‘Christian Normal’- New ’Weird’! John 18:12-14

 Text:  This know also, that in the last days (now!) perilous times shall come.  For men/women shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection (homosexual), trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent (sexually), fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

2 Timothy 3:1-5.

Good morning, weird Christian!  You are seeking to sincerely love God and live a God-fearing, Christ-honouring, life.  Therefore, you are looked upon as totally weird in a world that is ever-increasing in antichristian ungodliness.  In this sense, you and I are most definitely defined weird.

In the midst of so much carnal ungodliness, sinful practice and faithless unbelief - normal is the new weird!  In the worlds eyes, sincere Christians are total weirdoes!  Praise God for such weirdo Christians!

Definition:  Weird: (adjective)  unearthly, uncanny, peculiar, oddeccentric; someone unconventional.  (Chambers Dictionary p.1894)

Biblically defined, the world has been in these last days now for more than two thousand years.  The writer of The Epistle to the Hebrews states this fact clearly:  God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son (Jesus Christ), Whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds.  (Hebrews 1:1-2)

Our text this morning just as clearly reveals that the ‘…perilous times…’ of ‘…these last days…’ will be characterized by certain ungodly, and selfish inner attitudes, mirrored by the outer expressions of the hearts of sinful man.

This know also, that in the last days (now!) perilous times shall come.  For men/women shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection (homosexual), trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent (sexually), fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.                              (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Furthermore, if in these last days, men and women are sincerely seeking to be regenerated by God the Holy Spirit, and to live sincere Christian lives - we will stand out in such stark contrast to the worldlings described above, that the ungodly, selfish ‘…lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God…’ will be compelled to ridicule us as fools, idiots, and weirdoes’!  Fact!

At 73 years of age, the last 41 of those years as a born again Christian believer, I have NEVER encountered a more hostile, antichristian, and totally selfish society living here in Northern Ireland.   Holiness is deemed weird!

Furthermore, the British Mainland’s - England, Scotland and Wales - are much worse!  Our once Christian Nation, founded on the principles of Holy Scripture, is now a quagmire of filthy practice, Sodomy, and multi-faith error!

Sincere Christian believers, in contrast to present social values, are labelled spoil-sports, good-living geeks, and total weirdoes’!

The apostasy of Annas, and his son-in-law the Jewish high priest Caiaphas, in todays Bible reading is ’…in these last days…’ mirrored in many denominations of the established British churches!  Drunkenness, greed; paedophilia; and blatant homosexuality are some of the deviant traits and open clerical practices that are threatening to split The Church of England!

Such apostate clergy do not worship and honour the Holy King Jesus, but are out-and-out ‘…lovers of their own  selves covetous proud blasphemersunholywithout natural affection (sexually deviant)  despisers of those that are goodtraitorshigh-mindedhaving a form of godliness (a dead ritualistic religion!), but denying the power thereof (Spiritually unregenerate!): from such turn away.                 (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

The Lord God in Holy wrath cries:  Come ye out from among them!  Be ye separate!  Touch not the unclean thing!  And I will receive you.  (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

The spirit of apostasy manifested in our Bible reading today, ‘…Took Jesus and bound Him, and led Him away…’ that they might Crucify Him.  They too sought to treat Christ Jesus as an other-worldly weirdo.  God is not mocked.  On the Judgement Day - we weirdoes’ in Christ shall be saved.  Take heart, sound Bible-believing Christian!

Thought: God hath chosen His weirdoes’ to confound the worldly wise!

Spiritual Warfare! John 18:10-11

Text:  Jesus answered, My Kingdom is not of this world; if My Kingdom were of this world, THEN would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is My Kingdom not from hence.

John 18: 36.

 Good morning, Spiritually armed Christian!  You are engaged in a constant and daily Battle that far transcends mere physical dimensions; a Battle that is fiercely arrayed against your very soul!  You and I are Spiritually armed by God in order that we might engage in this vital Spiritual warfare with the world, the flesh, and the Devil.  Spiritual warrior - arm yourself NOW!

For we (born again Christian believers) wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against Spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day…”  (Ephesians 6:12-13)

Please read The Christian In Complete Armour, by the Puritan, William Gurnall (1616-1679)  Banner of Truth Trust, P.O. Box 621, Carlisle, Pennsylvania 17013, U.S.A.)

