Valley View Church

John 11:45-57 | No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

June 20, 2023 Valley View Church
John 11:45-57 | No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Valley View Church
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Valley View Church
John 11:45-57 | No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Jun 20, 2023
Valley View Church

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Sunday Morning | June 18, 2023 | John C. Majors | Louisville, Kentucky

Pastor John delivered a powerful sermon on Father's Day, highlighting the theme "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished" based on John 11:45-57. He began by celebrating William Wilberforce, who tirelessly fought against the slave trade in Great Britain, yet was vilified during his time. Pastor John emphasized how people love to criticize those who strive to do good, even fathers who are often portrayed as bumbling idiots in the media. He then turned to the passage from John 11, where Jesus faced various reactions and criticism after raising Lazarus from the dead. Some believed, while others snitched on Jesus with insincere motives. The religious leaders, fearing Roman intervention, gathered in the council and discussed what to do. Caiaphas, the High Priest, ignorantly declared that it was better for one man to die for the people, unknowingly prophesying about Jesus' sacrificial death. Pastor John highlighted the different reactions to Jesus' ministry, including murder plots and hopefulness among the people. He then provided practical advice on giving and receiving criticism, urging empathy, offering solutions or acknowledging one's limitations, praying and pausing, and maintaining a focus on God's purpose. Ultimately, he emphasized the importance of staying bold, fearless, and focused on the mission, just as Jesus did in his ministry.






You can join us on Sunday mornings at 11 AM for worship. We are located at 8911 3rd Street Road, Louisville KY 40272.

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

Sunday Morning | June 18, 2023 | John C. Majors | Louisville, Kentucky

Pastor John delivered a powerful sermon on Father's Day, highlighting the theme "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished" based on John 11:45-57. He began by celebrating William Wilberforce, who tirelessly fought against the slave trade in Great Britain, yet was vilified during his time. Pastor John emphasized how people love to criticize those who strive to do good, even fathers who are often portrayed as bumbling idiots in the media. He then turned to the passage from John 11, where Jesus faced various reactions and criticism after raising Lazarus from the dead. Some believed, while others snitched on Jesus with insincere motives. The religious leaders, fearing Roman intervention, gathered in the council and discussed what to do. Caiaphas, the High Priest, ignorantly declared that it was better for one man to die for the people, unknowingly prophesying about Jesus' sacrificial death. Pastor John highlighted the different reactions to Jesus' ministry, including murder plots and hopefulness among the people. He then provided practical advice on giving and receiving criticism, urging empathy, offering solutions or acknowledging one's limitations, praying and pausing, and maintaining a focus on God's purpose. Ultimately, he emphasized the importance of staying bold, fearless, and focused on the mission, just as Jesus did in his ministry.






You can join us on Sunday mornings at 11 AM for worship. We are located at 8911 3rd Street Road, Louisville KY 40272.

Well, good morning, Valley View. It's great to be with you on Father's Day. And in honor of Father's Day, I want to introduce a friend of mine who's a great father. He came to visit from Alabama today. Kevin, would you mind standing with your family? Just real quick. You all can stand and sit back down. Like I said, he's quite the father. Six kids. So among the fathers here today, he may be preeminent. But the reason I had Kevin stand, Kevin and I met in seminary back in 2005 and Phenix, and he was driving 2 hours to come take courses while he was a pastor on an Indian reservation out in eastern Arizona. And we connected. We became friends. We both have begun to sharpen each other at that time and just continue to grow over the years. And he went from that to become an Air Force chaplain. And if you've been in the military, you know, especially depending on your rank and what you're trying to accomplish, you can move around a lot. And so just keep their family in mind. They're passing through on their way to their new station in Alabama, just left Colorado. And so their family moves a lot. That puts a lot of strain on families. Pray for them and then also pray for him as an Air Force chaplain. Anybody who's in the military has added strain on their life. And I think there's something about trying to serve them through the chaplaincy as well that brings even additional strains. So just keep praying for their family, if you would, please. Thank you. All right. So here we are on Father's Day and we're continuing our study of the Book of John. So if you have a Bible, you want to grab it, turn it open to the book of John. We're going to be in chapter 11. And if you don't have a Bible, we have copies of the Bible for free out in the connection corner. Slip out any time and grab a