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Introducing Jesus: Week 31

Mosaic Boston

Religion & Spirituality

Audio Transcript: We're back. Hallelujah. Praise you Jesus. I've gotten a lot more charismatic over the past six months. Praising God. Hallelujah. Praise you Jesus. I'm so glad we're back. Welcome if you're new to Mosaic, we'd love to connect with you. We do that through a digital card and either on the website or in the app. We are still in our sermon series in the book of Luke transitioning soon. With that said, would you please pray with me over the preaching of God's holy word. Heavenly father what a good father you are, you're a father to us corporately and you're a father to us individually. And we thank you for adopting us into your family because of the work of your son, Jesus Christ. Jesus you are our older brother. You are our Lord and savior. You paved the path for us. You made the way for us to follow you and follow you into the presence of God the father by the power of the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit we pray today, we ask for more of you. Jesus, you promised that when we ask more of the Holy Spirit from the father that you love to give good gifts to your children. The greatest gift you can give us is the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit fill us now. Holy Spirit, I pray that you convict us of sin, whatever sin that has beguiled us. Whatever sin that is controlling us. I pray today remove it. Give us a glimpse of the holiness of God. Show us God how immense your holiness is. How much higher you are than us. I pray today that you deepen our reverence for you, a fear of you, a good healthy fear that keeps us from sin, keeps us from doing anything that would hurt our relationship with you. I pray, Lord, bless our time the Holly Spirit and the holy scriptures by the spirit and Holy Spirit continue to protect us from the evil one, from the demonic we live in a true spiritual war. And I pray remind us of that. Remind us that prayer is actually the way that we fight. Sometimes we think that prayer is a waste of time, that prayer doesn't accomplish anything. It accomplishes everything. So we appeal to you Holy Spirits today come and today remind us that there's nothing more important than sitting at the feet of Jesus, taking your word in, being transformed by your word, and then going out and living in a manner worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ and continuing to preach the gospel. Share the good news with those who are still captive. And I pray release many in this next season and we pray all this in Christ holy name, amen. The title of the sermon today is rest at his feet. We'll be looking at the story of Martha and Mary. And usually the story is presented in such way that Mary is sat at the feet of Jesus. Martha was too busy. Don't be like Martha, be more like Mary. And I think it's a little deeper than that. There's more layers than that. I share the story about my dad often. I'll share a story by my mom. My mom... So I come from Slavic family, in Slavic families hospitality is all important. And if you have guests over, you have to present all of your food, not just a little food, all the food you have. The store, the table has to be and the rest of the phrase is, it has to be breaking. It has to be almost collapsing under the weight. And my mom is tremendous at this. She's so good at this. She's not good at just creating the food and making the dishes and a lot of salads, a lot of meat, a lot of potatoes, but she's also really good at presenting it beautifully. So with the salads, like she'll cut up the cucumber or the radish or something and she'll make a flower out of it. Just sprinkled parsley, just perfectly. It's always incredible. And one of the things that I noticed even growing up it's you'd would never sit down with us. She would cook and she's running around just to make sure that everyone has enough and they've had seconds and thirds and fourths, and she would never sit down. And then when the guests would leave, she would just crash and then get mad at us. What do we do? She's like, "Oh, you should've helped." I'm like, "We are..." And I didn't really understand that frustration until we had kids. And now we have a family of six. We have four kids, my wife and I. I know what it takes to just feed my kids to the magical restaurant table for six, please. I know how hard that is. And then you got more people. And that's kind of what's going on with Martha. She wants to serve Jesus. She wants to please Jesus. She wants to show Jesus how much he loves her. And food is her love language. Hospitality is the way that she thinks and Jesus stomach's is the way to get his heart. And she kind of misses the point where Jesus is at the end of his life. And he knows that his time on earth is limited and he just wants to spend time with her. He just wants to sit there. So that's what the text is. It shows us, reminds us what's most important. It reprioritizes things in our life. So today we are in Luke 10:38 through Luke 11:13. Would you look at the text with me. Luke 10:38, now, as they went on their way Jesus entered a village and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving and she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her. "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her." Now, Jesus was praying in a certain place. And when he finished one of his disciples said to him, "Lord teach us to pray as John taught his disciples." And he said to them, "When you pray, say, Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation." And he said to them, "Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him friend lend me three loaves for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey and I have nothing to set before him." And he will answer from within, "Do not bother me the door's now shut and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything." I tell you though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be open to you, for everyone who asks receives and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you if his son asks for a fish will instead of a fish, give him a serpent. Or if he asks for an egg will give him a scorpion. If you then who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children how much more will the heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him? This is the reading of God's holy, inerrant, infallible, authoritative word. May he write these eternal truths upon our hearts. Three points to frame up our time. First, listen to God intently. Second, talk to God relationally, and third ask of God audaciously. First of all, listened to God intently. Luke 10:38. Now, as they went on their way Jesus entered a village and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. So the family is Mary, Martha. We don't know where their parents are. Most likely they passed away that's why they haven't been mentioned. It's Martha's house. Most likely Martha is the oldest. Martha then there's Mary and they have a brother named Lazarus. So that's the family. Jesus was friends with them. He's friends with Mary, Martha and Lazarus. And this is really important because in the age old question is can men and women be friends. And I would submit to you that apart from Jesus Christ, there's always going to be some weird tension where it's never like too many... But with Jesus Christ, we're not just friends we're siblings. We're siblings, we're brothers and sisters. So we can have sibling relationships in the faith because Jesus Christ comes and he takes away our sin and gives us the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome our sins. So Jesus did not have a home. He actually said, the son of man doesn't have a place to rest his head. So he would be blessed, receive blessings from gospel, patrons or people who were blessed financially. And they opened up their home to him. So Martha welcomes him and the disciples. How many disciples of did Jesus have? 13 or 12? So with Jesus, 13. 13 grown men just rolled into your house. You are not expecting, did they call? Of course not, text message at least? No, nothing. Mail pigeon? No, nothing, nothing. They roll in and they're hungry. They just ministered all day. Now, I'll tell you this. Has anyone had 13 men over their house to eat? Am kind of afraid when my brother comes to my house. One grown man, like I need to go shopping just for him. Just for that little, we had burgers this week, he down three burgers gone, and then he was looking at the last one. I'm like, "Come on, man. You can't do that. That's my second one." So just do the math. So they come to his house and Mary loves to serve. Mary loves to care. This is her love language. She wanted to create a feast for Jesus. She wants to practice hospitality. It takes time. It's hard. Cooking back then was so much harder than is cooking today. You couldn't just go to the Stop & Shop at Trader Joe's. You don't have a gas stove. It's so much harder. She feels all this pressure. So she's doing that and what's her sister doing? Luke 10:39. And she has a sister called Mary who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. And usually at this point in the sermon, you say, okay, don't be like Martha, be like Mary. But I don't think that's what's going on here. Because scripture talks about faith and works. We're saved by grace through faith. When there is sin in our lives and the Lord draws us to himself we repent of our sin, of our righteousness, of our bad works, of our good works, that we try to do in order to gain salvation. We repent of all that by grace through faith, we're saved because of the work of Jesus Christ. Now, we're called the good works. It's faith and works. It's like two paddles of a rowboat. It's like two pedals on a bike. They're together. We are to worship and we are to work, we are to take God's word and translate that into work. So that's not what's going on here. What's going on here is something deeper. It's a re-prioritization. Martha you invited me into your home and you didn't ask me how I am. You didn't even ask me how I'm doing. Perhaps Mary was better at the EQ emotional intelligence. She saw that Jesus was burdened. She saw that Jesus had set his face to Jerusalem. He knew these were his last day. So Jesus started teaching. He started teaching. She sits at his feet. Most likely he's standing. And by the way, this is interesting. Judaism didn't forbid explicitly that wouldn't be instructed in the Torah, but it was unheard of for a rabbi to allow a woman to sit at his feet, because that meant that she is one of his disciples and she's sitting there. She's listening. Later Rabbinic tradition includes quotations such as may the words of the Torah be burned, they should not be handed over to women. So they're saying rather than teach a woman the Torah, we prefer burning it. And Jesus rejected these outright unbiblical attitudes. And you see Mary's posture here. It expresses her desire to learn. She's sitting at his feet intently listening. There's also an aspect of worship, of adoration. She's absorbing the words. Soaking in the information, this focus, this rapt attention. She loves the teacher, therefore she loves the content, therefore she's absorbing it. There's an incredible connection between love and learning. In particular when it comes to God. This has to do with any subject. I'll just give you an example, if you're a musician and you love the song, you don't have to sit there and memorize the lyrics. They just stick to your brain. You know what I'm saying? I can give you lots of examples of songs that I've memorized, but they shouldn't have been memorized. That was a long time ago, I'm redeemed. But you know what I'm saying? And with children, you see this with children, children come into the world with all. And because they have all their minds are open. They absorb information. This week we found out that our youngest daughter Milana... We speak Russian at home. We found out that she knows English. And my second daughter, Elizabeth, she started asking her questions in English, she said, "Touch your nose." She was like. "Touch your ear." "Give me a cookie." They just absorb the information? And I say this because love and learning about God, they're so intertwined. Last week we talked about the great commandment. There are two great commandments. One is love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind. There's a way to love God with your mind. When you love God, you love what he teaches. You love his word and his word sticks to your mind. I had a conversation recently with a sister who said, I get bored reading the Bible. I have a hard time reading. I fall asleep and I said, "When you're dating someone and you receive a text message or you receive an email or even a voicemail, you listen to that voicemail, no other voicemails." There's something about love and learning. And she's sitting there. She loves the subject because she loves the God who's speaking this word. But Martha verse 40 was distracted with much serving, she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." Fascinating, fascinating. She's distracted. She hears perhaps a little bit of what Jesus is teaching. And this is probably going on for hours. And she's distracted by the serving. She wants to please God. She wants to please Jesus. She wants to show him how much she loves him. And she's distracted scripture says so much so she actually gets irritated. And what does she do? She goes to Jesus. And she says, "Lord, do you not care? Do you not care? I'm slaving away in this kitchen. And my sister sitting there listening to you talk, do you not care?" I wonder if in this season you've asked the Lord that question. Lord, I'm serving you so much in the season. And I'm kind of out of fuel, do you not care. It's kind of accusatory. She's known Jesus. She's known his teaching. She's seen his miracles. She's accusing him and so much so that she says, "Lord, tell her, tell her then to help me, tell her." She's telling God what to do. There's a lot to unpack here. First of all, I'm going to say that Martha is... I think Martha's from New England. She's very blunt, from Boston. I get this from this text in John 11 where Jesus is about to resurrect Lazarus. And then Martha is like, "Hold on Jesus. Don't roll the rockaway yet, he's been there in there four days, I've done the math. It's going be a foul odor" In the King James it says, "I think he stinketh. My brother's stinketh." She's absolutely blunt, this is what's on her heart. And I love this part about, she goes to Jesus with her aggravation, with her anxiety, with her doubt. "Do you not care?" I'm sure you've been in the situation where you're working hard and you see someone who isn't and it's hard for a person who's working to understand the person who's not in particular when it comes to studying scripture and prayer. And you're like, hold on. Because when you're doing work for God, you think that's the most important thing. When you're studying God's word and praying you think that's the most important thing, but the scripture isn't pitting them against each other. It's re-organizing, re-prioritizing, what comes first? Above everything seek first the kingdom of God. The first thing you got to do is pray. The first thing you got to do is listen to God's word. God doesn't want our leftovers, he wants our first fruits. Before our work for him he wants the adoration of our heart. The other thing I will just point out here, Martha took herself too seriously. She thought if I do not be feed Jesus, Jesus will not be fed. If I