The two brief verses of our selected Bible Reading for today, clearly teach us that the Lord Jesus Whom we love and serve, Who has redeemed us from all our sin; will not permit us to engage in mere physical battles with the enemies of His Kingdom and our very souls.  We are indeed, Spiritual warriors engaged in a completely Spiritual Battle.

When the impulsive Peter, that big faithful fisherman, saw his Saviour, whom he loved dearly, being physically threatened by the traitor Judas and the band of men armed with ’…weapons…’ (’…swords and staves) - he did what many of us would have done faced with similar circumstances: he drew a sword and cut the ear off Malchus, the servant of the serving high priest.  He used physical force.  (Matthew 26:45-51)

Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, an smote the high priests servant, and cut off his right ear.  The servants name was Malchus. (V.10)

The Lord Jesus immediately rebuked Peter for reacting in such a physically violent manner:  Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath…” (V.11)  The Lord Jesus would not permit Peter to fight physically for Him. 

We latter-day Christian warriors must likewise desist from such physical warfare.  If Christs Kingdom was a mere worldly kingdom, then we would be required to fight worldly violence with worldly violence.  However, the Lords teaching on this matter is certain and made very clear:

Jesus answered, My Kingdom is not of this world; if My Kingdom were of this world, THEN would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is My Kingdom not from hence.

Understanding that Christs Kingdom is NOT of this world, or physical in any manner - we therefore understand that our weapons cannot be so either!  In such Spiritual warfare, we Christians use Spiritual weapons.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do NOT war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.  (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

The Lord Jesus could have called down ‘…legions of angels…’, truly powerful created beings, that would have obliterated Christs puny foes.  But He did not do so.  Christ Jesus was determined to allow Himself to be taken by the Jewish mob; delivered unto the Roman Governor; rigorously and brutally questioned; unjustly condemned; violently and unmercifully scourged; scornfully mocked; and finally torturously Crucified - to make a Holy Sacrifice of Himself to Atone for your sins and for mine.

“…He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed (from all our sins)...He (God the Father) hath laid upon Him (Christ the Son) the iniquity of us all.  (Isaiah 53:5-6)

We for whom Christ suffered and died to save are His servants.  Our warfare in His Name is truly a Spiritual warfare.  We fight day and daily with Spiritual weapons: prayer and the Word of God.  The Victory is already won at that place called Calvary.  All our foes are defeated by Christs Blood.

Thought:  “…All that take the sword shall perish with the sword…”, desist from all physical violence; resist the Devil and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh unto God, He is the Captain of our Warfare.

‘…Whom Seek Ye?’ John 18:1-9

Text:  Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near; let the wicked forsake his/her way, and the unrighteous man/woman his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

Isaiah 55:6-7.

Good morning, abundantly pardoned Christian!  At one distinct, never-to-be- forgotten, time in your life as a Hell-bent sinner, you, like the author, heard the Gospel message of Salvation in Christ alone; received faith to believe; diligently sought Christ Jesus; were granted repentance from sin; turned from sin to follow the Saviour - and have proven Him to be all-sufficient to your souls deepest needs ever since.  Hallelujah!  We, once lost, are now found!

Not only have we now been forgiven of all our vile sins, God has abundantly pardoned us; has justified us in His Holy sight.  We are Eternally forgiven!  Thank the Lord, oh my soul!  What a Saviour!

He took my sins and my sorrows, He made them His very own;  He bore the burden to Calvary and suffered and died alone.  How marvellous! Oh how wonderful! And my song shall ever be; How marvellous!  Oh how wonderful!  Is my Saviours love for me.  (Hymn by Isaac Watts/Charles H. Gabriel)

Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you.  And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.  And I will be found of you, saith the Lord…”  (Jeremiah 29:12-14)

There are many and varied motives for seeking after the Lord Jesus Christ.  Some seek Christ for Salvation from a Christ-rejecters Hell.  Some seek Christ through carnal curiosity, to satisfy a whim of their still mortal minds.  The motivation we harbour in our hearts for searching for Christ determines the Eternal outcome of our seeking. What are YOUR motivations, my friend?

Judas Iscariot, ‘…the son of perdition…’, was preordained to betray the Son of God Christ Jesus.  He sought out the Lord Jesus, but his motives were far from pure.  Judas real god was money, political power and patronage.  He now languishes in a Christ-betrayers Hell.  (Psalm 41:9) (Revelation 20:10)

Judas Iscariot was a Jewish zealot: seizing and wielding political power over the  Romans occupying Palestine was his hearts motivation for seeking out the Christ.  He had visions of being part of the leadership of a new party-political religious movement, that would sweep him into power over Rome; and with that power would come his deepest hearts desire, a desire to be rich, powerful and famous. 

