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Complete Joy

John 16:16 - 33
Feb 7 1999

What would you tell others if you were departing and had a few last moments with your loved ones? It would be interesting to hear what you would say. I would encourage each of you to consider the kind of challenge you would leave behind. You may want to take some time and think about what you would say and write it out. Many people leave a message behind in their will. I’m sure Jesus gave serious consideration to what he would tell His disciples that last evening together.

I have been challenged and blessed as we have examined Jesus’ last instructions to His disciples. In our last study in John 17 we will get a picture of Jesus’ concerns as he intercede for His disciples. Today we will look at Jesus’ last instruction to the disciples. Jesus clears up some of the confusion which the disciples have and fills their hearts with new hope.

The disciples still do not seem to understand what Jesus meant by the phrase “in a little while”. They do not know that Judas wanted to betray Jesus and that the Jews were about to kill Jesus as the one who bears the sin of the world.

The disciples were trying to cope with the delay of seeing the kingdom of God coming to earth. They were uncertain how soon Jesus was going and how long he would be gone. As with many prophetic statements there is a possibility that they will be fulfilled more than once.

One fulfillment of this occurred when Jesus was killed and rose again. The Jewish leaders rejoiced when Jesus died but they will one day stand before the judge of this world and that rejoicing will be turned to sorrow and fear.

On the other hand the disciples grieved the loss of their Master but their grief was turned to joy by the resurrection and the understanding of what Jesus’ death accomplished. Do you really understand what happened by Jesus’ death? Instead of carrying the guilt and burden for sin, Jesus will take away our sin and cleanse us. Have you ever asked Jesus to come into your life to forgive you? Why not deepen your relationship to Jesus this morning.

Many people believe that Jesus’ statement in verse 20, 21 refer to his second coming as well. It would be only a little while until He reutrned to take Christinas to be with Him and reign with Him during the Millenium.

Would you be ready to meet Jesus if He came today? Jesus said he was coming at an hour when you least expect it. Will He come when we are disobedient and get caught in our sinful ways? It is best to be obedient and then we do not need to fear. We are exhorted in the scriptures to watch and pray so we will be ready when the bridegroom comes to take away His bride, the faithful church.

The time is coming when we will not need to ask questions of Jesus. A child goes through a stage when everything is questioned. Parents are sometimes exasperated but the time comes when the child is able to figure things out for himself. I Corinthians 13:9-11 talks about the time when we will see things clearly and understand everything.

When we understand God’s will for us we will begin asking God for opportunities and the means to fulfill those opportunities. God promises that he will open the doors of heaven so that there is not enough room to receive all the blessings which he would like to pour out upon his children.

Jeremiah 33:3 “ Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things which you do not know.

II Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

God opens the doors of heaven because Christ is pleading on behalf of the believers for those things which please Him. The main reason God answers our prayers is because He loves us and wants us to experience a joyful and abundant life.

The time is coming when we will be able to understand all of God’s thoughts and ways. Most people today are not willing to grapple with scripture. They want something entertaining and simple to understand so that they do not have to think or study. If you begin to speak of deeper truths like sanctification, imputed righteousness, election, escatology people are easily lost and confused. Believers need to move from eating baby-food to searching the scriptures diligently to understand the mind of God. We will only grow spiritually as we wrestle seriously with scripture. We will only grow as we put aside worldly things and get serious about following Christ.

We not that after spending 3 years with Jesus there were many things which the disciples still could not understand. After 30 years of being a Christian I must confess that for me there are still many mysteries in the scripture. I want to learn more and I know that many of you do too. That should be one reason why we come to church and go to bible studies. We need to spend time studying the bible every day so that we will grow day by day.

Even though the disciples had been with Jesus and had begun to understand what Jesus was teaching them they failed to stand by Him when he was arrested. How hard is it to stand for the truth at school or at work? Do people know that we are Christians and do you stick up for Him when others attack Christianity? No matter what our situation, how lonely, desperate, sad or difficult - remember that God, the Father stands by us. We are never alone when we walk with God. We may forsake him as the disciples did when they scattered when Jesus was taken captive but He has promised to Never leave us nor forsake us.

Knowing this, we can have peace, the shaloam of God. The peace we have comes from being in Christ. We also have peace because WE KNOW that we are victorious because Christ has already conquered the world.

Jesus emerged victorious in His battle against the sin of the world. You too can be victorious in your battles against sin and the world that tries to squeeze you into a mold of conformity. Give yourself totally to Christ and He will be will you and help you understand everything.

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