Thursday, February 16, 2012

Love One Another

“One Anothers” 

There are 36 “One Anothers” in the New Testament
These are in 14 categories 

These are instructive in defining Christian behavior within the Church
They are the “How To” of Church Life
They reveal what a healthy Church looks like
The Scriptures tell us to… 

Be Devoted to One Another
Accept One Another
Bear With One Another
Forgive One Another
Honor One Another
Live in Harmony with One Another
Greet One Another(holy kiss)
Serve One Another
Submit to One Another
Stop Judging One Another
Encourage One Another
Offer Hospitality to One Another
Be Humble Towards One Another 

…and most importantly… LOVE ONE ANOTHER 

JOHN’S HEART – Only gospel to record this Command 

John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 

1 John 3:23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 

1 John 3:11 This is the message you heard from the beginning. We should love one another. 

1 John 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 

1 John 4:11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one

1 John 4:12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 

John 13:35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” 


We return to the verse where we started… 

John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 

We are to love one another in the same way Jesus loved us 

How did Jesus love us? 

1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

10 Things about the Prayer Life of Christ (Part 3)

7. Jesus prayed much right before the Cross. He prayed much in particular during those days. In Luke 22, you see Jesus in Gethsemane. We hear Jesus praying on the cross.

I want to take a look for a moment here at John 17, the high priestly prayer of Jesus, the real Lord's prayer, that Jesus prayed in the upper room in Gethsemane. This is an intimate look into the prayer life of Christ. Let me just give you an outline for that chapter: He prayed for Himself (Jn 17:1-5). He prayed for His disciples (Jn 17:6-19). He said, “Keep them in your name, that they may be one, even as we are one” (v. 11), “Keep them from the evil one” (v. 15), “Sanctify them in the truth” (v. 17). He prayed first for Himself, then He prayed for His disciples.

Then, I love this, He prayed for us!

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word [that's us!], that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory (vv. 20-26).

Think of Jesus praying those things for us. It shows His heart that He prayed for others when He might understandably have been consumed with His own needs. He prayed for Himself, He prayed for His disciples, He prayed for us, but above all—in His prayer life during that passion week and throughout His life—He prayed for the glory of God, for the will of God to be done.

Just after praying that prayer in John 17, He said to disciples, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation” (Mt 26:41). Isn’t it interesting that the disciples slept and fell into temptation; Jesus prayed and He overcame temptation. He conquered sin and death. He purchased our salvation.

I wonder what difference it would make in our lives if we prayed instead of sleeping. Of course sleep is a good gift, too. There's a time to sleep, but there’s a time to wake up and pray.

8. Jesus prayed earnest, passionate prayers. I think sometimes our prayers put God to sleep, if that we're possible. He must be up there wondering do they really care whether I do what they're asking. Does this really matter to them? I think God could think that way about a lot of my prayers.

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence (Hebrews 5:7).

9. Even when He was abandoned by His God, and God refused to answer, He still prayed. We know that Psalm 22 is a Messianic psalm. It's words that Jesus prayed from the cross. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest” (vv. 1-2).

When Jesus became sin for us, God turned His back on Him. But Jesus kept praying. In the darkest and bleakest hour of His life, He demonstrated, through His prayers from the cross, faith that God was still there. Even when He couldn't feel or couldn't sense it.

Praise God. For those who are in Christ, God will never forsake and abandon us. But at times it feels as if He has. We cannot sense His presence, cannot see what He is doing. The question is, will we, like Jesus, keep on praying anyway?

10. Jesus is still praying. He continues praying for us today in heaven. He prayed throughout His earthly life. He prayed throughout His passion. He prayed on the cross. He's still praying! He hasn't stopped praying. “He always lives to make intercession for those who draw near to God” (Hebrew 7:25). Romans 8:34 tells us that He is “at the right hand of God, interceding for us.”

10 Things about the Prayer Life of Christ (Part 2)

4. Jesus always found time to pray. He was certainly busier than any of us could be, when you think about His to-do list being the whole plan of redemption that He had to accomplish in three years. But He never got so busy that He didn’t have time to pray. It was always a priority with Him.

The Lord Jesus really viewed prayer as His most important work. He would put down all His other demands to do that. Jesus always found time to pray. Who of us can compare our workload with His? Who among us deals with more distractions and interruptions than what He faced each day? His were life and death situations. Things like, "Come now! My daughter is dying." "It's too late; she died." It's really things pressing in on Him. Emergencies everywhere. But He found time to pray. If anyone could justify skipping or rushing through times of prayer, it would seem Jesus could have. But in the busiest, most pressured seasons of His life, He prayed more, not less.

We make busy schedules and pressing demands a reason for not praying; Jesus made it a reason for praying. Jesus always found time for prayer.