It was Jesus, the party-political deliverer, that Judas heart sought.

When Judas realised that Jesus had come to suffer and to die on a cruel Roman Cross as the long-awaited Atonement Sacrifice for sin; he sought to make gain of the Lord Jesus, and sold Him out to the Jewish authorities for a mere thirty pieces of silver.  Many today will also seek to use Christ, and a false profession of Christianity, as a means to further their own covetous ends.  Traitors!  Come out from among them, and be ye separate!"

Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.  Jesus thereforesaith unto them, Whom seek ye?  (Vs.3-4)

When the Lord Jesus, the Almighty Son of the Almighty Lord God, declared unto Judas and the band of persecuting soldiers His powerful Name I Am (the he’ in the KJV is in italics and therefore not part of the actual words spoken) - the puny and persecuting mortals all ’…went backward, and fell to the ground. (V.6)

Jesus Christ, the great I Am, spoke His own Holy Name - and the crowd fell down before His Omnipotent power.

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM; and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.  (Exodus 3:14)

As soon as He had said unto them, I AM (He), they went backward, and fell to the ground.  (V.6)

Then asked He them again, Whom seek ye?  And they said, Jesus of Nazareth.  (V.7)  The unbelieving crowd only sought Jesus the man.

We as repentant sinners have, by Gods grace, sought out Jesus the God-Man; the Son of the Living Lord - God's ONLY WAY of Eternal Salvation.  (Acts 4:12)  By doing so, we have found true Salvation in Him.  Praise His Holy Name!

Thought: Christ Jesus, alone, Eternally saves - ‘…Whom seekest thee?

Saved, Secured, and Sent! John 17:18-26

Text:  As Thou (God the Father) hast sent Me (God the Son) into the world (the incarnation), even so have I also sent them (the saved) into the world.

John 17:18.

Good morning, saved and sent Christian!  The Lord God has revealed His truth unto our hearts; we received faith to believe as His gift - imparted by hearing His Word - and were graciously saved.  However, we are not saved to sit about doing nothing.  We are saved, secured in Christ, and sent out with the Gospel that other precious souls might also be reached and saved - according to the will of the Lord God.  We have a Divine purpose in life.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo (behold, look!) I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.  Amen.  (Matthew 28:19-20)

When the risen Christ gave His disciples this instruction, they gladly went out where they were sent to go, preaching the Gospel of Christ and Him Crucified for the sins of all nations. 

The first disciples were obedient to Christ and to His commandments. I wonder, are we likewise obedient today?

In todays selected Bible passage in our Journey In Johns Gospel series, we find a fivefold mention of the concept of being SENT. (Vs 18;21;23;25)

The number five is the number of Gods grace, denoting the abundance of Gods richest grace which He created for mankind on day five of His Creation.  (Genesis 1:20:23)

If God the Holy Spirit has seen fit to inspire John to mention the concept of being sent five times in such a short passage of Bible verses - then it is certain that we Bible-believers should take special note of such a stated principle.

In verse eighteen of our passage, the Lord Jesus teaches us that God the Eternal Father sent Christ Jesus into the world that He had Created.  He went through the incarnation process; was conceived miraculously in the womb of a virgin; was physically born of that virgin woman; lived a sinless life for thirty-three and a half years; performed many Supernatural miracles; was unjustly sent to a cruel Cross to die; and rose again from the dead because death/Hell could not hold Him, as there was no sin in Him.           (Hebrews 4:15-16)

Christ Jesus, the Son of God, was therefore purposefully SENT by God the Father to accomplish a unique means of Redemption for a God-ordained selection of precious souls.  Hallelujah!  What a God of Sovereign grace!

However, the Eternal purpose of the Lord God does not end there.  Gods Word goes on to teach us that, the One that the Father sent into the world - Christ Jesus - also sent all those whom He saved, and would continue to save, out into the world, that they/we might continue to fulfil the Fathers purpose; the Salvation of other sinners souls. 

We are saved and sent out to serve the Living Lord God; not to sit perpetually moribund inside a church building!  Get out there, Christian!

