Calvary Chapel Cherry Creek
The Gospel of John 20 vs 19-31
Chapter 20 Verse 19
- And so the church is assembled on Sunday, the first day of the week, which we continue in still to this day, yet they were behind closed doors, and the word there in the Greek actually means that they were behind “barred” doors. Locked doors. Why? John tells us, “for fear.”
- Why were they so afraid? Were they breaking the law? No. Were they conspiring against Rome? No. Were they doing anything at all, or guilty of anything at all that would have caused them to fear in such a way to lock themselves in a room in acknowledgement of some sort of alarm? Well, you could say they feared because of their association with Jesus…ok, not bad, but remember the Jews and Romans had already killed Jesus…Jesus was gone in their eyes…the threat was removed…so why are all 10 of theses men (Thomas was not there and Judas was gone) cowering in a locked room together?
- Because they are not filled with the Holy Spirit. It’s quite simple to me. They are not in the Spirit. It’s not until verse 22 when they receive the Holy Spirit from Jesus Himself that we see them act no longer out of fear. Why? Why would having or not having the Spirit matter…because the Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7 that, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
- Therefore, in what Paul is saying to Timothy, when someone is moved with fear, motivated by fear, leaning upon fear as a reason for a specific action or way of life, then they are filled with spiritual weakness, utter selfishness and a warped mind. Do you see why I say that? If Paul said that the opposite of power, love and of a sound mind is fear…then fear is the opposite of those three things…therefore fear, at its root…is weak, self-righteous confusion.
- And so when someone justifies sin with fear…”I was afraid and so I did this…Matt, you don’t understand how afraid I am of losing my situation…losing my money, losing my job…how afraid I am of him or of her...” it takes me right back to the Garden man…”Adam, why are you hiding?” “Because I am afraid,” Adam replied…
- I know in that moment, when someone says that, texts that, tweets that…I know exactly how to pray for that person, how to minister to that person…and unfortunately I’ve found that ministering to folks that are motivated by fear is one of the hardest battle grounds there is…because the center of fear…is pride. Care and comfort and concern for me, myself and I…makes me quite afraid of all kinds of circumstances…and what ifs…
- 365 times in the Bible we are commanded to “fear not.” Why would God devote so much to this topic throughout the Bible? Because I have seen and you have seen some of the absolute worst decisions we ourselves and others have made were made out of, or motivated by fear…and in that, the enemy is served.
- So what’s the remedy? We’ll see in verse 22…The Holy Spirit…the Spirit of power, love and a sound mind! The remedy is following Jesus closely! That will run the fear right out of you! The Spirit of the Lord and spirit of fear cannot co-habitate. “Well I am close to the Lord but I am still riddled with fear.” Well, I’m not so sure…you may know about the Lord, but I would ask you to take a close look at your intimacy with Him.
- What do I mean by that? Look I can sit close to the TV but it doesn’t make me close to newscaster. I can look him right in the eye and reach out to touch him…but I have no personal knowledge of him. No intimacy.
- And many have mistaken knowing about Jesus with knowing Jesus. The plain truth is that the one that is close to Jesus will resemble Him. That’s the mark. That’s the tat man. You can tell me all day how close you are to the Lord…how He is your strength…your Commander…but I will always, and everyone will always read your character. How you treat people, how you serve others, how you handle tough situations, how you handle correction…
- James 3:6 calls the tongue a world of evil and therefore it is not to be trusted…we can’t take people at their word man…we can take God at His for sure…but you cannot get a pulse on someone’s character by what they say…”I’m a disciple of Jesus” but their life doesn’t add up…not sure if we can buy that you see…
- Jesus said, “you are indeed My disciples, if you abide in My word…if you do as I have commanded you…if you live out the precepts and truths found in God’s word…” You cannot fake that…and truly you don’t follow God’s word to be close to Him…you live out God’s word because you already are! And therefore you do not walk in weakness, you walk in power…you do not walk in selfishness, you walk in love…and you do not walk in confusion…being warped and making horrible decisions that lead to continued strife, further decay, you walk in sound mind!
- And I love the scene John describes here for us because the disciples are there and then all of sudden Jesus is right in the middle of them! And notice His first words to them. “Where were all of you when I was hanging on the cross?” “Why are you all sitting around doing nothing?” You see they may have expected a reprimand from the Lord as He stood in their midst, yet He brings with Him peace…
- You might feel that way also. That if the Lord were to come into your life, the secret places of your life…that surely He would bring reprimand…let this scene change your heart and remove your fear…Jesus brings with Him peace…peace is always a mark in a situation, in a family, in a church, in a person…that Jesus is in their midst…and look that peace doesn’t have to be global…it can’t always be enterprise wide…your husband still may be a taz-manian devil spinning around the house in anger and strife…your parents may still be at eachother’s throats…your coworkers may still always have beef…but you don’t have to…
- Some folks in the church may be continually stirring up strife and passing around sin…but when they come to involve you in their sinful discord, you don’t have to share in their sin! You can follow Jesus, stay close to Jesus and in that (and only that) can you minister to them with power, love and a sound mind. This peace is further than circumstantial tranquility…this is an inner peace…and that is what Jesus brings…
- I love this…they may have expected reprimand…Jesus says, “peace!”
- I heard a story this week of a pastor and his wife buying a house. And in this house was a room that had a white carpet. May be a good idea for a DINK (dual income, no kids) but not so much for him and his wife as they had three daughters. One day his wife and he went out and bought a white couch to match the white carpet (this is a true story by the way) and therefore created in their home what they called, “the white room.”
- Quickly the rules were laid down…no eating in this room, no drinking, no playing…this room is for viewing only…but one day, some months later he was in there cleaning and he pulled up one of the cushions to clean under it and there on the underside of the cushion was a huge pink stain! Knowing his wife would eventually find it, he called her in and they examined the blemish together.
- Standing in the white room, they summoned their children. As their three girls were standing there in front of them, he reached towards the couch to flip over the cushion. Just then, their youngest daughter bolted! She headed up the stairs and hid and quickly her father went after her.
- He called her name a few times. She didn’t answer. He began to check the rooms eventually finding her in her closet with her head buried in her knees. She was crying and didn’t want to look up at her father. He knelt down and placed his hand on her back…
- He writes this story and says, “I wonder what she thought my response was going to be. Did she think I would get angry? Did she think I would yell?” They went downstairs together and the little girl told her mom and her father what had happened.
- She let out a secret that she had been keeping for months. She had spilled the fingernail polish and then had tried to clean it up but as she scrubbed and scrubbed, the stain just got worse. She eventually flipped the cushion over to hide what she had done.
- She told them how she had felt sick to her stomach everytime they were in that room…sick with fear that they would find out. And then she looked into her fathers’ eyes and asked a question that broke his heart…with eyes full of tears she asked, “Do you still love me?”
- Maybe that’s where you’re at today. You’ve stained your life so badly, tarnished your true self with sin so deeply that you’re afraid of people knowing. You’re afraid of God knowing…You know after that little girls parents comforted her, reassured her that no stain would ever keep them from loving her…that stain didn’t go away. You know its still there to this day but this little girl, shortly after that, started telling the story of the stained white couch!
- After that she liked to show people the stain and tell them what happened. Why? Because a stain that once represented shame and guilt and fear of rejection…now represents love, grace, security and acceptance. THAT is the essence of what is wrapped up in this moment between Jesus and His disciples…between Jesus and your secrets, your shame, your sin…”Peace with you.”
Chapter 20 Verse 20
- I like to call this…perspective. I have 20/20 vision. Which means I see clearly without glasses…here we have chapter 20 verse 20…and if this is the lens through which we view the world, through which we view eachother, through which we view God and through which we view the mirror…then we will be as these disciples…glad.
- This word glad is “chairo” in the Greek. It is a form of the word “charis” meaning grace and it literally means to be very well…to thrive…oh that we would have 20/20 spiritual vision…that we would look upon the One who was pierced for us…who has paid our debt…and place our everything in Him…
- Just a verse ago…they were filled with fear…now notice, Jesus comes, their perspective is clarified…and their fear turns to gladness. Precisely what the Word of God continues to do today in our lives…
Chapter 20 Verse 21 – 22
- I love this…He comes to them, He calls them to His service and then He enables them…He fills them with the Holy Spirit! And notice how He does this…John tells us that Jesus “breathed on them.” The word in the Greek is “empysao.” Guess how many times that word is used in the Bible…once. Hold that thought…
- Here the disciples…they are born again. Born again? Yes! In Genesis 2:7 we read, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man…came alive…born into a living being!” But then God set man in the Garden of Eden and He said to Adam, of all the fruit of the Garden you shall eat, but of the fruit of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat for in the day you eat of it…you shall surely die.
