Sunday Morning | October 15, 2023 | John C. Majors | Louisville, KY
The sermon titled "Going Full Prepper" outlines seven essential ways to prepare for tragedy. These include keeping God's Word out of love, learning from the Holy Spirit (referencing I John 2:27 and I Timothy 2:7), pursuing genuine peace, rejoicing in Christ's plan, having faith in advance, following Jesus's example of submission, and always remembering that the enemy has no hold on you, as mentioned in Romans 8:1-2. These principles aim to help individuals strengthen their spiritual preparedness for life's challenges.
At Valley View Church we are currently studying through the entire gospel of John, verse by verse. You can join us on Sunday mornings at 11 AM for worship. We are located at 8911 3rd Street Road, Louisville KY 40272.
Amen. Well, it's good to be with you this morning. I've been looking forward to this day for a number of weeks now. At least I thought I was looking forward to it until every single person I talked to asked me how I was going to handle this hot chili that was coming up. I thought you had forgotten about that. But you keep reminding me. In fact, I got this very offensive email this morning, by the way. Go ahead and throw up this image. Some guy taunting with his pot of chili. In fact, there's a label on it. Here's what it says. Disclaimer Not legal in the state of California, but what is right? Nothings legal there. May cause rocket Man syndrome. I don't know what that is. I don't want to know. But then on the e-mail, he said, I'm praying for you, bro. That doesn't feel very sincere to me. All right. I'm hoping that the rest of you are praying for me instead, although I feel like maybe you probably aren't. I volunteered to taste the hot chili Today. We have our first festival and fall chili cook off after the service. And I'm excited about the time we get to connect together. That's just an important part of building community, building relationships, increasing the network, the connection between one another, and the stronger we are relationally, the more depth that gives us to pour out into others around us. And so that's what we're moving toward in everything we do. And as we go into today's passage, we're continuing through the book of John. We're in John chapter 14. We're going to wrap up that chapter today. And I thought back to that one friend everybody had. You had that friend's house that you just love to go over to. Okay. Maybe their family seemed a little cooler than yours, or maybe they had more fun stuff to play with for me, one of my neighbors, the reason why I love to sneak over to his house is because they had snacks laying everywhere in their house. Right. And I don't know about you. I was reflecting on this with my brothers. I asked him, Am I the only one? I was always constantly, forever starving throughout all my teen years. I could never get enough to eat. And they're like, Yep, that was me. And they went to list out all the different ways they found food, snuck it out, ate off everyone else's plate at lunch. Was anybody else feel that way during your teen years? I was just always starving, so any time I had a chance to go his house, I'm going to get a few of those snacks laying around. I later learned that his mom wasn't leaving those out for me, right? In fact, she started to hide them from me. Don't worry, I found them even in the oven. I found them. Maybe that's why she didn't like me so much. I don't know. But what I loved about going to his house, that was nice. He had just an awesome set up in the basement pool table, ping pong table, and we would play down there and have these just all out knock down drag out wars on the ping pong table. We'd have so much fun. And I remember this one time he he spikes the ball at me. It bounces off into the far recesses of the basement. So I've got to go tracking down this ball. And I come into this back corner room, part of this dark part of the basement I've never been in. And there's a curtain hang in there. The ball had rolled up under it. And so I pull back the curtain and there's this wall of canned goods, like the entire wall covered. And then I look over to the next wall and there's a curtain there. Pull it back. Can goods - the entire wall, okay? Every wall I turn to was covered floor to ceiling in canned goods. And they all look like they've been there like since the sixties. Not that I'm an expert on canned good label dating, but it just looked really old and faded. So I was like, Dude, what's the deal with all of the canned goods? This is weird. I've never seen this. So we're just my parents wanna be ready for something. Like, for what? A green being convention or what are you trying to get ready for? They know if there's a natural disaster or something like that. They'll be ready. We won't. We won’t have to scramble and find things, you know, they were the original preppers, I guess, is the word you would say. They were. They were all out getting ready for whatever, I don't know, had been 20 years and had nothing had come, by the way, that never would have worked at our house. We would have found that food. We would have eliminated it. The disaster would have come and nothing