Jesus, in God’s perfect timing, uses the resurrection of Lazarus as a parable for his life giving power that comes at the cost of his substitutionary death. — John 11

Monterey, Ca. Photo by Richard Blick, 2011

IX. The Sermon: Resurrection and Life. John 11 – Reverend Kyle McClellan, Pastor, Grace Church

The Big Idea: Jesus, in God’s perfect timing, uses the resurrection of Lazarus as a parable for his life giving power that comes at the cost of his substitutionary death.

Point One: We need to trust in God’s perfect timing.
Vs1-6. Jesus loved Martha, her sister and brother. It is shocking then that he stayed TWO DAYS longer so he doesn’t get to Lazarus in time to heal him. This is the Jesus who is known to heal people, give the blind sight, and cause lame to walk.

V4. This illness does not lead to death but glorifies Jesus and God. He also sees that Mary, Martha, et al need to grow in their faith. She says absgractly that yes, her brother will come to life on the last day. When is that? Jesus hits her with the concrete reality that HE IS the resurrection and the life not some abstract idea of the last day.

We understand God’s timing is perfect, but that is abstract because we want God in reality to do things quicker sometimes. We want him to work in the lives of our children, for instance. We want these things now. The book of Job also hits this topic: God’s timing is His business. Lovingly, like Mary and Martha, Jesus confronts us that his timing of waiting two extra days better. While we wait, we see God’s goodness greater. He become less abstract and more real.

Point two. We need to understand Jesus’ grief and anger.
This culture had professional mourners that were required to be hired for a funeral, even by poorer people. V33 Jesus sees them weep and is deeply moved. Why is it that he is outraged and grieving? The text tells us more than once that Jesus loves this family deeply, and he is seeing their world come to an end. Now, Mary and Martha find themselves behind the eight ball in a big way. We don’t see the mention of husbands or parents. They have no protectorate now, no one to supply for them now that Lazarus, their kinsman redeemer, is dead.

The phrase ‘deeply moved’ in common Greek often referred to a horse that snorted when he is angry. v37 the people say, “where’s the guy with all the power when we need him?” This is a form of unbelief. Jonathan Edwards has said that unbelievers find Jesus useful, and believers find him beautiful.

Point three. This is John’s last recorded sign that Jesus did and his biggest in many ways.
V34. Here is a dead and decaying man walking bound with grave clothes, and Jesus says let him go. 1 Cor 14. Where is death’s sting now that in Christ’s death it has been swallowed up?

Point four. We should marvel at the irony of substitution.
Many see this miracle and believe. Many people, however, run to the Pharisees and taddle-tell.

It is Ironic that eventually the Romans did conquer Jerusalem even though they said if we kill Jesus that would never happen.

The second ironic point is in v50. The high priest is saying more than he knows. Jesus would die for the nation AND the world. In Isaiah 53 we read that Jesus would bear our griefs and sorrows yet we esteemed him stricken. He bore our inquiry and had none of his own. What the high priest did not know he was speaking of really fulfilled this passage. Jesus dies in our place.

In Ephesians 2 it says we are dead, like Lazarus. There is a little Lazarus in us all, as the song goes. Jesus said that this event was also a parable. Have you heard Jesus call you out from your deadness?


Sin as slavery. Numbers 11 complaining in the wilderness for meet. Tim Keller sermon. iTunes

Capitola, California. Photo by Richard Blick, 2011

Intro. The series asks the question what is wrong with the human race? In this sermon, keller focuses on, Why when we know what is right do we do wrong anyway?

The big idea: Sin is not just a wrong act but it is a suicidal power.

Point one. All sin is an addiction.
Addiction destroys us through the following:
A. We build up a tolerance. What satisfied today will need more to reach the same satisfaction tomorrow. This is called the hedonic set point. V4 says that in their emotions they CRAVED and their emotions were shriveling up.
B. We live in denial. V5 says that they were not logical in their arguments. They were mistreated, killed slaves of the Egyptians, but the fish was good? They are denying just how bad it was. C. Addiction destroys will power. V6 says that their strength dried up.

Sin is slavery. In v4 is the key to the passage: they said “if only” they had meat they would be happy. Whatever is your “if only” is your slave master. What are our “if onlys”? If only I had a better life, then I would be happy. If only I had a diffent kid… If only I had a different spouse… If only I could get married… If only I could work for a fortune 500 company… When even good things become our “if only”, we are stuck in the cycle of addiction as sin is addiction.

Point two. How are we healed?
V20 God does an intervention and shows them their real problem and their real spiritual slavery. Unless someone from outside of us stops us in our tracks in an intervention, we will never see the addiction that our sin has on us in our “if only” cycle.