do not feed Jesus' disciples, Jesus' disciples will not be fed. I am very important. My work is very important. I am actually indispensable to Jesus in his ministry. If I were not here, they would all die. So I'm going to go back to work. And there's a lesson here. The lesson is thinking like that, that I am indispensable, that's prideful. God does not need any of us. It's a miracle he would use any of us. And that should humble us that we get to serve the Lord. She overestimated her importance. And when you do that, then your work becomes burdensome. And this applies to every single aspect of life. Being a spouse can be a burdensome ministry. If it's not done in the power of the spirit. Being a parent could be a burdensome ministry. Being a friend can be a burdensome ministry where you're like, I need to save this person. No, you don't. Jesus can save that person. My job is to point this person to Jesus. There's stuff going on, her heart's not in the right place. And Jesus just needs to reorder a few things. And that's really what salvation is. Salvation is God reordering loves in our life. You might be loving a good thing more than the greatest thing which is Jesus and that pulls you away from him. Luke 10:41 and 42, but the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion of which will not be taken away from her." I love this answer. If you study Hebrew and Aramaic and then Jesus spoke, he was in the world of all three languages, including Greek. Whenever a name is repeated twice, it's for emphasis and it's for affection. You see this as King David talking about his son, "Absalom, Absalom." When his son had betrayed him. And here Jesus say, "Oh, Mary, Mary." I use this to my kids when I want to emphasize my love for them but also they've done something that they shouldn't have. "Sophia, Sophia." That's what I do, "Liza Liza. Katia, Katia. Milana Milana." And they're smart kids. And whenever I mess up or do something stupid, Sophia, her favorite thing is, "Oh Papa, Papa" Same thing. That's what he's doing. There's affection here, but it's like, I want to correct you, speaking truth in love. And he repeats her name and what did he say? He says, you're anxious and troubled about too many things. You've allowed secondary things to push out the primary thing. And that primary thing is actually the thing that gives you energy to do the secondary things. And that's why you're so anxious. And you're so distressed and troubled. So come back to the one thing that's necessary. It's the only thing that's truly necessary. You can just strip everything else away. But the only thing that's truly necessary is God. It's spending time in his word. It's nourishing our souls with his word. It's listening to him and speaking to him. There's nothing more important. That's the highest priority for Christ's servants, that's highest priority for all of us. And we forget this. Sometimes you get to the point... And my wife and I we have this conversation. I'm like, "Baby, I see you're stressed out. When's the last time did you spend time in the scripture state?" "I don't have time to spend time in the scriptures. I've got to feed them breakfast." We have that conversation. And then I say, "Why don't you wake up earlier?" And that never goes well. So I got to feed them breakfast. But there is that time I got way too much to do to read scripture. I got way too much to do is spend time in prayer. I got too many other things and we actually lose the fuels source. We lose the power of the spirit. So dear believers sit at the feet of Jesus. Sit at his feet, this is not less than scripture, we have to read scripture, but it's more than scripture. So the God that wrote his word, we read it, we study it, we meditate, we listen to his cadence and Jesus said, my sheep know my voice. And then when you know his voice from the scriptures, you hear him speaking in life by the power of the spirit. Sometimes he speaks through people. Sometimes he speaks through event, but he's with us, he's always with us. We can sit at his feet and rest in him. The only thing that's truly necessary, it's necessary in sickness, in health, adversity, prosperity, in life and death here and eternity. I wonder if Martha listened to this rebuke. By the way, hearing a rebuke from the Lord, hearing a rebuke from anyone, it does not feel good. You think Martha, after serving, slaving away for hours like to be rebuked. I wonder if she even sat down for the meal. It's like here, you can finish roasting the lamb yourself. But I think she took it to heart. How do I know this? Remember when her brother Lazarus died and Jesus delayed coming on purpose so that he could glorify himself by resurrecting Lazarus. And Martha comes to him with the same blunt straight to the point voice. John 11:21-27. Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise is again." Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection in the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life whoever believes in me though he die yet shall he live and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die, do you believe this?" And she said to him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ the son of God who was coming into the world." Why is this important? It's one of only two great confessions of the identity of Jesus Christ in all of the new Testament. The first came through lifts of Peter. He says, "I know who you are. You are Christ the son of the living God." And then on the lifts of Martha, you are the Messiah. You're the son of God. You're the Christ. She got it. Because she realized that the only one thing is necessary. She made that her good portion. God blessed her with this great revelation, the great confession. And then Mary, of course, she kept to the one thing to the end. John 12:1-2, six days before the Passover Jesus therefore came to Bethany where Lazarus was whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So this is immediately after. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, again, she's serving and what's Lazarus doing? Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Here, I'd be like, "Lazarus why aren’t you helping your sister." But he just died. He just came back from the dead. That takes a lot out of you. So Martha is working, hopefully Mary's helping. Then Mary puts everything down. She walks, she took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. And that house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. She realized by this point, not only is this the only thing that's necessary this is also the most precious thing there is. This is the most precious one there is. She knows she's in the presence of treasure and she wants to give her greatest treasure. Something that's probably worth tens of thousands of dollars, a family heirloom. And she wants to pour out her devotion on Christ. Therefore preparing him for burial. And John 12:4-8, how did the disciples react? Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, he who was about to betray him said, "Why was this ointment not sold for 300 denari and given to the poor?" He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief and having charge of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, "Leave her alone so that she may keep it for the day of my burial for the poor you always have with you but you did not always have me." And you see the juxtaposition in the text that one of the disciples Judas does not see Jesus for who he is, though he heard all of his teaching, saw the miracles and he doesn't realize that this is the greatest treasure in the world. Instead, the treasurer is stealing from the treasure Treasure because adultery, because of money, because of greed. And that's what led him to betray Christ. Instead, you've got these two sisters. One gives the great confession. The other one gives a great, great anointing. And it's all because they kept the main thing the main thing. Second of all, talk to God relationally. So listen to God intently and then talk to God relationally. Now, Jesus was praying in a certain place. And when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray as John taught his disciples." What's fascinating here is why do they wait until Luke chapter 11 to ask Jesus how to pray? This is the end of Jesus' ministry. This is probably the third year, for two years nobody asked, why. I think partially because they just assumed they knew how to pray. They grew up in Hebrew culture. They grew up going into the temple. They grew up going to synagogues, but they realized that Jesus prayed in a categorically different way than everyone else around them. Everyone else chanted or recited or just had these wrote memorized prayers. Jesus prayed intensely fervently, relationally. And why do they ask? On the one hand, prayer is easy. A child can pray. When you're at your wit's end, when you've got nothing, no other strength you pray. But also prayer's hard, prayer is strenuous. It's taxing of energy, of power, of focus, of emotion physically. And then you leave prayer filled spiritual. There's something there, it's so natural, it doesn't need to be taught or you can spend your whole life studying it. Why do they ask here, because they understand that the spiritual warfare is just dialing up as Jesus is about to go to the cross as this hostility coming at him. And they realized that Jesus prayers are more and more fervent he's spending more and more time in prayer because Jesus knows he's about to enter the most cosmic battle there ever was on the cross with Satan. John Piper said, you don't know what prayer is for until you know that life is war. That's why they got ask. They're like, I don't think I'm doing it right. I don't think I'm really struggling in prayer. So Jesus does pray. He teaches them. And then he talks about how to do audaciously. And he said to them, verse two, when you pray, say father hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us, and lead us not into temptation. Perhaps you're like this isn't the Lord's prayer that I've had memorized because the one you have memorized is probably from Matthew six, The Sermon on the Mount. The reason why Jesus gives two different ones is to show us it's not about the magic formula of saying these words about the content, it's about the framework. It begins with father. In The Sermon on the Mount Jesus says our father to emphasize the God his father of all Christians