Friday, September 28, 2007


John 12 When You Meet The Lord He’ll Turn Your World Upside Down

20 Now some Greeks were among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 So they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and requested of him, “Sir, we want to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 Jesus replied to them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 “ I assure you: Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop. 25 The one who loves his life will lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me. Where I am, there My servant also will be. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honour him. 27 “Now My soul is troubled. What should I say—Father, save Me from this hour? But that is why I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name!” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again!” 29 The crowd standing there heard it and said it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him!”
30 Jesus responded, “This voice came, not for Me, but for you. 31 Now is the judgment of this world. Now the ruler of this world will be cast out.
32 As for Me, if I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all [people]to Myself.” 33 He said this to signify what kind of death He was about to die. 34 Then the crowd replied to Him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah will remain forever. So how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 Jesus answered, “The light will be with you only a little longer. Walk while you have the light so that darkness doesn’t overtake you. The one who walks in darkness doesn’t know where he’s going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light so that you may become sons of light.” Jesus said this, then went away and hid from them.

The Anomalies Of God’s Purposes: Do You Want To See God Produce Life?
The principle of spiritual harvest and fruitfulness.
23 Jesus replied to them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 “ I assure you: Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop. 25 The one who loves his life will lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me. Where I am, there My servant also will be. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honour him.
The principle of harvesting is obvious. You take some seed, you sow it and 6 months or 9 months later you harvest much more than you sowed.
The early pioneers nearly starved to death over that principle.
They had brought with them gain from England with the intention of sowing it around Botany Bay, Kurnell. But the land was too salty and marshy an infertile. So they moved the settlement to Sydney, to sow around Sydney harbour. But again, what they sowed they found they barely reaped anything worthwhile. The Total landed: 1373 had brought with them 448 Barrels of Flour and 60 Bushels of Seed Wheat, some banana seed some rice some apples 20 Bushels of Seed Barley, some pears some strawberries some lemon and orange seeds and some coffee seeds. Can you see the problem with the stuff they were trying to grow?
Livestock? 18 Turkeys 29 Geese 35 Ducks 122 Fowls 87 Chickens Kittens Puppies 4 Mares 2 Stallions 4 Cows 1 Bull 1 Bull Calf 44 Sheep 19 Goats 32 Hogs 5 Rabbits
It doesn’t go along way between 1400 people.
In just a few months, the food the First Fleet had brought with it had run out or was rotten. The convicts were almost starving and many people died.
While they were searching for suitable fertile land, they nearly starved to death eating the reserves of grain, grain that was meant to be sown for a harvest. Another 2 ships Suppy and Sirius had to be sent to Norfolk island to get more grain to sow, and the Sirius sank there. Food got scarcer, and no telephones or email, they didn’t know whether the Supply had made it or not. So they ate more grain. Finally a settlement at the Hawkesbury did ok. The Indian corn looked remarkably well; it was now ripening, and the Hawkesbury settlers supposed that they should have between thirty and forty thousand bushels of that grain raised among themselves.
There is anomaly here. TO eat flour they had to throw away their grain, instead of milling it to form wheat, and bury the grain in the ground. And when they did they would have more than ample to eat.
Similarly very little of the livestock, that was brought out got to breed. Most of it got to be eaten. It’s the anomaly, if you want to eat, don’t eat it! Here are three anomalies. If you want to live, die! If you want to find life, lose it. If you want honour and favour, don’t exalt yourself to get it, serve.
Most committees merit the well-known definition: A group of the uncommitted, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary.
The coming of the Greeks to Jesus symbolized the coming of the world to seek him. So he knew it was time now that he should face the cross and the time of his crucifixion was near at hand. He explained his crucifixion. It was not the death of a martyr, and it was not the slaying of a thief. Rather, it was a grain of wheat sown into the ground so that it must bear much fruit. Jesus enunciates this principle of spiritual harvest and fruitfulness.
