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A Brand New Way of Life! - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
May 12, 2024 6:00 am

A Brand New Way of Life! - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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May 12, 2024 6:00 am

To follow Jesus is to have a brand new way of life. When these twelve men sitting around the dinner table started hanging around Jesus, they had no idea just how new and different their lives would become. At this final meal on that last night, they were still learning just how new their lives should be. (Jesus can still teach old dogs new tricks!) As present-day followers of Christ, let’s consider three aspects of life that become new once we become His disciples.

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He's saying, listen, I'm letting the world look at your lives so that the world can say, these people are real.

They're authentic. They really follow me. And the evidence is because of their love for one another. By this shall all know that you are my disciples by the love.

Welcome to Connect with Skip Weekend Edition. There are a lot of reality shows based on driving people to their limit in pursuit of a prize. And whether the people are cooped up in a remote island or at a gym or engaged in a race across the globe, when the pressure gets high, things get, well, ugly.

As believers, we're involved not in a reality show, but in reality. And when the pressure is on and things begin to decay, our mandate is not to get ugly, but to love. And not just love, but to love like Jesus. Well, today in Connect with Skip Weekend Edition, we'll hear the conclusion of the teaching, A Brand New Way of Life.

It's part of our current teaching series, Believe 879. We'll be in John chapter 13. So be sure to open your Bibles there as we join Skip Heitzig for more. Many Christians are only Christaholics and not disciples. Disciples are crossbearers. They seek Christ. Christaholics seek happiness. Disciples dare to discipline themselves and the demands they place on themselves, leave them enjoying the happiness of their growth. Christaholics are escapists, looking for a shortcut to nirvana.

Like drug addicts, they're trying to drop out of their depressing world. There's no automatic joy, writes Calvin. Christ is not a happiness capsule. He's the way to the Father.

But the way to the Father is not a carnival ride in which all we do is sit and do nothing until we're whisked through a variety of spiritual sensations. We need a new perspective, the gay's future, the goal to glorify God here and now. That's number one, a new perspective.

Number two, a new relationship. Now, before I read the verse, do you notice how often we as evangelicals speak about having a relationship with God? We do that a lot, don't we? We tell people it's not religion, it's a relationship, a personal relationship with the living God. Now, as true as that is, and I still believe that, you've got to admit, it's a very different kind of a relationship than we have with anybody else.

When you have a relationship with a person, you sit across the table from them and have a conversation with them and eat lunch with them, you're hearing their voice audibly, you're seeing their body language as they communicate, their facial expressions. That's the kind of relationship the disciples in that upper room have had with Jesus for three and a half years. All of that is about to change, and they're not quite ready for it. Verse 33, little children. Pause right there.

How cool is that? The only time recorded in the gospel where Jesus said that is here, little children. He's the host of the Passover meal. He's acting as a father would act toward the children in his family, but this reveals the tender care and compassion of Jesus.

He calls his followers little children. I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek me. And as I said to the Jews, where I'm going, you cannot come.

And so now I say to you. What does he mean by a little while? Well, in about two hours, he's going to be arrested. The next day, he's going to be crucified. Three days later, he's going to rise from the dead.

Forty days after that, he's going to ascend into heaven, and they're going to see him no more. In fact, when they're on the Mount of Olives and Jesus ascends into heaven, you know what the disciples are doing? Well, you know what they're doing.

They're doing this. They're just gazing up. So an angel comes by and goes, hey, you men of Galilee, hey, you men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus whom you saw go into heaven will come back in like manner. Hold that thought.

Hold that thought. If the disciples in the upper room would have really known what Jesus was saying, they would have blown a circuit. If they would have understood that Jesus will die, that's not what they expect. They expect a kingdom.

That's why they're arguing who's going to be the greatest in the kingdom. We've told you that before. If they knew that Jesus was going to die and ascend into heaven, and for the next 2,000 years, they and everyone else is going to be waiting for him to return, they would have just gone... That's so not what they wanted to hear. That's what Jesus is telling them. I'm only with you a little while longer, and you'll see me no more.