5. Jesus prayed for the things that He knew would please and honor His Father and advance God's Kingdom. He cared about that more than He cared about His own well-being. He was always submitting His will to the will of His Father. I love that passage in John 12:27 where Jesus says,

Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? "Father, save me from this hour"? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. [I came to die, that is why He sent me here. So what does He pray? Not Father save me from this hour. But instead He prays] Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven: "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again” (vv. 27-28).

In His case, glorifying the name of God meant enduring the cross. His own desires were always subjected and submitted to the things that would please and honor His Father.“Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, 'Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you'” (John 17:1). That was always the goal. Do whatever it takes to for You to be glorified.

6. Jesus believed God heard Him when He prayed. He prayed in confidence and faith that God would hear and would answer His prayers. At the tomb of Lazarus in John 11 it says, “Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, ‘Father, I know that you have heard me’” (vv. 41-42). Did you know that you can have that same confidence when you pray? You say, “I’m not Jesus!” Well, listen to this verse.

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him (1 John 5:14-15).

He believed that God heard Him when He prayed and that God would answer.

Do you believe that when you pray? I confess that sometimes when I pray, at a feeling level, I feel like nobody is listening. I can't see God. I can't sense Him at times. My prayer life is not one of these—when I read about some people that just felt the presence of God—that's not often true with me. When I pray, I need faith that what I cannot see and what I cannot sense is nonetheless true, and that God is there and that He is hearing, He is listening, and that He will answer.

10 Things about the Prayer Life of Christ (Part 1)

1. He prayed to His Father. His prayer life was based on a relationship with His Father. The fact that He prayed to His Father reveals the intimacy of His relationship with His Father. His prayers were not just grocery-listing God, as mine so often are—please do this, and please do that, and don’t forget this and I need this. His prayers were so much more than that. He was spending time with someone that He knew intimately, that He loved, and longed to spend time with.t occurs to me that Psalm 27:4, is something Jesus could have said:

One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.

Jesus had that longing to be with His father. So His prayers were birthed out of a relationship with His Father.

2. Prayed often. He prayed a lot. Not just a little, but a lot. Sometimes He got away from the crowd for the express purpose of praying; but other times, you find Him praying in the course of His daily activity and routine. As you read through the Gospels, you see that key moments of His life were marked by prayer: His baptism, the choosing the Twelve, the Mount of Transfiguration, the feeding of the 5000, the Garden of Gethsemane, on the cross, these are key moments that were marked by prayer. 

But He also prayed in the not-so-key-moments as a way of life. He prayed after full day of ministry, when he was tired. As a man He was at times weary as could be (John 4:6). He prayed before starting new day of ministry, with people pressing in on Him and things to do and places to go. He prayed as part of every day life. Every occasion was an occasion for prayer—for communication with His Father, keeping that line open. No event, no happening, no detail was too great or too small to be a matter of prayer. He lived praying and died praying. He prayed often. It was a way of life for Him.

3. He prayed alone, and He prayed in company with others.
In Luke 5:15 we see an instance where we're told Jesus prayed alone with His Father.

Now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray (vv. 15-16).

So at times He left the crowd—He left the press and the the responsibilities, deadlines, and demands. It was an intentional act on His part. He went to desolate places where He wouldn’t be interrupted or distracted, and He prayed. We also know there were moments when He went to those desolate places and He was trying to get alone and the crowds followed Him.

One thing I love about the Savior is He always had time for others, even when He was trying to be alone. I find myself sometimes when I have those desolate places that I want to study and seek the Lord, the crowd comes in and I can get irked about the very people the Lord has sent for me to serve. Those of you who have little children, you know hard it is to ever really get away from the crowd. Sometimes getting away to a desolate place doesn’t mean you send them to camp or you leave home for a week. Sometimes it means that in the midst of the crowd you find a quiet place in your heart.

Jesus knew how to do that also, to be serene in the midst of a crowd. He prayed when He was alone with His Father, but He also prayed in public settings. Luke 3 tells us that He prayed at His baptism. John 6 tells us that at the feeding of the 5000, He raised His eyes towards heaven and gave thanks—a very public setting. John 11, at the tomb of Lazarus, He prayed. So, he prayed in public settings.

Then, He prayed with His disciples. I have to believe that apart from the times He prayed alone with His Father, those times praying with His disciples must have been very special for Him and for them.

Luke 11 says, Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”

So Jesus was with His disciples. They were seeing Him pray. They were hearing Him pray. They were somehow around when He was praying, so they were motivated to say, “Lord, teach us to pray.”

And he said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come"” (vv. 1-2).

He took with him His disciples into the place of prayer. You see see this again on the Mount of Transfiguration in Luke 9, “He took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray” (v. 28). He took them with Him. He prayed with them.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, He was with His disciples. When He went to pray, He moved a stone's throw away, but the way He was praying was earnestly. I can't help but believe that the disciples knew what was going on. They could see Him, likely. They perhaps could hear Him as He was praying.