1. Dying To Give Life
Choose Death
Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone;but if it dies, it bears much fruit." {John 12:24 RSV}
Whenever Jesus says, "Truly, truly, I say to you," it is a red light shining which says, "Pay attention. What I am about to say is of supreme importance. Don't miss this!" It is his invariable formula for indicating an important saying. The important statement follows, "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." What does he mean? This is the central parable of this study.
It is clear that he is speaking of himself. He is the grain of wheat. Here he is among men, unique, different. He is the Son of God, compelling, compassionate, living the life of God in the midst of men, and yet wholly as a man.
And yet, all that He is, until He dies, He is alone. Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone." For the rest of eternity, though he would have been thronged with angels and all the other created beings of God's universe, he would have been alone. By His death He brings many sons to glory. He could have remained what he was. He did not need to die. He was no martyr to a failing cause. He himself said that he did not need to die. "No man takes my life from me," he said, "I lay it down of myself, and I take it up again of myself," {cf, John 10:18}. He was not forced to the cross.
The first thing is this: if I hate my life in this world and I am willing to die and fall in the ground and be covered up, then I will bring forth much fruit. Jesus says, the consequences first of all will be fruitfulness in the life of the believer. Fruitfulness in the life of Jesus was the reason he was dying. He was born to die. What if he had not died. He would be in heaven, but he would be alone. None of us would ever be there with him. Neither would Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, nor any of the Old Testament saints be there. He would be alone.
And for Jesus to have a gathering of fruitfulness into his life--if his life is to mean anything, he cannot preserve it. He must be willing to die. There is nothing in the Scriptures that tells us so much about how out of step with the world we are because the last thing the world wants to do is to die--die to itself.
Nobody wants to die to themselves. We have the idea that we must live and realize ourselves and come to the consciousness of all that we are within ourselves. Yet, the Lord comes along with direct contrary advice. He says, no, the life is not to be saved; the life is to die so that it can bring forth much fruit. If we are not being fruitful as we ought to be, it is simply because we have not yet learned how to die to ourselves.
You see, the secret of fruitfulness is that life comes out of death. Paul echoed this in 2 Corinthians 4 when he talks about his ministry. He says, we are always carrying in our body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. (Watch it in verse 12.) So death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
And I want to say to you that anytime life is working in somebody, it is only because death is working in somebody else. For anybody to live, to be born again, to be saved, it requires somebody to die. It required Jesus to die. Now for you and me to bear fruit and to win those who are lost, it requires the same thing of us—that we must die, die to ourselves, die to our own plans, wishes, and will, and to be covered up out of sight so that they no longer see me.
That’s the way it is, folks. Life comes out of death. Every time somebody is saved in your church, it is because somebody has died. They have died to convenience in order to pray. They have died to their time in order to visit. They’ve died to their embarrassment in order to share the gospel. Somebody has died. Until people are willing to die, there will be no fruitfulness. We can have all the conferences and conventions we want on why we are so barren, but the main reason we are so barren is because we are so alive to ourselves.
Can you imagine an army where every one sits around and says, “hey I’m not going up to the front, people die there!”
What makes a person go to the front well knowing he could die.
Do you remember the final scene from ANZACS where the young runner Mel Gibson and his mate, well knowing that the charge across the no man’s land in a bayonate charge against the Turkish forces will end in annihilation , runs with his men seeing how far they can get before they are cut down by the enemies bullets? Why do men do this?
Its because they know that in the end, whatever the cost may be, the love of their family and their country is worth more than their own lives.
Bobby was like hat, as a Special Forces Captain.
I have friends who were Army paratroopers, who wanted to get into the SAS “and parachute out of a plane at 40,000 feet and open their parachute at 200 feet” It takes a special kind of madness to want to do that! Too much adrenalin maybe! I think we ssaw some of that adrenalin last Sunday. Praise God for it! Occasionally!
