coming of Messiah would be preceded by a time of horrible turmoil in their land.

They believed that the Roman occupation of Israel fulfilled that for them. Number two, in the midst of the turmoil, an Elijah-like forerunner would come pointing the way to Messiah. That's why people clamored over John the Baptist and said, are you Elijah? Number three, after the forerunner, the Messiah would show up, would defeat his enemies, would bring in the kingdom.

And number four, all of the scattered Jewish people around the world would return to the land of Israel, and Jerusalem would be set up as the center of world peace. So when Jesus stops after coming into Jerusalem, and the Greeks want to see him, and the first thing he says is, the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified, their hopes shot up immediately. They were expecting he's going to set up the kingdom. Also, because he refers to himself, if you'll notice, as the Son of Man. Did you see that in verse 23? The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. If that has ever confused you as to how and why Jesus uses that, it's a messianic term. It comes right out of the book of Daniel chapter seven. In Daniel chapter seven, Daniel sees a vision at night, a glorious vision of the coming of the Son of Man, he writes, the Son of Man being ushered before the throne of the Ancient of Days, God the Father, with holy angels. And it says, of the Son of Man, and I quote Daniel 7 14, he, the Son of Man, was given authority, glory, and sovereign power. All peoples, nations, and men of every language worshiped him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. So they're going, yes, they're psyched. They're about to be let down. Have you ever been so amped, so psyched, and then something happens and you just go.

Okay, that's about to happen. Verse 24, he continues, most assuredly I say to you, and they're going, yeah, I'm all ears. Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it produces much grain. Now if the first statement raised their hopes, the second statement shattered their hopes, you had to pick these disciples off the ground after verse 24. Because suddenly Jesus is talking to them about a different kind of a king, not one who will rule by conquest, but one who will rule by his own death. The analogy he gives was plain and simple, and they got it.

Jesus is saying, I've come to die the death of a cross and then resurrection. Think of the illustration. It's simple. You have in your hand a kernel of grain, a grain of wheat.

It's there. It can't do you any good in your hand. You don't really see or realize its potential in your hand. But during planting season, you put it in the cold, dark earth, a tomb, if you will. And there it sits in the tomb of the earth. And as nature takes its course and it gets some moisture, begins to rot and decay, and the encasement cracks open, and out eventually comes the resurrection, the plant. And as the plant grows, it brings forth much fruit.

One source that I read said if it's a good seed, each grain contains the potential of a million similar offspring. So it's easy to see what he's saying. Jesus is going to die and rise from the dead. And the result of the death and resurrection is going to be millions of people around the world being saved. So here's the Greeks pursuing Jesus, but here's Jesus pursuing the provision for their sins and the sins of the whole world.

There's a point I want to make here. It's very important to living right. If you're going to live right, you need the right pursuit, and that is to pursue Christ. But you must first pursue him as your savior, the one who came to die for your sin and for my sin. See, a lot of people say, oh, yeah, yeah, Jesus, he's cool.

I'm into Jesus. Jesus, I want him as my friend. I want him as my chaperone. I want him as sort of the guy who's there whenever I need help. I'll visit him once a week when I have time. That's Jesus.

Oh, no. Jesus must first be the one that you confront and are willing to take all of the sin that you have committed and transfer it to him by faith, trusting that his finished work on the cross, that provision, was enough before God. That's what the angel said. When he announced the birth of Jesus, you will call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sin. So it's good to pursue Jesus, but you must first and foremost pursue him as savior. If you want to live the right life, it's the right pursuit. It's the right provision. And number three, it's the right priorities. Verse 25 and 26 is where we end this this morning.

Now, this is what he does. Jesus gives the principle about himself, like a seed, dying, coming back, resurrection. And he takes that principle, and he now applies it to us, to his followers, that that same principle of self-sacrifice, of death to self, is now transferred to us. Verse 25. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, let him follow me where I am, there my servant will be also.

If anyone serves me, him, my father, will honor. Now, what does Jesus mean when he says to hate your life? Does that mean you should wake up every day and cultivate a real hatred, an antipathy toward life?

That you get up grumpy and growly? You go, I hate life. I hate it.

Really? Why? Jesus said, I'm supposed to hate it. I hate it. I just want to die and go to heaven.

Get out of here. That's not the joy of the Lord last time I checked. To hate something was often a Hebrew idiom to prefer one thing over something else. And the preference would be so distinct that it's like comparing love and hatred.

That's how steep the preference would become. There's two words you should know about. I want you to look at them both in verse 25. Both translated life, but there's two different Greek words in the original.

Look at verse 25. He who loves his life will lose it. That word life happens to be the Greek word psuche, psuche.

It's hard to say psuche. It means the psyche, the mental life. And the Greeks referred to it as the ego, the self-focused life. It's the person who focuses all of the attention on the temporary physical life.