copy of the page. Numbers on the screen are tied into that specific Bible. And as I was preparing for this message, I was reminded of a movie I saw 15 years ago. Now probably the most moving film I've ever seen. It was called Amazing Grace. Who here has seen that movie? Amazing Grace A Number of You is about the story of the life of William Wilberforce. You may have heard of him and he really was probably the main person behind really the push to eliminate the slave trade in Great Britain in particular in that movie, watching him, watching his commitment, his dedication, the way he sacrificed. I left that theater. I think that's the one time I left a movie and I just was speechless. It seemed like for probably 30 minutes to an hour, I couldn't say anything. We said over a meal and then just stared off into space. I was so moved by that guy's commitment. I sit there thinking, What have you done with your life? You know, where's your passion for things? Just as important, it was both moving and also a bit of awakening and just praying. God help us to have that kind of passion for what's right in this world. And of course, now we can celebrate his life and the sacrifices he made. But I got to tell you, watching the movie, he was often vilified, often criticized at that time. I mean, people just questioned his every motive and he carried around the stress of that At the end of the movie, he was basically dying from ill health from all of that. And that whole movie and this passage today just reminds me of a phrase no good deed will go unpunished. And have you heard that phrase before? No good deed goes unpunished. That was true for Wilberforce. And as we look at John Chapter 11 today, we're going to see that to be the case with Jesus as well. I mean, last week we saw he raised Lazarus. He raised a guy from the dead. Now we're going to see this week no good deed goes unpunished. In fact, we're going to see four responses in this passage. So Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, and we're going to see four key responses that go through here. And then at the end, I'm going to give what I think are some takeaways for us. In light of that, all right. So, John, Chapter 11, we're going to read verse 45 and 46 to start with. Many of the Jews, therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. All right. So first two verses here again, this is coming off last week of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. And we get the first two of four responses right here in these two verses. The very first one, many saw what he did and believed, which is encouraging to hear so much of the response to Jesus that we read as we go is negative. But there were those who saw what he did and believed that that's the whole thrust of the book of John. That's the word that comes up over and over again. John states it as his purpose in chapter 20. I wrote all these things down so that you might believe some solid Jesus did. And they believed. And if you are here, there's a good chance that that has happened in your life as well. You have heard of him, you have seen what he's done, and you believed you're in the same company with those who are here, Even though we would all say we don't perfectly understand who he was, just as they didn't, Our belief isn't always as great as we would like it to be. We still have a lot to understand and learn about who he is. But we believe, we hope in him. We put our trust in him. Now, the challenging part of this passage is the believers get the least amount of tension attention here. In fact, the second group we see, the big contrasting word is. But there's a group who believe. But some of them went to the Pharisees, told them what Jesus had done. And the contrast here is very intentional. In fact, you could almost spell it out. Some believed, but some didn't. I mean, the contrast the stage is set up in this way, some believed, but some went to the Pharisees. In fact, the Pharisees had put the report out, If you know what Jesus is up to, come let us know. We're not happy about him. We want to deal with him. And so a group of them say, we know what's going on. In fact, you've got to wonder if some of them just didn't come there for that very reason. They didn't really maybe care about Mary and Martha or Lazarus for that matter. They just wanted to come and make sure they could keep tabs on what Jesus was doing. That could be the key ones to report. The Gospel didn't really care. So you have those who believe number two, you have those who don't believe or who are caught up in unbelief. And it's really important for us to just dwell here for a second and recognize that there will be those who do not believe in Christ. Now, we need to do all we can to reach those who don't know Christ. We need to proclaim the gospel. We need to love on them. We need to pray for them. We need to minister to them. And yet also recognize that I'm not the Holy Spirit, pray, pursue, evangelize, reach. But unless the Holy Spirit moves in their lives, that who is ultimately will bring them to faith. I remember when I really caught fire for the Lord in college, a friend of mine, I assumed the same would happen for this friend and it didn't. In fact, as we talked, I realized this person probably doesn't even believe in Christ. And so immediately that's my mission in life. That's my sole purpose now, is to save this person. And I became very aggressive