would have been there. My parents would have been very confused and frustrated. The point being, they were preparing in advance for a tragedy to come. They were getting ready in advance for what they didn't know what. But we want to be ready for what comes anticipating in advance. We're going to see some of that not on the food side, but on the spiritual side in this passage today. And this is an important counter balance to what we've already talked about in Luke chapter. I'm sorry, John. Chapter 11, when Lazarus died, we saw there. What do you do after tragedy? How do you move forward after tragedy has occurred? How do you move forward after the loss of a loved one, after something unexpected? But today we want to look at the other side of the corn.... Coin. How do you not just respond to bad things that happen, but how do you get ready? Prepare for those in advance, because really, that's a better way to live. We can't know everything that's going to come at us. But if you're only in reactionary mode in life, that's a that's a bad place to be. We want to be proactive, anticipating, getting ready, preparing ourselves as much as we can. Again, can't know everything that will come. But I think what we're going to see in today's passage and John, chapter 14, and we're covering the end of the chapter versus 22 through 31, that's on page 847 in a church Bible. If you need a Bible, we have those free in the connection corner. Those specific Bibles are tied to the page numbers on the screen. But what we're going to see in this passage today, I think as I look through this passage, I saw seven ways to prepare in advance for tragedy, to go full prepper now, to be ready for what may come so that when it comes, you're ready. So let's look at John chapter 14, and let's just start with verse 22, John 1422 Judas, not Iscariot, said to him, Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us and not to the world? So if you weren't here last week, a little bit of context. Just before this, Jesus had said, I'm going to show myself to the world. I'm going to reveal myself to you. And before this, prior to that, there's been a series of questions from the disciples. So we had Peter, we had Philip, we had Thomas, each of them asking a question, Where are you going, Lord? How will we follow you? How will we know the way? How do we see the Father? And the disciples are clearly confused. They're trying to figure out what's going to happen. And so here we have Judas asking a follow up question as well. How will you manifest yourself to us but not to the world? There were a couple of things to note about this question. First, notice the disclaimer here on his name Judas, not Iscariot. It's really interesting how a name can be retired in an instant, right? You know, if you named your baby Judas in 32 A.D., that was okay, That's cool. No problems. But if you did it in 34 A.D., you better start socking money away for family therapy in the coming years. That's not a good move. If you named your baby in 1936, Hitler, no big deal. Who cares? Not that common of a name. If you did it in 1946, you're a psychopath, right? That name is retired. We don't use it anymore. And so for Judas all the rest of his life. Oh, Judas. And you knew Jesus? Not that Judas, okay? Not Iscariot.. It's the other one. Yeah, I know they sound the same haha. I get it. Not Iscariot. The interesting part of that is application for us. Things are going to happen outside of your control. Neither Judas pick their name and then the good Judas didn't pick for someone else named Judas to become the most notorious notorious betrayer of all time. Things are going to happen to you outside of your control. And what's interesting is here we have two people named Judas, and they go two completely different paths. But all you can control is how you respond to whatever comes at you. Now, in this moment, Judas asks the question, How is it that you're going to reveal yourself to us and not to the world? Why is he asking that question that way? Why is he confused in that moment? What is he trying to understand? Well, Judas is asking something that goes to the core of how people viewed the Messiah at that time. Jesus is clearly all throughout. We pointed out he's clearly claiming to be Messiah. And the common understanding that time of the Messiah is that he would come in power and he would come and remove the oppressive rulers and reestablish a righteous rulership, a righteous throne under God, under God's reign, which would be a very public event. And so Judas is asking him, how come? How is it you could reveal yourself just to us, your core followers, but not to the rest of the world, because the rest of the world would see that there's no you're not a sneaky messiah, that's not a messiah, in their understanding. And so let's look at how Jesus responds to him, because Fair question, by the way. Let's look at how Jesus responds. Look at the next couple of verses. Verse 23, Jesus answered him, If anyone loves me, he will keep my word and my father will love him. We will come to him, make our home within him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine. But the father’s who sent me. If you're Judas, I think