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When Life Shakes You Up

Pastor Gary Buchman
Emmitsburg Community Bible Church

(4/24) A Mother and Her Son

A Mother had watched her son, through the week, begin to drain in energy. By the end of the week, he had simply lost his desire to get up and get with the day. She heard the alarm go off through the door. She listened as nine minutes passed and the alarm went off again. Apparently, he just kept punching the snooze button on top of the alarm. Finally, after 3 or 4 extra rings, she decided to take charge so she walked in and said, "Son, itís time to get up, youíve got to get up!" He peaked out from under the covers and said, "Can you give me 3 good reasons why I have to get up?" She said, "Well, yes I can. First, itís Sunday, and you need to get dressed for church. Second you are 43 years old and you know better than just to just lie there. Third, you are the pastor and they expect you to be there."

Life is Tough. How is that for an opening statement? Chances are good that for many if not most all of you, the life that is, is not the life that you thought would be. Years ago, I heard about this thing called a Mid-Life crisis. Itís kind of a male version of menopause, itís supposed to happen with guys in their 40ís and 50ís. I must be going to live a long time because I am just having mine. But, I think I deserve it. A lot of guys go through it because the life that is, is not the life they thought would be. They thought They would have a higher position in the company, have more money, better health, better love life, more time off, ready to retire, etc. But, their hair is going, or gone, their hearing is shot, they have that furniture disease; that is, their chests have dropped down into their drawers. They have baldness, bifocals, bulges, bunions, bad knees, and more. Their nests are emptying but their kids have struggled with self-esteem, drugs, sex, and have not pursued a law or medical degree, or marriage. Many have discovered that the ladder they thought they climbing to success was really leaning on the wrong wall.

Some guys do dumb stuff like, trying to look like they were 20 again, going on spending sprees, having affairs, buying sports cars, and more, because the life that is, is not the life they thought would be.

You may have your story, it doesnít have to be a Mid-Life Crisis nor Menopause, but the things that are, are not what you dreamed or hoped that the things would be. Your marriage, your children, your job, your health, your parents, your retirement, your home, your car, your finances, are not what you were hoping for. Or, a major event has occurred that is a life- game changer. Fire, theft, flood, accident, cancer, death, or divorce has left you breathless. Or, the boredom of sameness, has you depressed or discouraged. You wash the same clothes, prepare the same meals, clean the same house, mow the same lawn, watch the same TV shows, do the same job, day after day after day.

So, what do you do? Do you quit? Do you run away? Do you drop out and turn on to drugs, alcohol, or look for another partner? Or maybe end it all? Quaint and Cute sayings arenít cutting it anymore, not even Bible verses. I have a friend that lost two wives, both to cancer. He said, "If I hear Romans 8:28 again, I am going to scream."

How about, "Into every life a little rain must fall," or, "Behind every cloud is a silver lining." People will tell me, that their favorite verses are in Jeremiah 29:11-13, listen, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." But the context of that is, to hang in there, your country is going to get whopped, and you are going to be taken as captives to Babylon, a foreign city, for 70 years. Jerusalem, and the temple are going to be destroyed. But trust me, I have a good plan for you and your country. And He did, for the nation, as a whole. But they would be displaced for 70 or more years in a foreign country.

Well, that is the point of the first half of John 14. Letís take a close look. This is one of the most requested passages along with the 23rd Psalm to be read or used at a funeral, because, well, funerals, are game changers. "Let not your heart be troubled." For the next few months we are going to look at the most personal teachings that our Lord Jesus gave to the 11 of the 12 original Apostles. It is called the Upper Room Discourse and is found in John 12-17.

Remember that Johnís gospel is 75 % different from the other 3 and written 50 years, give or take, after the other 3. The first 13 chapters are like photographs with captions explaining the pictures and all have the overriding purpose of trying to convince the readers or hearers that Jesus is God in the flesh and if they would just believe in Him they could have eternal life (John 20:31)

Letís dig in. The word Troubled, means agitated, or shook up, (I know, I can hear Elvis in there- "Iím all shook up.") The implied emotion is, What am I going to do? I didnít see this coming? This isnít what I thought was going to happen. I am pacing the floor, smoking cigarettes, wondering where do we go from here.

So, what happened in John 12-14 that would get these 11 disciples all shook up?