presenting the gospel over and over again and really probably push this person further away out of my aggressiveness. And really partly that was because it was more about me. Let me show you how I can save someone. Let me show you how great I can be at telling others about Jesus. And it wasn't really about them, but we got to pause and take a step back and live with the difficult tension in reality that some won't believe. I don't know why that is. It's a sad reality, but it's true. We see that here in this second group. The second response to Jesus is amazing miracle. But then it goes on from there. Let's look at verse 47 and 48, the Pharisees get this information. What are they going to do with it? Look at verse 47. So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the counsel and said, What are we to do for this? Man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation. So they get the report of what Jesus has done and their response is that a couple of different layers here. First, to take note just that it says the Pharisees gathered the counsel. That word counsel there mean is the word Sanhedrin. You may have heard of the Sanhedrin Council, which was the official ruling group over the Jewish nation at the time. They were, of course, under the rule and authority of the Romans. So maybe kind of like a city government is under a state government, but as long as they cared for the people, they were supposed to be over and didn't let anything get out of hand and the Romans allowed them to continue to be in control. It was made up of about 70 different people, a mix of Pharisees, a mix of the Sadducees. Those were the two main religious political parties that there wouldn't be political parties like we think of them, because they were also very involved in religious laws. But kind of if you mix the church leadership and the political parties together, you had Pharisee Sadducees, but then you'd also have landowners, you'd have maybe some of the royalty, some of the gentry, but all make up this council of 70 rulers, and it's kind of an impromptu meeting. They gather everyone together and they ask this first question. If you look back in verse 47, what are we to do? That phrase could be translated in a couple of different ways. In the original language. In fact, if you have an IV, it says something more like, What are we accomplishing? Which leads you to think that they're asking With all the efforts we've put forth to stop him already, what have we accomplished? It's not been of any use. We've we've done nothing yet to bring about what we hope to bring about, which is getting rid of this guy. That's that's one way to take it. Another way is another way that could be translated. What are we to do now? What are we going to do now, now that all of this has come about? What steps are we going to take? How are we going to react? Because we have two main concerns. So look back at verse 46. He highlights they highlight two main concerns in the midst of this. First, it says the Romans will come and take away. Now, when I when I saw that phrase, I was reminded of the Spartans. That's a famous phrase, especially if you're into some of you're into firearms as well, that there's been a line of firearms that come out with that name when they're in particular, come and take. It was a phrase at the Battle of Thermopylae way back in 300 B.C., 400 B.C., where the Persians were coming to conquer Greece. And the Spartans said, No, you're not coming. And they so they said to him, Lay down your arms. And they simply said back this phrase in writing, Come and take them. Come and take fight. If you want my arms, you better come and get them. That's not what's happening here, by the way. Come and take The Romans are already there. They're already in control. They allow the Jews to think that they have some autonomy. They allow the Jews to think that they have their own freedoms. And that's not what's happening here. In fact, they're recognizing that they're here. But if we allow Jesus to go on like this, there's something else that might happen. They'll come and take. And it says specifically, they'll take away our place and nation. That phrase the last time that showed up in Jewish literature and had been in a book of the extended writings of Scripture that I've mentioned a few times called First Maccabees, it shows up in a Catholic Bible. It's kind of the period in between the Old and New Testament. And in that time, one of the Maccabees rose up, became kind of a messiah like figure, and they pushed out the other armies that were in their land at the time they came. But then they came back and they took their place and they took their people, meaning they conquered them again and they destroyed everything, flattened the temple. They're gone. We don't want that to happen again. Now is the time to act. And there comes a point in a crisis where you realize it's now or never. If if we don't move now, everything's at stake. I just finished rereading Killer Angels. Have you have you read that book? It's about the Civil War, about the Battle of Gettysburg. It's kind of a fictionalization of it, but with a historically accurate. It's a it's a great read. I got it at the library if you want to find it there. But there comes a moment in the Battle of Gettysburg, where one of the armies in particular during the Civil War, they realize it's now or never. If we don't move now, everything is at stake. If we don't take action, it's. It's over. And this is where they are. They see the the gravity of the situation. Jesus says, raise someone from the dead. It's not going to get any worse than this from their perspective. We've got to take action. The hard part of this is they express concern about their people. But you got to look at this and go, did you really care? Do they really care about the place and the nation? Were they really concerned about the people or were they mostly concerned about their own power, about their own prestige, about their own control? If we don't take action, we'll lose power. If we don't take action, they'll follow him, not us. And it's an important thing, especially if you find yourself opposed to someone else to check your motives at times. I mean, in this situation, the most powerful thing the Sanhedrin could have done in this moment to save their people is to point them to Christ and and they're doing the opposite. We've got to shield them from Christ and whatever culture, in whatever situation people face the most important thing we can do for them is to point them to Christ. Every challenge the Sanhedrin faced, every challenge the Jewish nation faced, every challenge we face will be solved in knowing Christ. Every single one. Yes, political solutions, government solutions can help with a lot of stuff. I'm not saying those are important, but you can do that all day long. And if you don't get to the heart of the issue of knowing Christ being found in Him, having hope and peace and love and joy in him having eternal life in him, that's where all the solutions will be found. And so they missed it here. In fact, this council, you know what they should have been doing when they met, they should have been meeting to go. Why is it that we're under Roman rule when we look at the history of our nation, when we fell under foreign rule, that meant we had wandered away from God. How have we wandered away from him? How do we get back to him in this moment? That should have been the conversation they were having. But no, it was how do we keep power now in the midst of that? One man does speak up and he was in charge of the council. Look at verse 49. But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, you know, nothing at all, nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people. Not that the whole nation should perish. He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So here we have one boy. Speak up. He was in charge of the council. He was the high priest for that year and actually he was a high priest for about 18 years during the whole reign of pilot as well. We'll get to him. But he was the one in charge at the time. And he speaks up and he makes a really interesting statement. First, he starts by offending everyone. By the way, this the translation here is not nearly strong enough. You know, nothing at all. Nor do you understand. He's like, you don't know nothing nor do you have any intellect. His one way to even get to the translation. It's almost like he's saying you're dumb and you're dumber. I mean, he he doesn't. He didn't read How to Win friends and influence people at that point in his life. Josephus, Jewish historian at the time, said the sadnesses were known for being incredibly rude even to their own people. Now, Josephus was a Pharisee, so he might have been a little biased, saying that about a sad you see. But he doesn't mince words here. You have no idea what you're talking about. He says it would be far better for someone else to die than for our whole nation to suffer. Now he's assuming that Jesus is going to try to raise up like a messiah, going to try to bring political deliverance, which would mean that their nation was crushed. He doesn't really understand what Jesus is about, but he is drawing on Old Testament history here in terms of what he recommends. There was a story back in Second Samuel 20, where a guy named Sheba had raised up against David and of course Davidson's Joab since army out to crush him and he starts fleeing and he goes from one city to another trying to find refuge. He ends up in a city called Abel. He's hiding in the city. Joab and his whole army surrounds the city. They're going to see it. But one old lady in the city kind of comes out and she goes, Hey, Joab, what's going on here? What are you up to? How can I help? And Joab says, Look, I'm after one guy and he's had been there. She says, What's his name? Tell me. I'm adding some color here to how the conversation went. So what's his name? Sheba. Okay, let me go find him. She goes back in, finds this guy. I only imagine how that conversation went. Anybody seen Sheba? Where is he? Finds him? They cut off his head and toss it over the wall to him. You know, Joab holds up ID cards, get some matched up. We're good to go. They're out of there. It's way better. She recognize us. We're not all going to die on your behalf. This one guy give up this one guy, and we're all good to go. There's a precedent for that. We don't all need to be slaughtered because of one guy. Now, part of you reads this and you go, Yes, we know what he's really talking about. We know he's really talking about Jesus down on behalf of our sins. And you wonder, was was Caiaphas maybe kind of a Christian and didn't realize it? Was he one who is believed starting to believe in Jesus? But that's why John added this commentary here