(Sermon preached on Sunday, Sep 24, 2017, at Maranatha Church, Cambridge)
Read through John 21:15-25.
As you read this passage, notice how Jesus speaks personally to Peter, and addresses his own heart issues. Jesus does not let Peter shift the focus to John (“the other disciple”), making it clear to him that “you must follow me!” Too often we use the bible to judge others, instead of letting the bible judge us. As far as Jesus is concerned, other peoples’ sins are like ‘specks of sawdust’ to me, compared to my own sins which are ‘planks’ to me (Matthew 7:3-5). At the same time, my sins to others are ‘specks’, while their sins are ‘planks’ to them. In other words, allow the Spirit to deal with your own issues, and let the Spirit deal with others for their issues.
Continue reading ‘Hearing Jesus (He’s talking to YOU!!!)’ »
(Sermon preached on Sunday, Sep 17, 2017, at Maranatha Chruch, Cambridge)
Read through Luke 24:13-35.
As you read this passage, reflect on how the disciples eventually knew it was Jesus speaking to them. Is it possible that Jesus is speaking to us – like He did these disciples – and yet we are unaware of it? What if instead of judging the sermons we hear (or the bible passages we read) as good or bad, easy or hard, we would ask ourselves the question, ‘what is Jesus saying to me?’ Continue reading ‘Hearing Jesus (even through bad sermons)’ »
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” (John 10:14) What does it mean to you that Jesus is your Shepherd? David gives us a beautiful picture of this in Psalm 23.We can fully trust in Him for protection and provision. He will bring us safely home! In Ezekiel 34, God contrasts good shepherds from bad shepherds. Jesus is not just a shepherd, He is the good shepherd! The good shepherd promised by God to take care of us, His sheep (Ezekiel 34).
As a Jesus follower, I am supposed to trust in His care and follow His lead. But am I actually following Him? Am I letting Him control my life? Letting Jesus control my life does not come naturally. And more than likely, we are being controlled by other ‘voices’. Satan does not want you to listen to Jesus. He is constantly confusing us with the ‘noise’ of distraction, deception and discouragement. He will do whatever he can to take your eyes off Jesus.
Jesus is invisible, but He is real; His Spirit will lead us. He is with us at work. He is with us at school. If we allow Him, He can be a part of our every moment and experience. With the support of other believers, and through prayer and bible reading, He will lead us. Don’t give in to the distractions, deceptions and discouragements of the Enemy. Jesus really is good, and He really will shepherd us through this life to the next. But am I really following Him… really really?
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be kept safe.” (John 10:9) This text can be translated “will be saved” or “will be kept safe”; most bibles use the first translation. Usually these words are interpreted to mean that Jesus is the only way to be saved. But if you look at the context, Jesus is not talking about saving sheep from sin or guilt. He is talking about saving sheep from life-killers, from thieves and robbers.
Behind these words is Ezekiel 34, where bad shepherds are described and condemned. Jesus uses this prophecy to encourage His followers, who are like lambs among wolves (Luke 10:3). ‘When you stick close to me, I will protect you, I will be your defender, your gate!’ The closer we are to Jesus, so that we know His voice, the safer we will be from the life-killers. By knowing His voice, His way, we will be able to distinguish between good shepherds and bad. “After I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.” (Acts 20:29)
How do Jesus followers stay safe in this world, how do we discern truth from error, good from bad? By maintaining a close relationship with Jesus, by knowing what He is like and what He sounds like! Then when deceivers come to draw us away, we will be able to tell the difference. Jesus is our refuge, our defender, our gate… stick close to Him!