And where I am going, you cannot come. Now he'll explain a little more of that. We'll pick that up next week, but that's what he's saying to them.

Here's the point. They're entering into a new relationship with Christ, yes? So far it's been in the flesh.

Now it's going to be by faith. Now he reinforces this thought throughout the evening's meal and throughout this upper room discourse. In chapter 16, for example, Jesus says to these same men, it is to your advantage that I go away. Can I just say if I was in that room, I would have said, pardon me, excuse me.

That's not true. It is not from my advantage that you go away. It's from my advantage that you stay with me always, just like this, where you can work miracles and I can hear your voice and see your face and have meals with you. But he said, it's to your advantage that I go away. And he continued, and he said, unless I go away, the counselor, the Holy Spirit, cannot come. But if I go, I will send him to you.

Now think what that means. Up to this point, the presence of Jesus was localized. Wherever Jesus was, that's where he was.

Isn't that profound? In other words, if he was in Jerusalem, he wasn't in Galilee. If he was in Galilee, he wasn't in Jerusalem. But by him going back to the Father, he can send the Holy Spirit to live inside every believer. In fact, he promises the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit will all take residence within every believer so that where two or three are gathered in his name, he is there in the midst. He is universal rather than localized. It is to your advantage that I go away.

My point is simple. The relationship of a disciple is one not of sight, but of faith. 2 Corinthians 5, for we walk by faith and not by sight. Now admittedly, we long for what the disciples had. We long for sitting around a table with Jesus and being able to hug him and see his expression and hear what he's saying. And one day, we'll have that.

But until then, he's going to wean us off of sight, off of what we're leaning on, and onto a life of faith. I read an article this week about lobsters. You say, why were you doing that? Lobsters don't keep one shell. They molt about every year. They discard their old shell, and they grow a new shell. Now, if they were to stay in their old shell and not abandon it, it's protective.

It protects them, but it would become a prison, and in fact, it would become a casket. They have to get rid of the old, and they grow a new one. But in that in-between vulnerable period of time when they get rid of the old shell, and they're growing the new shell, they're very vulnerable.

They're tossed by the currents of the sea, cartwheeled through the ocean. There's things like coral that are very sharp that could cut them to pieces. There's schools of fish that would love to make them part of the food chain. But they won't grow unless they get rid of the old shell and grow a new one. I bet the first time a lobster loses a shell, if it could speak, it would say something like, I miss that old shell. Things look pretty good in that old shell. I want my old shell back.

But they'll never grow unless they discard it, though unprotected for a period of time and grow something new. We're a lot like that. We get tossed and tumbled through life, and it can be very scary, and we want the protection, and we want to depend on someone or something to hold us up, to prop us up, and God is all about weaning us off of those props and onto just trusting him by faith. That's the new relationship, new perspective, new relationship. Third is a new commandment he gives, marching orders you might say. Verse 34, a new commandment I give to you. Judas has just left the room.

The betrayer is gone. He's turning to the authentic disciples and giving them their future marching orders. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you so that you also love one another. By this all will know you are my disciples if you have love for one another. Now if you're like a Bible geek, if you're really a Bible student, you're thinking about now, wait a minute, this isn't a new commandment.

In Leviticus 19, that's an Old Testament book, God says you will not bear a grudge against any of the sons or daughters of your people, but you will love your neighbor as yourself. That's an old commandment. The word for new in this verse that we just read is the word kynos in Greek. It doesn't mean new in terms of chronology or age. If that were the case, Jesus would have said the word nios, not kynos.

Kynos means, here's a better translation, a fresh commandment or a renewed commandment I give to you. Love one another. They'd just seen a display of love.

He washed their feet. He says, you've seen my love. You've been with me for three and a half years. I want you to love like that. Now you know what the word love is, right? If you were to guess the Greek word for love here, what would you say it is? Agape, you got it right.