here is just father to emphasize that God is father of people individually because by grace through faith, because of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, we are adopted into the family of God. So we can come to God on our own. You don't need to pray to God through another person. You don't need someone to mediate through. You can pray on you. You can go to God the father on your own. Yes, he's King. Yes, he's great. But he's also father, dear father. Galatians and Romans calls him Father abba, abba father, dearest father. Some people say daddy, I'm like, ah, I'm just going to add a little more reverence to that. Dearest father, you're my dearest father to begin prayer with that it's relational. Though it's relational, though he's a personal father he's still God. He's still God, hallowed be your name. May your name be holy. It is holy, but may your name be holy in my life, on my lips, in my heart. May your name be holy, maybe revered and feared and worshiped in this city, in my family, in my community. I think a lot of Christians are missing this. They're missing the holiness of God. For a lot of people, God is a buddy. God he's just a friend. God is someone who will always forgive your sin. So it doesn't matter how you live. Now, it doesn't matter how you live. God so much hate sin that he... Look at the cross. Look what it takes to get sin forgiven. Takes a son dying on the cross for us. And I think our generation is missing this reverence. This awe that the God who created everything and in him all things hold together. We sin against him on a daily basis. We forget him. We've got a spiritual amnesia. We do things that he told us not to do. We don't do the things that he told us to. I think part of it is in an attempt to share God's love with people we try to hide the true nature of God. We try to hide what he's really taught. What he's really taught about gender. What he's really taught about sexuality. What he's really taught about family. What he's really taught about the most important things in life. I'll just give you an example. This just happened this week, Lifeway, which is usually their great publisher, they publish a lot of great stuff, devotionals, and Bibles. They came up with the Bible Devo, which is a Bible devotional, but it's called a Bible Devo for generation Z. And this is how they translate John 1:1. John, 1:1 goes like this, in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. Okay, that's John 1:1. This is how they translate. Since day uno, there was cap G, big Jay was chilling with cap G and big J was cap G. Someone made an executive decision that that's a good idea. Some read that and like, yeah. Okay, generation D, let's go get them. First of all it was blasphemous. This is just bad theology. I don't know anyone gen Z who calls God cap G, big J. It's all to say that God is still God. And in prayer we need to know, yes hollowed be your name, may your name be holy. Your name is holy. So remind us to pursue holiness. Your kingdom come. Jesus rule in my heart. Jesus I submit everything to you. I yield everything to you. May your kingdom come in my life. May your kingdom come into my relationships, in my decision, in everything. And as you pray that you got to say is Jesus King over this decision, is Jesus King over this relationship, is Jesus King over my desires, over my affection, over my thoughts, over my thoughts, over my entertainment choices. Is Jesus King right now, as he's sitting on his throne over what I am doing is he's reigning over everything. So the prayer begins with God. It's vertical then we begin to ask for what we need. Give us each day our daily bread, everything comes from God. We're fully dependent. Relying, he's talking about physical bread and spiritual bread, and you're not just praying for bread for yourself, but for others. Not just give me my bread, give me our bread. So you're cognizant of other's needs and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. Give me bread. Forgive me, give me grace and give me grace to extend grace to others and lead us not into temptation. What an interesting turn of phrase. Have you ever meditated on that? Why should we ask God not to lead us into temptation? Why would we have to ask God not lead us into temptation? Does God tempt us? No, of course not. James 1:13-14. Let no one say when he is tempted, I'm being tempted by God for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one, but each person is tempted when he's lured and enticed by his own desire. So God doesn't tempt us and God doesn't lead us to temptation to leave us in temptation. But there is a sense in which God allows temptation to happen. And he actually leads us through that temptation. Because God is with us we're sealed by the power of the Holy Spirit. God is in us. Sometimes God does to test us, lead us to temptation and through temptation. And the way that he leads us through temptation is for us to cling to him, to hold onto him, to recognize that he will never give us temptation without giving us an exit strategy. That's first Corinthians 10:13, no temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape that you may be able to endure it. Now, I've always understood