They were thinking King, and Kingdom, Throne and Thrones, Romans gone and Jews in, Hypocritical religion gone and real Spirt and Truth worship in, Sin and injustice gone, and Peace and Righteousness on earth in. Jesus and us forever.

But Luke tells us that Jesus bawled over Jerusalem, knowing what the city would face, soon from Rome, because they rejected Him. From John 12:7 on, He spoke of His own Funeral. From 12:23 on, He has spoken of the Glory, and the horror He was about to face. After dinner, which He said would be His last with them until the Kingdom came, He washed their feet as an example of servant leadership. Then, He started giving them life lessons about their future, while He told them that He would be betrayed and Peter would deny Him, and all desert Him. And, He was going to leave them and go away for a while, and they could not come with Him at this time.

Though he had hinted at all of this over the last 3 years, this news rocked their world. This is not what they had dreamed would happen. This is not what they had hoped for. This was a game changer. They went everywhere together. If not all of them, at the very least Peter, James, and John were always with Him, So, letís listen in on His instructions to them as they were getting all shook up.

1. Stop Being Agitated (v.1). I know that itís easier said than done, but when the life you thought would be isnít the life that is, your focus must shift from your circumstances to the one who has a plan for your circumstances. So, if you are pacing the floor wondering, "What am I going to do, what am I going to do," Stop it! Get a grip! Okay, but how, how do I get a grip

2. You Believe in God (v.1b). Focus on reality. This isnít a question or a command. This is a statement of fact. You believe in God. God is not a possible theory of explanation for the worldís being. For you itís not God or gas, God is your reality. He is the reason you exist. You already believe His Word is true, and that He will keep His promises. You know that God has a good plan even when you donít understand. These are givens that Jesus is reminding them of. Letís pause.

What do you believe about God?

ē Do you believe the Apostles Creed?

ē That nothing is ever impossible with God?

ē That God has a good plan even if I donít understand?

ē That He loves me with an everlasting love?

ē That He is Holy, Righteous, Just, Good, Gracious, Merciful, Forgiving?

ē That He is Jealous for you?

ē That He will never leave you?

ē That He will never not keep His word to you?

ē That He will enable you to face your temptations and fears with His power and Presence?

You Believe in God. When you are feeling, all shook up, agitated, anxious, worried, stressed, stop and remind yourself that you are a child of this God. This is on Him, and it did not take Him by surprise. It took you by surprise, but not Him.

3. Trust in Jesus (v.1c). "Believe also in me." Jesus is telling these guys to apply the same faith, the same facts that they believe about the Father, to Him. Why?

a. Because He and the Father are one. He said that in Chapter 10:30. The Jews wanted to kill Him, then and there, for saying that. Look at verses 7-11. He is the manifestation of God. He houses the glory of God (1:14-18).

(This could be the whole lesson or series of lessons). Think of what He has claimed to be and then proved it.

ē I Am the Bread of Life Ė He fed the 5000 (ch. 6)

ē I Am the Light of the World - He opened the eyes of the blind (ch.8-9)

ē I Am before Abraham Ė the Eternal One (ch. 8)

ē I Am the Door of the Sheep (ch.10)

ē I Am the Good Shepherd (ch. 10) Ezekiel spoke of Him

ē I Am the Resurrection and the Life Ė He raised Lazarus (ch. 11)

ē I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life Ė (here in 14), In a moment He will also say:

ē I Am the Vine (ch. 15) the source of your ability. He is the burning bush that spoke to Moses. His name is I AM. Yahweh, Jesus is saying thatís me, I AM who I AM.

b. His words are Godís words (10). Read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and see the words in red. Those are Godís words. Given through Jesus. No one ever spoke with such authority as this man. So, when He asks you to wash feet, seek His kingdom first, love your enemy, love others like He loves you, go share the gospel, and trust Him when you are agitated, it means, Trust Him, because you can, because He is God and knows what is best.

c. His works are Godís works (10b-12) Who could raise the dead, give sight to the blind, heal lepers, forgive sins? God in Christ.

d. He possesses the power of God to answer prayer (12-13) when your prayers are His prayers and the results reveal and honor God.

e. He possesses the authority of the Father (sending the Holy Spirit, v16ff). So, you are never, ever, nor ever shall be alone. When you re-adjust your focus from yourself to Him, the Holy Spirit will show you Godís word.

f. He has a plan even if you donít understand. When life takes a turn and its seems like the worst, trust Jesus. Thatís what believing in Him means. Trust Him with your life. You are in good hands (10:28-29).

