Sermons Archive



20 MARCH 1994

By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor


Matthew 20:18-19
John 12:16, 20-33

Being a Christian is a lot more that learning about Christianity and the life of Jesus Christ.

Being a Christian is living as God desires us to live and to emulate Jesus in everything we do.

Being a Christian is to glorify Jesus in everything we do; not just while we are in church, but during every moment of every day.

Being a Christian is being able to anticipate the results of our actions before we do them, and to make our decisions based upon whether they truly glorify the Lord.

In Matthew 20:18-19, Jesus looked ahead and anticipated the results of His going up to Jerusalem.

18 "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death,

19 and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up."

There are people in this world who deliberately distort God's intent and the teachings of the Bible for their own glorification and justification.

And these people try to intimidate, and in a way crucify the sensitive, loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God, for they see them as a threat to their hard of heart way of life.

We are not to be intimidated by such people, even though they represent the majority of Christians, just as Jesus was not intimidated by the hard of heart people when He was physically upon this earth.

We are to continue to work to free the earth from it's corruption, as the children of God we are called to be.

Our preparation verse for this morning, John 12:16, speaks of the way the disciples came to realize all the ways that the Bible speaks of Jesus and that, for our sake, He was to suffer at the hands of non-believers.

16. These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him.

Well, Jesus was glorified nearly 2,000 years ago.

And if we call ourselves Christians, then we are also His disciples; and we should realize who He is and what He has done for each and every one of us.

We should realize that, and live as Christians; for we have had nearly 2,000 years to get our act in order.

With this thought in mind, if we look down to verse 20, we'll see an interesting occurrence.

20. Now there were certain Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast;

21. these therefore came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."

22. Philip came and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip came, and they told Jesus.

23. And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

These were Greeks who believed in God, and obviously understood Jewish custom and Scripture, and practiced the Jewish faith.

They were not pagans.

Yet, unlike most of the Jewish people with whom they worshiped, they recognized Jesus as Messiah; thus they sought Him, and thus Jesus answered as He did.

Jesus came to save the Hebrew nation, and most of them rejected Him.

And now even the non-Jews were coming to Him.

Thus Jesus marks the occasion as an indication of the end of His earthly ministry, and the time of His return to heaven in a glorified form.

Then Jesus goes into a discourse about the true test of a believer (verse 24).

24. "Truly, Truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

Just as a grain of wheat remains a single grain of wheat until it is planted in the ground and grows into a wheat stock with many grains of wheat, and dies in the process, so must we die to ourselves, that the word of God might bear much fruit.

We must die to our pride, if we are to mature as a new person in Christ.

The disciples were dying to their pride and so were these Greeks; but the hierarchy of the temple and many others were living in their pride as Jews, the chosen people of God.

Yet, for the most part, they remained unfruitful, for they only wanted to remain as they were.

They didn't want what Jesus offered, for it disrupted the status-quo, and would make them like everyone else, or make everyone else equal to them.

They were prideful of their positions, and they liked their position in life and in the world.

Thus, Jesus goes on to say:

25. "He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal.

26. "If anyone serves Me, let Him follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant also be; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor Him.

I sincerely pray that this is the way we look at our own lives and our relationship with God.

For the temple leaders wanted their honor from the people; and as Jesus says, they are going to die in their pride.

That's a very sobering thought, especially when we realize it's also the same as talking about the pastors and church leaders of today who are prideful of their positions.

Think about how often I urge you to participate in prayer and other functions; and how I tease you, even about preaching on Sundays and teaching the Bible study sometimes.

I do this because I want you to realize you can do it, if you put your heart and soul into it, trusting in the Lord for His guidance.

And if you learn to do these little things, you can go on to do great things, and glorify the Lord through them.

We are all ministers of God, because we have been appointed to this position by the glorified Jesus, who is our Lord and Savior.

Then Jesus lets us see the conflict He has within Himself concerning His deity and fleshly existence, which is similar to our being in this world but not of it.

27. "Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour.

Can you feel the conflict of emotion within Jesus?

Is the purpose of our coming together this hour, to glorify the name of Jesus for what He has done and to strengthen ourselves from the conflicts we face every day in this world?

I pray so, for this is exactly why we should be here.

Jesus' body doesn't want to suffer the pain of His pending death, but His Soul and Spirit are here for us; and for this reason He came in the flesh.

Thus, He must look beyond the pain and suffering of this world to the glory to come.

And if we are Christians, we must learn to do the same.

Listen to what Jesus says next:

28. “Father, glorify Thy name.” There came therefore a voice out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”

God continues to glorify His name in all His believers who live the life of Christ.

The hour has come, this hour, to glorify Jesus; because nearly 2,000 years ago He entered glory for us, to free us from this world and to bring us there with Him, forever and ever.

But people don't always hear the right message; or perhaps our problem is that we really don't want to hear it, because of the pressures of this world.

29. The multitude therefore, who stood by and heard it, were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, "An angel has spoken to Him."

We all too often try to excuse away the word of God, which is spoken to us directly in a similar way; but listen to the answer that Jesus gives us:

30. Jesus answered and said, "This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes.

The word of God, our Bible, is meant for us today, not for someone else, or for another time. It is meant for us, personally, and for right now.

31. “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world shall be cast out.

The ruler of this world is Satan, and he has been cast out already in a spiritual sense; for the power of the Holy Spirit given to us is stronger than his power, and by that power, we can overcome the devil with all his tricks and lies.

32. "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."

33. But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die.

Jesus did suffer and die for us, but he also rose from the dead.

He was lifted up into heaven, also.

Our life is not to be centered upon and within this earth where all things die.

Our life is to be centered in heaven, where there is no longer any suffering or death.

We all too often forget this important fact, when we are faced with our everyday problems.

Listen, in part, to what Jesus prayed on behalf of His disciples then (John 17:12-19), and for us today – if we care to accept it:

12. "While I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

13. "But now I come to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy made full in themselves.

Did you hear the conditional aspect of what Jesus prayed for us? “…that they may have My joy made full in themselves.”

It's not that we will, but that we may.

It means that the joy is there for us to receive; but we must receive it, if we are going to have it.

14. "I have given them Thy word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Do you understand how Jesus equates all believers as being heavenly beings already, and that the separation from the world has already occurred?

Thus, we no longer have to be like the rest of the world who do not believe in the only begotten Son of the Father.

We have a different life and a different set of standards and values – or at least we should have.

When we hear this, we sometimes ask, "Then why doesn't God take us out of this world now?"

Jesus gives us this answer:

15. "I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.

16. "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

17. "Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth.

18. "As Thou didst send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.

19. "And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

And here is that conditional word "may," again.

God has left us here as His witnesses of Jesus, and of the way of heavenly life; but our sanctification only comes when we fulfill our ministry, which we would just naturally do, if we truly believe.

We fall short of the glory of God when we also believe in the ways of the world.

We rise above the ways of the world when we fully believe, just as Jesus rose into glory.

The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified in the hearts and acts of all believers, both now and forever.



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