32 As for Me, if I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all [people]to Myself.”
What does it mean to die to yourself? It means two things: First, it means a once-for-all decision; and secondly, a continuing series of choices. First, it is a surrender of the rule of your life to Jesus. It is a recognition that your life is not your own. The key words of the Christian faith are, "You are not your own, you are bought with a price," {1 Cor. 19b-20a}. Actually, you never were your own. That is an illusion perpetuated on us by our society. We are told that we belong to ourselves, that we have a right to ourselves. That is a lie. It's not true. It never was. "You are not your own; you are bought with a price."
This is the beginning of true life: To surrender your claim to yourself, to give up your right to run your own affairs, and to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus. There's no way around it. That hurts. It cancels out your own plans. It confounds your ambitions at times. It sometimes feels like death. It is death--the death of the autonomous self.
It also means that we follow up on that commitment to Christ every day. If you belong to Jesus, every day will have its cross. What that means is that every day will have something love calls you to do but you don't feel like doing. That is your cross. That is the moment in which the self must die. Every day has its moments of death in order that it might bring forth life. Every day we make decisions about whether we are going to live for ourselves, or give our lives away for others. It happens between husbands and wives, parents and children, at school, at work. It's the decision that confronts us every time we take out our credit card. It's the call that beckons every time we see someone who is hungry, or troubled, or lost.

2. Hating Life to Gain It
25 The one who loves his life will lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
In verse 25, he says, those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. He is talking about fullness of life. We already have eternal life. John speaks of eternal life on two planes. For instance, in John 10, Jesus said he came that he might bring life and life more abundant. There is life, and then there is life more abundant. And he says, there will be fullness of life, life abundant. But it is only for those who hate their life in this world; then they will keep it for eternal life. Those who love their life lose it. It is interesting that two different Greek words are used here to translate the word life. The first two words translated life is our word psyche. The last word in eternal life is zoa ?? (like zoology), the quality of life in general. But when he uses the verb psyche, he is talking about the ego. He is talking about the inner person. He is talking about the mind that makes decisions, makes plans, that charts its own course. He is talking about the inner will. He says, unless a person hates that inner will, he cannot enjoy the abundance of life that is in Jesus Christ. That is what dying is—taking your independent self, your wanting to do it your way, your plans, your vision, your ego and burying it in the ground and hating it. Here again, we are in such conflict with the philosophy of the world.
It is also interesting in this passage that he says, those who love their life lose it. It is really the present tense, those who love their life are already losing it. Phillips translates it destroys. Now, think about this for a minute. This is so paradoxical to man’s way of thinking. If you love your life, you are going to retain and guard your ego at any cost. You are actually, even right now, in the process of losing it, of destroying it.
Today, I invite you to do the most unreasonable thing imaginable: to give yourself away, to follow the way of Jesus, the way of the cross. Only then do we really find our lives.
St. Francis of Assisi’s prayer:
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand; to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
Frank Laubach, the great missionary and father of the literacy movement, used to begin each day by praying these words: "God, what are you doing in the world today that I can help you with?" Laubach's prayer rooted his life in the soil of surrender. Every morning he inquired how he could honour God by living for more than just his own interests.
E. Stanley Jones wrote and spoke about victory through surrender. The victory is precisely in the venturing forth-the offering of our single life to God as a means of grace.
Take my life and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee; Take my moments and my days- Let them flow in ceaseless praise, Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

3. Serving to be Honoured
26 If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me. Where I am, there My servant also will be. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.
Choose Serving
Shan Hackett was born in Perth in WA in 1910. His aprents were reasonably welathy and sent homt to london to univserity. Not a great student he joined the army and barely survived Operation market garden in the Battle of Arnhem during WW2. Hackett was severely wounded in the stomach, was captured and taken to the St. Elizabeth Hospital in Arnhem. A German doctor at the Hospital wanted to administer a lethal injection to Hackett, because he thought that the case was hopeless. However he was operated on and with the help of the Dutch resistance escaped.
General Sir John Winthrop Hackett after WW2 became Commandant, Royal Military College of Science where he wrote The Profession Of Arms. He was acknowledged as the cleverest soldier of his generation. In 1982 The Third World War: the untold story proved an interesting update predicting the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the strategic importance of oil in the Middle East.