Here His good plan was to give His life as your surrogate, so you could have His life, and His forgiveness, and grace; so, you could be born again, adopted into His family, and glorify God. They did not see that at that moment. They needed to trust Him. He knew what needed to be done. Has anyone ever said to you, "You donít understand this now, but trust me, I know what I am doing?í Maybe you have said that. Thatís what Jesus is saying here. "You donít understand this now, but trust me."

g. His Going has a purpose. He is preparing a place for you (v.2). Here is lifeís bottom line. Ultimate reality is death. Jesusí life and going away is so you will not have to worry about death. His death, His going back to the Father is so you will have a place in the Fatherís house. You can deal with the reality of your death now and never have to worry about it from now on. You will be free to live life abundantly. Someone once said, that no one is really prepared to live until He is prepared to die. The sting of death, the fear of death is forever removed for those who trust their lives to Jesus. His going away was so they could be assured of a place in the Fatherís house. Peter would repeat this years later like this: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you," (1 Peter 1:3-4).

h. He has a promise for you (v. 3a)

11.) He will come again. Stop! He is coming back. Now this may have meant after His resurrection, which He did, but more likely, this is for all of us. He is coming back. When He does He will reign as King of Kings and do all the things it was written for Messiah to do. He will put an end to sin, Restore Peace on earth, Rule the world in Righteousness. Remember the angelsí words in Acts. 1:11, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven." The world so needs Him to come back. But

22.) He will personally receive us to Himself and take us to the Fatherís house so we can be with Him forever (v.3b). And may I say, many of us are not anxious for that day. "I know my home is heaven but I am not homesick yet," they say. But Jesus will say in John 17:24, that He is anxious for that day when we will behold and share His glory.

The purpose for all of this is for you to re-adjust your focus so you wonít be agitated or shook up, when life takes a turn or doesnít end up like you thought. This life is temporary and constantly changing. Focus on what you believe about God and the Manifestation of God in Christ. And then trust totally in Him. Now that is going to mean taking the time to read His promises and to understand what He wants you to do, and then trusting Him by obeying or resting in what He says.

This life is just a vapor and is all about getting us ready for the real life that is ahead when Jesus comes to take us home. Our problem is, that we see this life as the main event, and not as a means of preparing us for home.

Life is constantly changing, the life that is, probably is not the life you hoped it would be, so stop looking back and grieving what you missed, focus on who God is, and then place your trust entirely in the Person, performance, power, plan, and promises of Jesus Christ

For those who read, or hear this, and think I can handle my life without Jesus, you need to read the bold print, not the fine print. Look at v.6.

ē Jesus is the only way to God the Father, His house, heaven! There is no other way. No other name, No other faith. Being good is not good enough.

ē Jesus is the only absolute truth, not Darwin, Not Muhammed, Not Buddha, Not Krishna, Not any other faith or philosophy. The law of non-contradiction says, two or more things claiming to be true, but are contradictory to each other, cannot both or all be true. Either all or wrong, or one is right and the others are wrong. Here you must choose, Jesus is either absolute truth or He is a liar. If He is truth, then the others are liars, or at the least, miss-led, and even if they are sincere, they are sincerely wrong.

ē Jesus only is Life, and the only giver of Life, the only source of all Life, as John proclaims in Chapter 1 and throughout this Gospel. He is the resurrection and life. You must trust Jesus if you wish to have life (3:16); if you have any hope of being with the Father in Heaven forever. Turn over to or listen to John in 1 John 5:11-13, "If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. 10 He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. 11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

Jesus can give you peace regardless of the changes in your life, or the destruction of your dreams, if you will trust Him. Look down at verses 27-29, Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 28 You have heard Me say to you, ĎI am going away and coming back to you.í If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ĎI am going to the Father,í for My Father is greater than I. 29 "And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe. How do you get that peace, believe in Jesus, then cast all your care on Him, (Matt. 6:33, Phil. 4:6-10, 1 Peter 5:6)

Letís pray about it.

If this article has spoken to your heart, would you write to me at pastorgarybuchman@gmail.com and let me know or if you have any questions about following Jesus, I would be glad to try to answer them for you. May God bless you as you seek to do His will.

Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman