Saturday, April 20, 2024

Winning Words


Imagine that we are in the middle of a championship game, and I am giving a half-time talk. That’s what I do each Sunday and Wednesday


Wouldn’t it be great if the coach already knew the outcome and the pep-talk he was giving was based on the win he knew would follow? If we only had the whole story perspective before we called the plays. I imagine we would run the pattern with a lot greater purpose and passion


It’s always been the same. Faith has always been required to please God in the middle of a game. The disciples of Jesus did not have the advantage of knowing the whole story when making their decisions and neither do we. Listen up like you’re in a locker room or on a sideline huddle and let me give you some winning words.


The Jewish Feast of Passover begins tomorrow, April 22nd, at sundown in Israel. So according to the Jewish calendar, today, right about this time of the day in Jerusalem, about 2000 years ago, Jesus was enjoying the Last Supper with His 12 disciples in an upper room on Mount Zion. 


Towards the end of the supper, an hour or two from now historically, Jesus encouraged Judas Iscariot to go ahead and do what he felt he had to do. (John 13:27ff) Judas left the upper room to fulfill his agreement with the high priest and deliver Jesus away from the multitudes who believed in Him. (Matthew 26; Luke 22:6)


When the Last Supper was finished, the disciples accompanied Jesus on a 15-minute walk out of the city, eastward and across the Kidron Valley. Just at the foot of the Mount of Olives Jesus stopped in a quiet place called the Garden of Gethsemane. He was troubled and He wanted to pray. (Matthew 26:36ff)


Judas knew where Jesus and His disciples would take a short break before beginning their climb up the steep trail towards Bethany. After Jesus finished praying and had uttered the memorable words, “Not My will but Thine be done, He found His disciples sleeping and told them to wake up because His betrayer was at hand. 


Matthew 26 NKJV

47 ¶  And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people.

48  Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.”

49  Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.

50  But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him.

51  And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.

52  But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.

53  “Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?

54  “How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”


Don’t you know it was extremely hard for the disciples of Jesus to imagine this could ever be the will of God. Once we see this from whole story perspective, we easily understand more about God and more about life.But in the moment, all they could do was trust His Word.


From this account we learn:


1. There is a time for every purpose under heaven.
a. Time is the envelope into which God has placed all of His promises. None of them will fail.
b. We must be brave and trust that this is, or that this is not the time.
c. That was the reason Jesus was troubled and stopped to pray.
d. He wanted to know … “Is this the time?”
e. God is the only One who can tell you for sure.
f. There will come a time when you will have make a decision by faith.
2. God teaches us that nothing takes the place of being prepared.
a. We will never catch God unprepared for what we have done, or what we will do … 
b. Just ask Jonah and the big fish.
c. Jesus was prepared for His betrayal, arrest, trial, and the cross.
3. Your limited experiences are not the measure of God’s will. 
a. Your life on earth is not the measure of God’s will for mankind.
b. God does not first seek our permission before He upsets our plans.
c. God’s will does not have to make sense to us before it can be God’s will.
d. The disciples learned to trust God beyond the disappointment.
4. We can become so focused on what we know God wants for our lives that we miss what God is doing in our lives.
a. What may seem like a surprise to us, may be a plan to God.
b. We can become so caught up in the future that we miss the point of the present. 
c. The disciples did not want to fail Jesus or fall short of their destiny … but neither did they understand what it took to make their dreams come true.
d. There is always a purpose in the process. (Romans 8:28)
5. Without God’s intervention, life would be hell!
a. The hell we are going through does not compare to the heaven we are going to.
b. Many challenges begin with you not being able to and end with you being well able to. 
c. In order to be successful, you have to begin somewhere.
d. Why not begin here and now


There is no problem so big that you cannot outlive it, out last it, or out distance it, if you will only get on the right road and stay on that road until you get to where you want to be. The right road is always found in Jesus. He is the Way; He is the Truth; and He is the Life. Winning words!


Now let’s go out there and run the next play He calls the way He calls it …