He understood leadership as servanthood. He said that a commander who genuinely cared for his troops and sought their welfare above his own, would have men that would follow him willingly even if it meant the final sacrifice of their lives.
To Save A Life, 1995 Service before Self
Are you available To serve Christ? Milton Cummingham, a missionary, shares a time when he was convicted of his own failure to share the Good News. He had just settled in for his air flight from Atlanta to Dallas. Next to him was a young girl with Down's Syndrome. She turned to Milton and, in all innocence, asked, "Mister, did you brush your teeth this morning?" A little awkwardly, Milton answered, 'Well, yes., I brushed my teeth this morning."
"Good," the girl responded, "'cause that's what you're supposed to do."
Her next question was, "Mister, do you smoke?"
This one was a little easier on Milton. When he said no, the little girl answered with approval, "Good, 'cause smoking will make you die."
The third question was even easier to answer. The young girl asked, "Mister, do you love Jesus?"
Milton answered with confidence, "Well, yes, I do love Jesus."
"Good, 'cause we're all supposed to love Jesus," she replied.
Just then, another man settled into the seat beside Milton. He was intent on reading a magazine. Immediately, the girl urged Milton to ask the new fellow if he had brushed his teeth that morning. Milton wasn't about to disturb the stranger, but the girl wouldn't leave him alone. Finally, he gave in. He said, "Mister, I don't mean to bother you, but my friend here wants me to ask you if you brushed your teeth this morning." When the man noticed the girl, he realized that her question was innocent enough, and he answered that yes, he had brushed his teeth that morning.
With a sinking feeling, Milton realized where this was going. Next, the girl urged him to ask the stranger if he smoked. Milton and the man went through the second question. And sure enough, the girl wanted Milton to ask the third question: did this man love Jesus?
Milton protested that the question was too personal, that he just wouldn't be comfortable asking it. Remember, Milton Cunningham is a missionary. But something in him made him uncomfortable about sharing the Good News with his fellow passenger. But the young girl persisted, and so Milton said, "Now she wants to know if you love Jesus."
At this, the man's face darkened. He began to talk about his desire to know God. He was at a point in his life when he was searching for God, for meaning, for purpose in life. But he didn't know where to turn. So Milton Cunningham explained to the man how to have a relationship with God, and how to find salvation through Jesus. He was able to witness to a person in deep need, a person who was in need of God. And it all started with a simple question, asked by a child with simple, but sincere motives.
Choose Following
To be with Him! Eternally! In heaven!
Choosing Honour
There is something more “Well done thou good and faithful servant!” Now there is the meaning of life!
I love that song Ray Boltz sings entitled "Thank You." Are you familiar with it? The lyrics go like this.
I dreamed I went to heaven And you were there with me. We walked upon the streets of gold Beside the crystal sea We heard the angels singing Then someone called your name
You turned and saw this young man And he was smiling as he came
And he said friend you may not know me now And then he said but wait
You used to teach my Sunday School When I was only eight
And every week you would say a prayer Before the class would start
And one day when you said that prayer I asked Jesus in my heart
Thank you for giving to the Lord I had a life that was changed
Thank you for giving to the Lord I had a life that was changed
Thank you for giving to the Lord I am so glad you gave
Then another man stood before you And said remember the time
A missionary came to your church And his pictures made you cry
You didn't have much money But you gave it anyway
Jesus took the gift you gave And that's why I'm here today
One by one they came Far as the eyes could see
Each life somehow touched By your generosity
Little things that you had done Sacrifices made Unnoticed on the earth
In heaven now proclaimed
And I know that up in heaven You're not supposed to cry
But I am almost sure There were tears in your eyes
As Jesus took your hand And you stood before the Lord
He said, my child look around you For great is your reward I am so glad you gave
We have no idea of just how many lives we impact and influence along the way. One single seed "bears much fruit."
Here is how someone has put it. "I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do."

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