V20 literally says that God says they will loath the meat they long for BECAUSE they loath God. In other words, you will lose your appetite for all else because you do not have an appetite for God. That is why we are called to taste and see that God is good, not just give mental ascent to truths about his goodness. We need times to weep in the joy of worship.

We need a different master. There is only one master who is not a slave master. We need a bigger fire to draw us away from the bright light of sin that leaves us utterly unsatisfied in the end.

The fact is that we need a better Moses. Moses prays in this passage that he would rather die than bear the burden of leading this lousy, complaining people. However, Hebrews 3 says that in fact we do have a better Moses in Jesus Christ. He both died AND BORE THE BURDEN of leading a sinful people to repentance and purchased their redemption. Moses in his failure points to Jesus in his success. He points us to the one who’s mercy IS NEW EVERY MORNING. This is they only thing that will satisfy better than our “if onlys” because God has mercies that are new EVERY MORNING!

So how can we taste more of God? What are things that we can do to put us in the way of the frieght train of Gods glory and affections? What are the things that stir our affections for God? Stir other’s affections for him? Some of these things for me include black coffee, great music, time along with Jodi listening, etc.

In God’s word, deep fellowship with his people, joyful participation in corporate worship, and many other means of grace we taste God.

The more we taste God as Good and not merely just know it in our heads the more we taste everything around us as delicious! Followers of Christ should be the ones who taste most deeply of this world because we regularly taste God, the Creator of this world, as great!

Google Earth and Exodus 19. Can you just picture this, setting up camp here?

Source. Google Earth, mount sinai.

Look at this picture and read Exodus 19:1-6. Interesting!

1 On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.
2 They set out from Rephidim and came into the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. There Israel encamped before the mountain,
3 while Moses went up to God. The LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel:
4 You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.
5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;
6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

VII. The Sermon: The Anatomy of Unbelief. The Sermon Passage: John 10:22-42 – Reverend Kyle McClell an, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church

Photo by Justine, 2009, zoo trip

John sticks to his guns or his pattern: he presents the evidence of Christ, that we may believe, that we may have eternal life. However, not everyone believes. So what does unbelief look like?

The Big Idea: unbelief finds it’s expression in forcing Jesus into a story of our own choosing, rejecting the authority of Gods word, and failing to worship Jesus as God.

Point one. Let Jesus write his own story.
Vs 22-26. The occasion of this is the feast of dedication. A time contemporary Jews celebrate Haunika. They are commemorating the Macabees kicking out the ruling gentiles from the temple they are defiling. It is somewhat like our fourth of July celebration. They are interested to find out if jesus is this king that will kick out the Romans, giving victory over foreigners like the macabean king. They are not looking for him to fulfill all of Gods redemptive history and deliver his people from their sins. They want Jesus to fit in the story they a writing.

“The Jews require that Jesus either accept or decline a place already prepared for him in their theology. But Jesus cannot take any place in a true theology except the determinative one.” – Lesslie Newbigin

Today we say things like, I don’t like to think of Jesus in that way. However, Jesus is not like a buffet line where we can take what we want and leave the rest. We must take him as he reveals himself as the Christ, he is God.

Point two. We need to hear and obey the sovereign voice of Jesus
V26. If we hear and obey Jesus it is because we are his sheep. V29 the sheep the father gives Jesus and will never lose is a promise based on God’s great character not our actions. Jesus can speak for God because Jesus and the father are one.

Point three. We need to worship Jesus as God.
The Jews wanted a political savior from Rome, not a man who says he is God and God’s son. In vs 34 Jesus quotes Psalm 82. This is his argument: Jesus is beating them at their own game. The pharisees like to play word games and use scripture. He is saying if I can do things that only God can do, ie feed the five thousand, heal people, etc., then I am God.

Application. Do we worship him as God? Is your life characterized by belief in Christ or unbelief about him. Jesus invites you to receive eternal life from him, vs 27, hear him, and obey him. Is your life characterized by belief or unbeIef.

“Sin is adultery, not just breaking rules.” – Sin and temptation. James 1. Tim Keller sermon. iTunes

Photo by dad. Conover Lake, Michigan 2011

The big idea: According to the Bible, what is the nature of sin and temptation?

1. Trials are also temptations.
Evey trial is a test of some kind and has temptation in it somewhere. Through every trial we will change but the question is, will we change for the ether or the worse? Both success and adversity present temptations to either pride or despondency and rejection of the faith.

2. Why is there temptation?
Because we live in a post Genesis 3 world, nobody makes me sin; I want it; I desire it. A student fails a test not because the teacher gave the test but because the knowledge was not in the mind of the student. Likewise, do not confuse the CAUSE and the OCCASION of our sin. We sin because we are sinners, not sinners because we sin.