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word (testimony of Salvation in Christ alone).  (V.20)

For the promise (of Salvation in Christ Jesus) is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.     (Acts 2:38-47)

Christ Jesus came unto us for to fulfil the Eternal purpose of Almighty God: to be a Holy Sacrifice for the sins of all those whom God preordained to save.  (John 6:37)

When we get gloriously saved by Gods grace, we too are sent out to fulfil the Eternal purpose of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ: to reach the yet unsaved elect and lead them to Christ through the preaching of the Gospel.

And for their sakes I (Christ Jesus) sanctify (set apart for Sacrifice) Myself, that they also might be sanctified (set apart to preach the Gospel) through the truth.  (V.19)

We preach and teach the Gospel truths from Gods Word; God the Holy Ghost moves on the hearts of those the Father has chosen to receive faith to believe and receive His Sons Eternal Salvation.  God saves all His elect souls!

We prove our love for Christ by exercising evangelistic love to other elect souls.

Thought:  You and I are saved, and secured - but are we being continually obedient, and allowing ourselves to be sent out?

God Keeps Whom He Saves! John 17:11-17

Text:  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for YOU, who are KEPT by the power of God through faith unto Salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Peter 1:3-5.

Good morning, saved and Eternally secure Christian!  Not only has the Lord God seen fit to choose you and I for Salvation in Eternity, He has also given us to His dear Son in Eternity; and now keeps us secure for Eternity!  Wow!  Now we can say with complete conviction:  Hallelujah!  What a Saviour!

We who are currently saved are Eternally secured for Heaven by God.

My sheep (Gods chosen souls, the elect) hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give unto them Eternal life; and they shall never perish (Spiritually), neither shall any man (not even ourselves!) pluck them out of My hand.“   (John 10:27-28)

Christs Prayer:  The Lord Jesus Christ prayed the following prayer for us, His people, whom He came into the world to save:  “…Keep through Thine own Name those whom Thou hast given Me…”, and God the Sons prayers are always heard and answered by our wonderful Heavenly Father.  How do we know this?  Gods Word, the Bible, teaches us that it is so.

“…And Jesus lifted up His eyes, and said, Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me.  And I knew that Thou hearest Me ALWAYS; but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that Thou hast sent Me.  (John 11:41-42)

Christs Keeping Power: As the incarnate Son of God, God the Living Son; God in Bodily Form - Christ Jesus had, has, and will always have, Divine and Almighty power over all things.  He is the Creator Lord God, the Lord of Heaven and earth.  Glory to His Almighty Name!  (Philippians 2:8-12)

And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, ALL power is given unto Me in Heaven and in earth.  (Matthew 28:18)

When God the Father Divinely selected us to save us, in Eternity, ‘…before the foundation of the world…’, His will was to give all those souls whom He chose to His Son, Christ Jesus - that He might, in time, save us by suffering and dying for us on the Cross.  All souls that Christ was given by the Father, He saved, and will save - and when He saves, He Eternally keeps us secure!

All that the Father giveth (gives, and continues to give) Me shall come unto Me; and him/her that cometh (comes and continually comes) to Me I will in no wise cast out.  For I came down from Heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him (God the Father) that sent Me.  And this is the Fathers will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.  (John 6:37-39)

There it is!  We cannot set this truth forth in clearer terms.  We who are saved are Eternally secure in Christ Jesus!  Rejoice in this truth!

“Who shall separate us (born again souls) from the love of Christ?  Tribulation...distress...persecution...famine...nakedness...peril...a sword?  Nay, in all these things were are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.  For I am persuaded that neither death...life...angels...principalities (evil powers)...powers...things present...nor things to come...height...depth...nor any other creature (including ourselves!), shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 8:35-39) 

If YOU are saved, you are Eternally saved.  If you are lost, you are Eternally lost, unless you get saved.  You cannot be saved and lost at the same time!  The two terms saved and lost are diametrically opposed terms.

Furthermore, IF you are saved - please do not be surprised that the world (the unsaved, the lost) hates you.  If they hated our Lord Jesus, they will hate you and me also.  Being hated by the world is a proof positive of our Salvation!

I have given them Thy Word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I (Christ Jesus) am not of the worldkeep them from the evil.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them (set them apart) through Thy Truth; Thy Word is Truth.     (Vs. 14-17) 

With this vital Bible lesson in mind, beloved Christian, rejoice!  For you and I are Eternally secure in Christ, and all because of Calvary.  Hallelujah!  Thanks be to God!

Thought:  We are Eternally saved, safe, and secure in Christ Jesus.