in verse 51. He did not say this of his own accord. He didn't say this because he believed in Jesus. He didn't even realize what he was fully saying. He didn't realize that he was repeating some prophecies that had already been said at this point back in chapter one, Behold the LAMB of God who takes away the sin of the world. John the Baptist had already said, This one has come to die on behalf of those who need salvation. Behold, the LAMB of God has taken away the sins. Well, Jesus has already said I have come to gather my flock who are spread abroad. My sheep will know my name and they will come to me in chapter ten. We've already looked at that. These things have been prophesied at a greater level than Caiaphas was seeing it. So this is the conversation. This is what he says to him. How does everyone react to this? Look at verse 53. So from that day on, they made plans to put him to death. In fact, that word plans can be resolved. Their response to this was, in fact, the third response will put on screen. We have believe unbelief. No good deed goes unpunished. Murder. Murder? Yeah. This guy raises someone from the dead. We got to get rid of him to the point of murder. From that day forward, their resolve was to get rid of. Now, how does Jesus respond to this? Okay, I don't know about you, but if someone says, hey, a whole bunch of us have determined we're going do everything we can to get rid of you, I'm going to have some different a variety of different reactions and responses to that. Personally, how does Jesus respond? Look at verse 54. Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but he went from there to the region near the wilderness to a town called Ephraim. And there he stayed with the disciples. You know, we see this pattern all throughout the book of John of Jesus, ministering publicly, withdrawing privately, ministering publicly, withdrawing privately. We see that again here. He knows they're after him. He doesn't stop doing ministry, though, but he pulls away again. And the key thing to take note from this that we've seen over and over again with Jesus, he's the one in charge of the timeline. He's the one that will determine when things happen. He doesn't leave that in the hands of someone else and he draws away. Yes. But it's not to give up on ministry. It's not out of fear. It's to invest in another place for a season, in fact, to come back as things pick up speed rapidly at this point, because this verse and verse 54 no longer walked openly, That is a key phrase. That is a key turning point in the whole book of John. We've been building and building and building and man and these next the rest of the chapters, in fact, they cover just a couple of weeks. I mean, we've looked at his whole life up to this point and the time frame slows down, everything slows down, but everything picks up speed towards his death. And he knows that. But he's the one that stays in control of the timeline. So he draws away. And here we'll get to this last group who responded to his miracle, to his good deed. Look at verse 55. Now, the Passover of the Jews was at hand and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. They were looking for Jesus. They were saying to one another as they stood in the temple. What do you think? You think you will come to the feast at all? Now the chief priests and Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should let them know so that they might arrest him. So the Passover was at hand. This is the third Passover we see in the book of John, and it says some had come to purify themselves beforehand. There were different purification rights. If you were unclean, maybe you had handled a dead body or various things you could do to become unclean, which would not allow you to participate in the festival, you had to come something like six days early to prepare for that, to make sure you were ready had gone through all the steps. And so here we have a group have come and I think a word there's we can't know all their motives about why they were asking about Jesus. But I think I hear in here a hint of hope. I mean, there's fourth group, even though we have believers, unbelievers, those who want to murder him, I think here we have a group, a fourth group that says they're hopeful. Will he show up again? He's been here time and again. He's shown up and taught in the temple time and again. Could we see him? Could he come? Might we'd hear more. And maybe in the midst of that, there were those who didn't believe those who also wanted him murdered. But then that I think there's a bit of expectation and hopefulness. So we have those who believe, those who don't believe, those who want to murder him, those are who are hopeful. And as I look at these, I thought about our opening question. No good deed goes unpunished. Our opening situation. And I think probably for us, one takeaway is just to think about how we receive criticism. When you try to do something that you think is good for others and people are going to criticize you, it happens. How do you respond to that? We see how Jesus responds here. What does that mean for us? How do we respond? I'm going to spend the rest of the message here and just run quickly through two lists. One is, first, how do you give criticism? So there's two sides of criticism. There is the giving of criticism and then there's the receiving. Well, we'll talk first about how do you give