Well, if you do that, if you love his life, you'll lose it. And then he says, he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. You see that life, that end of the sentence life? Different word.

Translated the same, different word. It's the word zoe. Zoene ionion, life everlasting, life eternal. It's age-abiding life that's not just quantity, goes on and on and on, but quality of life.

It's focused on God, focused on his will, like Webster's 1828 definition, in consonant with God's will. That's the kind of life. So let me sort of paraphrase this on my own as I break it apart. When you live for self-will, and your life is all consumed about your own will, your own comfort, your own physical temporary life, you're going to lose it all. However, when you prefer what is right, even if you lose temporary pleasure, you'll get life.

The focus completely changes. Now I'm going to read to you a scripture that is a parallel passage that I think will help you understand what we've just read and considered. This is now Matthew 10.

Don't have to turn to it, just give me your ear for a moment. Jesus speaking says, If you love your father or mother more than you love Me, you're not worthy of being Mine. If you love your son or your daughter more than you love Me, you're not worthy of being Mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow Me, you're not worthy of being Mine. If you cling to your own life, you will lose it.

But if you give it up for Me, you will find it. We call that a paradox, a statement that has an apparent contradiction to it. A paradox. Do you know that we live our whole Christian life in paradoxes?

I'll give you a few. God's power is made perfect in our weakness. You know that. 2 Corinthians 12. Here's another one. To be rich, you must first become poor in spirit, Matthew 5. If you want to be first, you must be last. If you want to rule, you must serve. If you humble yourself before God, He will exalt you.

If you exalt yourself, He will humble you. Our whole life is lived on a paradox system or in the direct antithesis of how the world lives its life, what it values, what it lives for, what it's passionate about, what it pursues. And so here we have this paradox. We live by dying.

Our potential will never be reached if we just stay a seed. We have to die to certain things, just like the life that was in Christ wouldn't be able to escape that ability to give life through the atoning death of Christ unless He was dead and put in a tomb for Him to resurrect. Same principle. We live by dying. Folks, this is exactly the opposite of the world that you and I live in. Most people in the world are consumed with what they're going to eat, what their fashion looks like, what kind of pleasure they're going to have today, this week, next month. That's what they live. And you know why?

It's simple. It's because they value the body more than the soul. If you value the soul more than the body, different choices are made.

This is what Jesus is speaking about. Think about what it would sound like if a seed could talk, if it had a little mouth on it, and it could talk, and express its feelings as you're taking it from the bunch of His friends and putting them in the cold, dark, stinky earth. You go, I hate this. I hate it.

I hate it. But just wait, little seed. Just wait till springtime. Something wonderful is going to come up because of it.

Fruit's going to happen all around you. So to bring life, there must be death. That's the principle. That's the paradox. Does the name George Mueller ring a bell?

To some of you, it does. George Mueller ran an orphanage in Bristol, England, in the 1800s. He was very influential all over London for his education of children, very well known. Somebody asked Mueller one day what the secret of his life was. You'll be interested to find out his answer. He said, as he hung his head, well, there was a day when I died. I died to George Mueller, to his opinions, his preferences, his tastes, and his will. And I even died to the approval and the scorn of my friends and enemies. There came a day when I didn't care what anybody else thought of me, what anybody else's opinion of me was, or what even I preferred, I came 1828, Webster's Dictionary, to be in consonant with God's will. That's the secret of my life.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the great German pastor who resisted Hitler, said, when Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. That's the principle I want to leave with you before we finish this up. That's the principle. You need the right pursuit. You pursue Christ. But you must pursue Christ as Savior.

That's the provision. Then you must pursue Christ as your Lord and your Master. And here's the statement, and I want you to listen to it carefully. If Jesus Christ is just your Savior and not your Lord, don't expect to have a full and satisfying life.

It won't happen. You want the right life, the full and satisfying life, even though there's pleasures that are deferred, even though it might even hurt and be uncomfortable? It's to pursue Christ as Savior and as Master for a full and satisfying and, above all, a right life.

Look what happens when you do. Verse 26. If anyone serves me, let him follow me. Where I am, there my servant will be also. If anyone serves me, get this, him, my Father will honor.

Let that just sink in. My Father will honor. How will God honor you if you do that? Well, besides giving you everlasting life, which ain't bad, how about this one? The joy of knowing that your life is honoring to God.

The joy of knowing that your life is pleasing to God. We love celebrities in this country. We love to watch them get their awards. We watch what they wear.

We think about their diets. We imagine what it would be like to be honored by so many people. But how about, push all that aside, being honored by God who gave even them life and breath, knowing that your life is pleasing to God?

To be honored by God is to know that our life is being lived right, and it's so fulfilling. I was two weeks old as a Christian when the Lord first started working this principle into my life. Now, I say he first started. He's still at it. Been a long time coming.