Agape, agapao. It's not the love of feeling. It's the love of the will. It's not the warm, fuzzy emotions that you have. It's I choose with the mature kind of an approach to show love to that person.

That's agape, agape love. It doesn't mean liking, by the way. Can I just be honest with you? I'll be very confessional right from my heart. I don't like everybody I meet.

You don't either. That's honesty. But I'm called a love to demonstrate love. I don't even think God likes everybody. I know he loves the world, but people that are God haters and slur the name of Christ and do evil, you think God goes, oh, I have such warm, fuzzy, emotional feelings for it.

Not at all. But he loved the world that he gave his son. Agape love is a mature kind of love.

And it has a qualifier. He didn't just say, I want you guys to love. No, he says, I want you to love like this. Notice how we should love. Love one another as I have loved you. Now, that's the benchmark.

That's pretty high. How do you measure love? You measure it by flowers, gifts. How many times you can say I love you in one day? Those are good reminders. I read about a man in 1875, Marcel Delacroix, who wrote the words I love you 1,875,000 times, or 1,000 times the calendar year being 1875. You might hear that, especially some of the gals, and go, oh, that's so romantic.

Don't get your hopes up. He hired somebody to do it. So Jesus says, I want you to love, but not just love without a qualifier. I want you to love like this, as I have loved you.

Well, that's a whole different ballgame. Because number one, Christ's love is sacrificial. John 15, greater love has no one than this. Then he would lay down his life for his friends. That's sacrificial love.

Number two, it's unconditional love. When Jesus was on the cross, the first thing he said is the enemies were gloating over him. His father, forgive them. They don't know what they're doing.

So here's my point. When Jesus loves, he doesn't love lovely people, deserving people, wonderful people. He loves people who don't love him back. He loves people who don't love him back. He loves sacrificially.

He loves unconditionally. Okay, if you're honest, you might be thinking about now, this is impossible for me to copy Jesus and love like he did. It's impossible. And I confess, I agree with you, it's impossible on your own. But as a disciple following Christ, he would never give you a command that's impossible. If he doesn't give you a command, he's going to give you the ability to do it, right? Does that make sense? Do you know that as a disciple of Christ, do you know that you have an unlimited reservoir and capacity to love?

Do you realize that? The Bible says that God has shed forth his love or poured out his love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. That's Romans chapter 5 verse 5. He has poured out his love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

So here's the point. If God's love can flow into our hearts, God will make sure that his love can flow out of our hearts to other people, which means no one in our circle of relationships should ever be loved starved. He's given us that capacity. Now why should we do it? There's the standard. There's the new commandment, love like I love.

Why should we do it? Look what he says. Verse 35, we close with this. By this, now what's this? Love like Jesus. By this, all will know you are my disciples if you have love for one another. Boy, that's a scary verse. Let me explain what I mean when I say it's a scary verse.

In effect, Jesus is giving permission to the world to judge us. He's saying, listen, I'm letting the world look at your lives so that the world can say, these people are real. They're authentic. They really follow me.

And the evidence is because of their love for one another. By this shall all know that you are my disciples by the love. And how else are they going to tell? How else is the world going to know that we're the real deal? Is it our bumper stickers? By this shall all men know you're my disciples by the bumper stickers you put on your chariots or your cars. Listen, by the way, some of us drive, we should not have bumper stickers. Is it by our t-shirts?

Is it by the theology we can stuff in our brains? No, it's by love. I read a story about a 10-year-old boy in the city, New York, Broadway. His nose was plastered up against a store window. He was gazing inside. It was cold outside. He had no shoes on. A lady walked by and said, what are you doing?

He said, I'm asking God for shoes. Well, you know what she would do. And she did it. She brought the young man inside, asked for a basin of water, washed that little boy's dirty soiled feet, bought him a few pairs of socks, bought him a pair of shoes. And was about to walk out.