- And what did Adam do…he ate…and in that day, his spirit…died to sin. The wages of sin are death man and that day, the perfect communion that man had with God, the bond of purity in the Spirit…died just as God warned…
- Now fast forward to Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in John Chapter 3. He said to Nick, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born AGAIN, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nick protested…how can a man be born twice? Jesus answered, “because a man must be born once of water…the physical birth…and once of the Spirit.”
- This is that moment for the disciples man…Just as God breathed life into Adam and Adam became a living being…Jesus breathes life into the disciples and they become ALIVE in the Spirit! Born again unto God…the bond of spiritual communion, reestablished through the price paid upon the cross! Through the Savior Jesus Christ!
- And notice, I believe firmly that the Bible is clear in that if you are set free, then you are free indeed. If you are saved, born again by the Holy Spirit, then you cannot be unborn…your salvation is secure because it is not predicated on your righteousness…but on the righteousness of Jesus which is established forever and ever! And therefore, this word here in the Greek…only once. You don’t see this happening again and again in the lives of the disciples…they are saved here, born again here, the price on the cross paid, here they believe and are glad to receive Jesus…and I believe this sole use of this word is simply a gift from the Lord to set that precept in stone for us. Blessed assurance we might sing…
Chapter 20 Verse 23
- In Mark Chapter 2 we find a scene where Jesus pronounced forgiveness to a paralyzed man and the Pharisees were all up in arms. “Only God has the right to forgive sin,” they said in Mark 2:7. And they were right. Well what then does this verse in John mean?
- It means exactly what is said in several other places in the Bible. That we are His ambassadors man! An ambassador according to Webster is an empowered and approved messenger…a representative or agent of a higher power! That means that it is not we ourselves who provide forgiveness of sins…in and of ourselves we are but dust…no no no we don’t provide forgiveness, man we proclaim it! On behalf of our Leader, or Lord!
- To one who says, “I don’t feel forgiven,” it is our responsibility to say, “according to the Word of God, if you open your heart to Jesus Christ and believe in Him, your sin is gone!” Conversely, to the one who says, “I won’t follow Jesus, I’m into meditation or religion or I’m just going to go my own way,” it is our responsibility to say, “your sin remains because only the blood of Jesus has the power to wash it away!”
- And so no we aren’t little gods man that is blasphemic theology…thou shalt have no other gods before me…the Lord wrote on the tablets…but rather we are God’s little reps upon the earth…and let me tell you, just as many have gotten this wrong and claimed to have the authority to pardon sin, MANY have totally missed that a Christian IS to live as if they are here on temporary assignment, representing Jesus!
- If I took a did a survey today and asked Americans, “Do you believe it’s important to eat right and exercise?” mostly all of them would say, “yes, I believe that.” Americans overwhelmingly say their health is important. But the most popular food at state fairs is a bacon cheeseburger with a bun made out of two Krispy Kreme donuts! You’re charged extra if you want chocolate covered bacon! Which is worth every penny in my opinion. I mean logically speaking, if you’re going to eat a donut bacon cheeseburger, you might as well put some chocolate on your bacon!
- But its just like that I find with folks that wear the badge of Christianity today…they say they believe, they rock the cross tattoo but when it comes down to being a real deal, radical on-the-clock agent for Him, His Word and righteousness…man they’re eating the bacon! Their lives resemble the world…let that not be said of you Christian…represent Christ…encourage people to the Lord, teach them truth by your own life…correct them in their sin, rebuke them in their painful cruelty and anti-christ-like selfishness…lest you be found to be like salt that has no flavor…
- We’re out of time and I know we didn’t get that far in the text this morning but I pray that we have gotten quite far in your desire for intimacy with Jesus…because that is what will enable you to live your life unto the Lord, in power, purpose, stillness and resolve. I pray that as you leave here today, you do so with a renewed sense of who you are in Him and what your life could and should mean…lived out in the wonder of His grace!
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