He's still trying to work this principle out. But I was two weeks old as a Christian. I had just believed in Christ. I was 18, two weeks old in the Lord, and I started reading the New Testament.

I needed an easy version, so I had the new English version, I think it was called. It was a little paperback New Testament, and I started at the beginning of the book, Matthew. I read one, two, three, and four of Matthew, and then I came to the Beatitudes in chapter five, and I read something that stopped me in my tracks. It read, and I'm quoting directly from that translation, happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires. God will satisfy them fully.

God will satisfy them fully. When I first read that, it's like I stopped. Because I knew there were some things in my life that needed to die, that I needed to cut out if I wanted to have joy. I have a question for you. Is your life sort of stagnant? Would you say your spiritual potential is unrealized?

I would submit to you to go home and examine what things need to die, what things need to be cut out and replaced with other things. You know the text, I know you do. Paul said, I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God that you would present your bodies as a living sacrifice. Now that's a little bit different. A living sacrifice versus a dead sacrifice is different. Because a dead sacrifice just lays on the altar. Living sacrifices have a tendency to want to squirm off the altar once they're put there. I give you my life, Lord.

I don't know about that. Right now I kind of want to do something else. And there's always that need to go back, a living sacrifice. That's why Paul said, I die daily.

It's a daily process. If anyone serves me, him my father will honor. I close with this. It's one of my favorite little quips. In medieval Europe, there was a group of minstrels that loved to travel around. A minstrel was a musician or a poet and would perform with music around him. And this group of minstrels traveled from town to town in Europe.

Well, the economy was tough like it is for us these days. So people weren't showing up to entertainment shows like the minstrels were performing. And it was an afternoon before the evening performance. They had just arrived town.

They were setting up. One of the young minstrels said to the whole group, I say we just quit. I mean, last night there was only a handful of people who came and look outside the windows.

It's snowing now. I'm sure hardly anyone at all will come tonight. I say we just give them their money back and not perform.

Well, that sort of grumbling spread through the whole group rather quickly, as it often does, until one of the older, more experienced minstrels said, now wait a minute. I say we've come this far. We give it our best shot tonight.

It might be our last performance, and we can talk about quitting tomorrow. But let's give this our best. So they did. And afterward, they all felt satisfied that they had given their best. To top it off, to top it off, someone had handed a note to one of the minstrels. And when the minstrel came back to his band of fellow performers in the back room after opened it up with trembling hands, he read it. It said, job well done, outstanding performance, signed your king.

They didn't know it. But that night, in their audience of just a few people, their king, the king of their country, had been traveling through on business and happened to watch the performance. And now they could go to bed knowing that they honored their king and their king had honored them by saying, I loved it.

What a payoff, isn't it? When Jesus will say to you, well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord. I watched your performance.

Job well done. Because you lived right. We're performing for our king. Doesn't that make life worth it? No matter how hard things are, no matter how little thanks we get, we can always hold that encouragement close to our hearts. Our king sees us. And that's the conclusion of our teaching for today. It's titled, Living the Right Life. And if you'd like a CD copy of today's study, it's available for just $4 plus shipping when you call us at 1-800-922-1888.

And now let's see what's going on in the Connect with Skip Resource Center this month. How have conflicts and wars in the Middle East set the stage for a future apocalypse? Here's the question Ron Rhodes takes head on in his new book.

Listen to this. What do you see coming in the next five or six years that might do injury to the church? And without hesitation, I said, I really feel like we're going to see an explosion of subjectivism, experientialism, and mysticism, along with occultism and some paganism. How conflicts and wars in the Middle East have set the stage for the end times. This new book by Ron Rhodes addresses issues such as understanding Islam, rebuilding the temple, and the annihilation campaign from the Antichrist.

Here's Ron Rhodes commenting on Middle East events. Did you know that in Revelation 2 and 3, we read about the church 19 times? And then in the discussion on the tribulation in chapters 4 through 18, you don't see the church a single time.

It is gone. In 1 Thessalonians 1 verse 10, we are told that the church is to be delivered from the wrath to come. That word delivered literally means snatched, snatched away from.

We are to be snatched away from the wrath to come, which is a reference to the tribulation period. With your gift of $50 or more to connect with Skip Heitzig, you'll receive a copy of this new book from Ron Rhodes. Your gift will support the production and expansion of the Connect with Skip broadcast. Call 1-800-922-1888 or go online to with your donation, and we'll thank you with a copy of Ron Rhodes' new book, How conflicts and wars in the Middle East have set the stage for the end times.

That's 1-800-922-1888 or The cross of Christ. It means many different things to many different people, but what does it mean to God? We'll continue through our series Believe 879 with more from the Gospel of John next time, so I hope you can join us right here in Connect with Skip weekend edition, a presentation of Connection Communications. Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the cross.

Cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection. A connection. A connection. Connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-18 04:12:48 / 2024-02-18 04:22:14 / 9

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