criticism. So three ways, three things to be aware of as you give criticism. First, start by trying on their shoes. Let's start there before you give criticism to someone, just try to imagine what it would be like to be in their place. I remember I had a boss, one decision he made and a group of leaders made. I was very critical of to a whole lot of people. I thought that was not well done. But somewhere along the line, for whatever reason, maybe the Lord prompted me. I just thought, you know, okay, John, what would you have done? You seem to have it all figured out. You seem to know what's best. If you were in their shoes, what would you have done? And to be honest, I didn't know what I would have done. I took a step back and I thought, I don't know if I would have handled it any better than them, honestly. Now there are times where I've seen situations and I thought, This is what I've done and I think it would have been better. But it helps to just pause, put yourself in their shoes, Try to imagine what is it like to try to make that same decision? So that's number one. Try on their shoes. Number two, offer solutions, offer help. If you see something that you think isn't right and you're offering criticism also, if you can come with some solutions and maybe even some help. Hey, I saw you did this. I think it can be done this way and I'm willing to help. I had someone approached me recently. I asked their permission to share this and they just said, Look, I got a problem and I don't have any solutions. I'm just going to say that on the front end and I said, Well, I appreciate hearing that. And the tone was, let's see if we can come up with some solutions together. And by the end of the conversations we had come up when all solved, but we had come up with a few things to help address that. And this person said, you know what, maybe we don't have it solved, but I feel better about it. And I said, That's all I care about, actually, in this moment. Thank you very much. You know, it was a real good conversation. Come with solutions, offer help. Come with a tone of conciliatory. How do we work through this together? And then number three, just pause and pray for a moment before you dive in. And this is helpful in a lot of levels in life, right? Just pause and pray. And I remember reading that Abraham Lincoln, if he had a really hard message to deliver, he would write the letter, but put it in it. He had one drawer in his desk, specifically designated for that. He'd put it in the drawer and let it sit and just think about it. Do I really want to say it this way? Let me give it a day or two or an hour even, or whatever time I have just pause and pray. And sometimes he didn't move forward with it. Sometimes he did. But there were a lot of times he would save the save the pain of making a mistake of in fact, there's a famous story of a Harry Truman. He was president and his daughter was an opera singer. And someone had written this scathing rebuke of her in a in an editorial. He read it and he was known for being hotheaded. He wrote a letter, wrote a response, and tossed it in the mail like right away. And of course, it was awful. He just tore them apart in the letter and he wished she could have got that one back. It went out a little, little too fast, pause and pray. So that's how to give criticism. How do you receive criticism? What do you do when others criticize you? And I've taken some of this list in particular from a book by Bob Russell. I just just read. He reflected on his he's a pastor, was the pastor at Southeast Christian. He reflected on his 50 years of ministry. And he said, here are some things I do different here, some things I do the same. One of the ones he talked about is how to handle criticism. So he had six key points. Number one, remember, it's going to happen. Don't be shocked if you do anything, if you take any stand of any type, unless you just play it safe everywhere, but then you'll be criticized for that, too. If you live your life, you're going to be criticized. It's going to happen. In fact, I heard a guy once say, if I want to be president of the United States, all I need is half the country to hate me. That's one way to look at it. It's almost inevitable that people are going to criticize you. Number two, consider the source. If it's a trusted friend who's bringing something of criticism, a point of criticism, it's worth really heavily weighing. And it But if someone is just trying to hurt you, Bob Russell even said, I don't give it a second of thought. I just move on. Number three, evaluate the issue. All right. Look, be willing to pause and take a step back and go. Maybe there is something here. Maybe I need to look at it. I might need to bounce it off some other people, some trusted friends I might need to pray about it might need to spend some time thinking about it, but be willing to evaluate the issue. Number four, Allow God to work in you through that situation, through the criticism. And here's what I mean. Here's what he meant by that. He gave this quote from Oswald Sanders, who wrote a book called Spiritual Leadership, and I'd throw it up on the screen. It's such a good quote. Maturity is moving from thin skin and a hard heart to thick skin and a soft heart. I thought that was such a good quote. You know, when you're immature, every little criticism, someone gives you just unravels you. You can't take it. It's thin skin