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Sermon intro 7/5/2015
Jesus' Farewell Discourse (John 13-17) spans just a few hours in the life of our Savior. In these chapters John gives the fullest and clearest presentation of those last hours of Christ with the disciples. This gives us a wonderful treasure that helps us to know how to live in difficult times, as He is preparing the disciples for the storm that is about to come upon them (the cross). But He also prepares them for their lives lived on the other side of Calvary, on the other side of the empty tomb and the coming of the Holy Spirit, when they will be separated from Him physically. They're not going to have His daily physical presence as they had for three and a half years. In the last five verses of Chapter 16, we see the same subject that's been dominating His heart, as He looks at His disciples. He is wrestling with the cross Himself – all the spiritual agony that lays ahead of Him as He will bear our sins and be separated from the Father to carry our sins away and give us the bliss of the glorious thought that our sins have been nailed to the cross. And yet, even in that moment, He is concerned about the Eleven (Judas has left and is betraying Him); His heart is heavy for them and He wants to help them face the circumstances that are before them.
The message today is titled “Facing An Uncertain Future.” The disciples’ future was very uncertain, as they had no idea of what lay in ahead of them. So He’s giving them great encouragement as to how they can stand up against the uncertain days that lie ahead.
In our nation’s own history, we see the Revolution as a time of great difficulty and personal sacrifice for many. It was a series of disappointments that they had to keep fighting through. After a series of defeats and retreats, Thomas Payne wrote a pamphlet called “The American Crisis.” Payne wrote these words: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will shrink from the service of their country. But he that stands by it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered.”
These words can aptly describe our calling as Christians now. The Kingdom of God requires sacrifice and commitment. How do we face the uncertain future?