3. How trials bring about temptation.
‘Evil desire’ in this passage is an OVER-DESIRE, an epi-desire. The essence of sin is not just wanting bad things but wanting anything too badly. Sin is self-esteem through anything else but God. Sin is believing the lie that I am not anyone as a person ‘until someone loves me.’ Or I am no good until I have a great family and a great house, etc.

Sin is adultery, not just breaking rules. Sin is in the fact that our affections are deeply intermingled with something else, and not just bad things. We have another lover other than God.

4. How can we escape temptation / how can we change?
The ‘just say no’ campaign is not enough to bring about true and lasting change from sin. We need a better lover. Thomas Chalmers wrote a great sermon entitled the Explosive Power of a New Affection.

Here is where the new affection comes from: seeing the beauty of Christ. In James, he tells us, “Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. In other words, the rich need to see that despite their wealth, they are spiritually bankrupt and needed not just a good person to die for their sins but a perfect God because they are so bad. Likewise, the poor rejoice that they are more loved by God than what their worldly positions would seem to warrant to some. Ephesians 2 says that we are seated at Christ’s right hand. That is love! That is power! We need this humble confidence that seeing both riches and poverty in this light at the same time brings each of us. We are at the same time worse sinners than we know but yet loved by God far greater than our deepest desires!

This is why every sermon that Tim Keller gives ends with the beauty of Jesus, his substitutionary life and death for me, and his eternal love. Unless we see him as our ultimate affection and as our lover, there will be no holiness.

We will be in love with something. The question is, will it sustain the weight of your worship or will it eventually let you down? Unless we move beyond merely an intellectual assent to this love of God in Jesus for us and REALLY experience it, we will not be changed.

Holy spirit, make this a reality in my heart and affections. Taste and see that God IS GOOD!

IX. The Sermon: John 10:1-21 – Three Metaphors – Reverend Kyle McClellan, Pastor, Grace Churc h

Photo by Richard Blick. Carmel, California, 2011.

Intro. Ezekiel 34 is the context for this passage in John 10. Even Psalm 23 talks of the Lord as our shepherd. In Ezekiel 34, God is promising two things: 1. Judgement on the shepherds of his people that are using them and preying on them, and 2. God will bring about his perfect shepherd of the sheep one day.

Jesus in John 10 says he IS THAT SHEPHERD, THE ONE THEY ARE LOOKING FOR from Ezekiel and other Old Testament passages.

The big idea: if we are truly God’s children, then God’s shalom and wholeness is found in the One who is the true gate and the true shepherd.

1. Jesus is the true gate.
Common practice would have been to have multiple families in an area build a sheep pen between their houses. They would build a wall with blocks and briar patch branches on the top to keep out predators. A night watchman would be hired to guard the one and only door. All the families had their own sheep mingled together and not branded to designate which family owned which sheep. They would separate ther sheep again each morning by each shepherd speaking and the sheep of that family following that one shepherd.

There is only one way into the pen. He does not say he is a door or one of many doors, but rather he says he is the one door. Contrary to our thinking today in our culture, there are not many ways to get to God. Jesus says there is one way and it is through him. This does not mean that we do not learn things from other cultures and religions. Muslims, for instance, have great hospitality and time together over tea without a clock rushing them. However, Islam does not save. Jesus is the one who makes this claim of exclusivity.

2. Jesus is the true sheperd.
Verse 11: Jesus says he is THE shepherd and he is good. He alone is committed to the safety of the sheep, so much so that he will die for them. Indeed, this is his purpose. He is vested with the sheep unlike a hired hand.

Kyle’s role is under-shepherd as the pastor. He is not a hired hand but loves this. His role is not to be our shepherd, but rather he is to point us to the true, one, ultimate shepherd!

3. Are we true sheep?
V14-Jesus says that he is THE shepherd, and his sheep know his voice. If we want to know if we are true sheep, the better question is do we listen to and obey the shepherd’s voice. This Bible is not solely a book of morals, though it has moral law in it. It is also not just a road map to heaven. It is more than that. It is also not only BIBLE – BASIC INFORMATION BEFORE LEAVING EARTH. The Bible, however, is God’s revelation of himself to you and me. It is his story. It is what he has done and is doing in the world. In fact, our own story only makes sense inside this story.

Have you heard and have you responded to the shepherd’s voice? We are not his sheep because of our baptism. It is because the shepherd is with us that the valley of the shadow of death no longer has fear in it for us. We are saved by the shepherd.

Vs20-21. The crowd and leaders are divided on who Jesus is. Have you heard his voice or are you divided like the religious leaders?