She felt a tug on her coat. She looked up and it was a little boy looking up and he said, excuse me, are you God's wife? You remind me so much of God by what you just did to me. Boy, how wonderful it must be when people say you must be related to God.

You've got to be one of his sons or daughters by the way that you love. That's a telltale sign. There's something else I can't resist before we close. Notice what he says at the end of that verse. If you have love for what? Huh?

Not for the whole world. But if you just start with one another, if you just begin loving other fellow disciples, fellow believers, if you just do that, they'll know you're the real deal. I don't know about you, but when I was a kid, I had some family issues.

A lot of them were my attitude, frankly. But whenever there was family dynamics that weren't really good and whether there was an argument or a fight or an imbalance in our home, I remember looking at other families and thinking, I wish I was a part of that family. I want to be a part of that family. I want to be a son in that family.

I love the way they love each other. I want to be part of that group. That's the idea here that the world with all of its dysfunction would look at people like us loving each other and they'd say, I want to be a part of that family.

I want to be a part of that group. Well, I've given you three new things that Jesus gives to his disciples that night. You're going to be my followers. You need a new perspective, a new gaze into the future, a new goal in this life, living for the glory of God. You need a new relationship.

You're going to have it. I'm going to wean you off of sight and onto faith. And finally, a new commandment to love with that benchmark love that is like mine.

Now, let me give you three bullet points to walk away with since I've given you three points. Number one, ask God for a new set of eyes. Not literally, not literally, of course, but just a new way of looking at things so that when you look at your treasures, what you own, the people in your life, what you do, you'd see it differently. A new perspective. You'd learn to gaze at the end of the road and live in the interim part of the road for the glory of God. That's a new perspective. Ask God for new eyes. Number two, embrace the weaning process as He's taking you and I to a place of just trusting in Him fully.

Embrace that. And number three, learn to measure your following of Christ, your discipleship, your Christianity by love. Not by how many people love you, but how many people you love. And I find that they work in tandem. The more people you love, you're like a magnet. You're irresistible.

You'll have more that love you. Let me tell you as I close about a church tradition. We don't know this for sure, but it's a long-standing tradition that says when the author of this book of John, John the apostle himself, was an old man after he had left the isle of Patmos, he was taken back to Ephesus where he spent his final days around 100 years of age. He couldn't walk. He had to be carried everywhere by his disciples. So they would pick him up and they would take him to church and everybody wanted to hear a word from the apostle John.

And in his last days, according to church tradition, he only said one thing and he said it often. They'd raise him up and they'd say, John, tell us something. And he would say, little children love one another. They'd bring him to church next week. John, tell us something.

Little children love one another. And the next week. And the next week. And finally, somebody said, why do you keep saying that? And this is what he said, because it is the Lord's command. And if this alone be done, it is enough.

Isn't that great? If you just do that, if we would just love one another, imagine the power and impact we would have in this community and in this country. You know, we can never underestimate the power and impact of God's people loving the world through the power of God's Spirit.

That certainly gives us a lot to consider. And this month we have a special resource that's sure to strengthen your trust in the accuracy of God's Word. Here's more. The best biographies contain the kind of intimate details that make you feel like you're getting personal access to the person you're reading about. From timeless icons to contemporary celebrities, it's exciting to learn about influential people. But one biography stands out above the rest, the biography of God. Here's Skip Heitzig.

There's this very, very here's Skip Heitzig. There's this vast, unfed hunger to know God personally. Discover the omnipotence, paradoxes, and mystery central to God's being and remove the limits you may have placed on who God is. There's something uniquely elevating about focusing not on me, but on God.

It will do something to you. Skip's perspective shifting book is our thanks when you give a gift of $50 or more to help keep Connect with Skip Heitzig on the air. Call 800-922-1888 or give securely online at connectwithskip.com slash offer. If you'd like a copy of today's message, you can find it at connectwithskip.com or you can call us and order one at 1-800-922-1888. Each copy is just $4 plus shipping. 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. Connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-12 04:08:49 / 2024-05-12 04:17:47 / 9

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