that like, okay, you're in temptation, God has allowed this temptation in your life and he will give you an exit. And you have to take that exit by yourself. That's not what's going on because a Christian has the power of the Holy Spirit in him. So God is always with us. So when he's giving us the exit strategy, he's leading us to it and through it, this is really important. This is how I think of it. I think of it temptation comes. I'm tied to a chair in a warehouse building and the Lord comes like a navy seal. Repels onto the roof from a helicopter, comes down and he's rescuing me. I don't know if for some reason the image that comes as Jack Ryan. I like it so much because the transformation from Jim Jack Ryan will happen with that. So he's leading me out, but he's saying stay close, stay close, stay close. I know where the exit is, stay close. Now, that metaphor doesn't work. Like most metaphors don't work. So got to broaden it. It's not bullets there. They don't look like bullets. They don't look like bullets. Temptation never comes in the form of a bullet. It comes in the form of something tasty, something attractive. There's a seductive siren song of voices around us pulling us away from the one who says, I know where the exit is. Follow me, stay close to me. Don't stay here. Don't give into that temptation because you're going to come out stronger. And when you come out stronger, you'll be able to lead others out of that temptation. Just like what happened when Jesus started his ministry, he got baptized and what happened? The Holy Spirit. It says, ekballō in the Greek, cast him out, throws him into the desert in order for the enemy to tempt him. Why did Jesus Christ fast for 40 days? Why he tempted by the evil one? Why did God allow that for Jesus to conquer that so then to show us how we can be more than conquerors. The other thing I want to point out from first Corinthians 10:3, it doesn't say, God won't give you more than you can handle. He often does give us more than we can handle so that we run to him. But it says that you won't give us more temptation than we can bare. So when you feel tempted by the evil one, when you feel tempted by sin, by the flesh, run to Christ, run to Christ and he will show you the exit strategy to get out by the power of the spirit. Look what happens, I'll just mention this and then point 3. We sin and then we pray. Pray before you sin. Pray when you're tempted. In that moment of temptation, pray. Call someone, text someone, "Hey, I'm being tempted right now, please, please pray for me, please." And the other thing I'll say is if you have time for temptation, you have too much time on your hands. Go serve someone, go babysit someone's kids. I know lots of families who actually struggled over Covid. Go babysit. Number three, ask of God audaciously, ask of God. And this is shocking. And I read it before. But the story is in Luke 11:5-8 Jesus telling a story. He's like that prayer happened. Now, I'm going to show you the war aspect of prayer, the struggle aspect, the battle aspect, where you wrestle with God. And he tells a story of a guy who has a friend come to his house at midnight. He doesn't have any food. And the rule of hospitality in middle Eastern culture was that you had to provide shelter and food. So this guy doesn't have anything. So he goes to his friend's house and he starts knocking. And it says his friend doesn't give him the loaves of bread because they're friends. Because if you wake me up at midnight and you wake up my kids, we are no longer friends. That's what's going on, but he'll give it to him because of his impudence that's what the text says. His persistent, audacity, tenacity, his shamelessness, he's almost reckless, persisting in the face of all that seems reasonable. And Jesus says, that's how to pray. That's how to pray. You wrestle with God. You beg God. You keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. Verse nine and I will tell you, ask, and it will be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and will be open to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be open, it's the holy boldness. You're knocking, you're insistently asking, you're searching and you refuse to stop, it's battle, it's a holy struggle, that's what's going on. A story goes of Alexander the Great had a general, his daughter was getting married and Alexander the Great tells that general, "Hey, I'll pay for that wedding, just tell me how much." And then the general writes this letter with the amount. The treasurer reads letter and tells Alexander, "Hey, you're probably going to behead him because this is just absurd." And Alexander the Great asked for the number. And he says, "Give it to him." By such an outlandish request he shows that he believes that I am both rich and generous. And he was flattered by it. In some sense, God says, I want you to know how great of a God I am. John Newman wrote that we're coming to a King, large petitions with the bring for his grace and power are such none can ever ask too much. So there is a sense in Martin Lloyd Jones, the great British preacher he wrote about this. He said, I commend to you the reading of biographies of men who have been used by God in the