and you don't want to hear it. Your heart is hard toward it. But as you mature and grow, I can take it. It can come and I can learn from it. I can grow. My heart is open. I become more teachable. I want to hear what others have to say in a way that will help make us all better and stronger. And then number five, keep focused on your purpose. In the midst of the criticism, keep focused on your purpose. Don't lose sight of the greater goal. He cited the story of Nehemiah, who's building the wall with all these people, and he has a couple of naysayers come and they want to talk to him. We just want to meet and talk with you for a minute. And he looks down from the wall and says, I can't. We're too busy doing this really important work. I don't have time for you. He stayed focused on the goal in the midst of it. And then last number six become more bold. There is a tendency when people criticize you to just turn inward. Well, I guess I shouldn't say anything. Well, I guess I should play it safe, he says. Become more bold. And in fact, that's what Jesus does, right? He doesn't say, Oh, they want to kill me. Let's shut this thing down. No, I've got a greater purpose. I got to become more bold to boldly proclaim the word of God. In fact, our theme for this year's fear, Free and Fearless, he saw that on the wall out there. As you're coming in, it's something we're talking about as a church. All year long. How do we walk in freedom of sin and how do we become more fearless to proclaim the Gospel, to boldly proclaim the gospel to others? One of the things we're doing as a church is reading through this book Living Fearless, and we still have lots of copies out of it. If you want one, it's on your own pace. It's just there for you to read and be encouraged by. But I'll tell you, there's a story in here that sums up this whole concept. Here's a guy who's a muslim and a group of Christians witness to him. He comes to know Christ and he says his first reaction is, I got to tell my whole family this and my family, he meant extended family, more like tribe. So he goes to his uncle, who's kind of the tribe leader. And I really want to share with my entire Muslim extended family what Jesus has done for me. Will you gather everyone? Are you sure you want to do this? Because if you do this, more than likely someone will want to kill you. Yes. This is so important to me. I've got to do this. So he gathers everyone. 400 people come to hear him talk about how Jesus, 400 Muslims come to hear him talk about how Jesus has worked in his life. So he shares with everyone He leaves three days later, three of his cousins find him, drag him out into the desert. They shoot him between the legs, hoping to cause lots of damage. Shame him, castrate him. They leave him for dead. A couple of shepherds find him. They take him to the doctor. They're able to save his life. But the doctor says you'll never have children. Forget Father's Day, never have children. You'll never walk again. You're lucky to be alive. But he recovers from both. He. He's able to walk again. Fathers, children. And after he recovers, he goes back to his uncle. I don't think they heard me right. Will you gather them again? What are you talking about? You know, those same guys are going to be there. His Christian friends says you're crazy. Don't do this. Gather them again. 400 people come back in. His very cousins are on the front row. I forgive you. You obviously didn't understand me. I misspoke. Somehow what I said didn't come across clearly about what Jesus has done in my life. Let me share again. Two days later, here come the cousins again, dragging him back out to the same desert. This time a knife gun didn't work. Let's stab him to death. Dump him in a ravine He's bleeding out. A group of Muslim soldiers find him some of the military on exercise. They find him, they take him, they get him healed up. But then they ask him, How did this happen? Who did this? Oh, it's my own family. What do you mean? Why? I told him about Jesus. Who's Jesus? Why would he cause that kind of reaction? He tells them about Jesus. They're so moved about his courage, about his boldness, about his faith. They go and arrest those family members. And I read this guy's story, you know, right away. Do I have that kind of boldness when I do that, when I have gone the first time, I'd like to think that I would, but also probably know I probably wouldn't have. Definitely not the second time. Free and fearless continue to speak the word of the Lord without fear in the midst of criticism. Keep getting bold, stay bold, speak the truth and love, but keep proclaiming truth. We're in a world that doesn't want to hear truth at all. Keep proclaiming the truth of the gospel. Let's pray God thank you that you will not fail us. You have not failed us. Help us. In the midst of criticism, in the midst of a world that says we don't want to hear about Jesus, we don't want to know about Him. Help us to continue to proclaim the truth of the Gospel boldly help us to walk in faithfulness to who you are, to lean on you for that strength, to not try to do it in our own strength, to not make it about us, but about you got an upgrade today. Everyone here who doesn't know you, they would come to find hope and significance and meaning and purpose and life everlasting and life abundantly. They would find that anew today. Jesus, we love you. We pray all this in your name. Amen.