church throughout the centuries especially in revival. And you will find the same holy boldness, this argumentation, this reasoning, this putting the case to God, pleading his own promises. All of that, that is the whole secret of prayer. I sometimes think Thomas Goodwin uses a wonderful term. He says, sue him for it, sue him for it. Do not leave him alone. Pester him as it were with his own promises, quote the scriptures to him and you know God delights to hear us doing it. As a father likes to see this element in his own child who has obviously been listening to what his father has been saying. It's true, it's true, about kids pestering their parents. You were listening and you know that I do not lie. I shall give you that ice cream cone, just don't tell your mom, happens all the time. Do you wrestle with God? As Jacob wrestles with God says, "I'm not going to let you go until you bless me." As Abraham haggles with God. I love that story. Abraham haggles with God, God comes to him and says, "I got to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, they're so sinful." And he says, "What if there are 50 righteous people in the town." God said, "Okay, I'll relent if there's 50." And then Abraham's like, "How about 45?" And then at that point, he's like, "How about 40?" And God's like, "Okay." And then he comes back to him and he's like, "How about 30?" Now, he's going down by tens. "How about 20?" "Fine." "How about 10?" And he should have kept going because they weren't even 10. But he does say a lot. There's this wrestling. There's this proximity to God, verse 11-13. What father among you if a son asks for a fish will instead of a fish give him a serpent. Or if he asks for an egg will give him a scorpion. If you then who are evil you at your best, feeding your children, giving your kids good gifts, even at your best you're still evil. You still need Jesus. Know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will the heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him. So like ask, seek, knock on the door, you shall get. When we think of that, we think of physical things. The story of Alexander the Great. Yeah, okay is God going to give us bank? Maybe, maybe not. The greatest gift that God can give us, what's the punchline. How does Jesus land this text, will not the heavenly father give more of the Holy Spirit, give more of himself, give more of his presence, give more of your holiness. If that's what you're asking for God, I want you to be hallowed. I want you to be holy in my life. God forgive me for my sins. Do not lead me into temptation. I pray that you provide for me both materially and then also grace for forgiveness of sins and to continue to forgive others. How do we deepen a passion for the Lord like this? Revelation chapter two, he talks about you've lost your first love. He's talking to a church. How do we get it back? We go back to the foot of the cross. We go back to the feet of Jesus, in all of Jesus' prayers he always called God father. He called him abba. The only time he does not call him abba is when he cries out in Matthew 27:46, about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lima sabachthani?" That is, "My God, my God." Twice, with all of his heart, the one that he loves has turned his face from him. "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? God, doesn't answer that prayer, why? Just like he didn't answer the prayer in Gethsemane, "Let this cup pass from me." Why? Because this is what it took. It took Jesus' prayer, not being answered so that we can be adopted into the family of God so that we could have our prayers answered. What's fascinating is Jesus reverts back to abba. After he absorbs the wrath of God on the cross he reverts back to abba and his final words, Luke 23:46, Jesus calling out the loud voice, said, "Father into your hands, abba into your hands I commit my spirit." And having said this, he breathed his last. He breathed his last so that we could receive the breath of life. Receive it. Why wouldn't you receive the breadth of life, receive the Holy Spirit, receive forgiveness of sins. Come to his feet, his nail pierced feet, receive, listen, talk, ask, and continue to live the life he's called us to live. Let's pray, Lord, we thank you for your word. What a tremendous word it is, a blessed word. Lord, we thank you for giving us access to yourself. We thank you for reminding us that the most important thing, the one thing that's necessary in this world is our relationship with you. And we deepen it by listening to you attentively, by talking to you relationally, by asking audaciously, in particular for things that you've already promised. You've promised to build your church. You've told us you don't want to see the death of a sinner. You want people to be converted. You promised us that when we are close to you will bring us flourishing and the flourishing not just of ourselves and our families, but our communities, our city, our state, our nation. So we pray Lord that you continue to pour out your spirit and give us victory over Satan, sin, and death. And we thank you in advance and we pray all this in Christ's name. Amen.


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