in this moment your first response to this is Who do you think I am here? Luke Skywalker. Yoda. Like I asked a clear question, and this is more of a riddle, more of an obscure response. I don't I don't know what to do with this in this moment. Are you clearly coming as the clear Messiah or not? This highlights something though. That's a dynamic. Before we get into what Jesus meant by this, this highlights a dynamic, a dynamic of our own lives, Right? There's there's plenty of things in life that are veiled when you first encounter them, that are later revealed to you that you don't see clearly, but maybe someone else does see clearly. If you've ever started to learn about a new sport, you've experienced this. When we lived in Fiji, we served there as missionaries for six months and the sport that's huge there is rugby and which you know, who cares here, right? Very few people do. I've met a couple of you, but very few. And so it's brand new to us. But imagine if we took all the professional sports in the US, combine them all together, made them one, and everybody had all their attention on that one sport. That's how it is there. People are nuts about rugby. Little old ladies are out in the street throwing a rugby ball to each other. Even though rugby is kind of like football in terms of its violence without pads, by the way, the tackling, the crashing, but it has more of the soccer element of it ongoing. I know neither of these words mean any sense to anyone here, right. But in terms of it's more ongoing, it continues play. In fact, here's a photo of one of the rugby games with the Fijians there. So they have touchdowns. Stay with me. I'm getting through it. I know you're like, please stop talking about these foreign sports. Who cares? Especially after yesterday, none of our teams did well yesterday, but that's okay. We're going to get through it. But the point being, they had touchdowns. You did have to try to score a touchdown. And I'm watching a game with some of these guys and the Fijian has the rugby ball and he's running towards the end zone, if that's what they call it. I don't even know. He crosses the line into the end zone and I jump up CHEERING Yes, we scored. All the rest of them are going, No! No! They're doing the complete opposite. They're in agony. What's the deal? He crossed the end zone. He got into the end zone. No, no, no. In rugby, you've got to actually take the ball and touch it to the ground for it to count as a touchdown. And so I don't understand that we're seeing the same game, but we're seeing it completely differently and I think each of us can say there have been seasons of life where there were spiritual realities veiled to you. Now, sometimes those get revealed in an instant, right? There are times we're in a moment, things that were veiled become clear. Maybe that's when you first came to know Christ. Maybe at some later understanding. But there's a whole bunch of our spiritual lives that is the slow, steady, plodding of day after day of following Christ, of obeying Him, of loving him. In fact, that, I think, is our first principle and how we prepare in advance for what is to come. How do we go full prep or get ready for what tragedy will come? In fact, what we saw here in this verse, what Jesus says to them, If you really want to see me, if you really want to know me, look back at verse 25 at what he says, If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. And so that's our first of seven ways that we prepare in advance for what may come look on the screen, keep his word from a place of love. That's the first one. Keep his word from a place of love. If you want to really know me, if you really want to see me revealed in your life. In fact, he says, If you want us to come and make a home with you, follow me. Keep my word. Love me, love others. Day after day, the long, slow, plodding process of following him. And he will more and more reveal himself to you over time. It's not a quick fix if you have to live your spiritual life by demanding quick fixes. It's a hard way to go, but go back to the basics. We love him. We trust him, and we watch him reveal himself over time. So that's the first one. Second look at the next group of verses. Jesus responded to Judas, but now he seems to maybe turn his attention to the whole group and continue to teach. Look at verse 25, these things I have spoken to you while I am still with you, but the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to remembrance all that I have said to you. The second way we prepare in advance for tragedy. We prepare in advance for what may come is we learn from the Holy Spirit. Lean on to the Holy Spirit. Learn from Him. We've already seen the phrase the Holy Spirit or the Word, the Holy Spirit. We've seen the word helper. We looked at that last week. We looked at all the different occurrences in the book of John, and we talked about how that word is translated a lot of different ways. What's interesting is that word behind that word, it's the Greek word paraclete, and that's broken into two parts. You have para kletos. Kletos means chosen. That's not as common of an English word, but para. You know that word? You might hear it like in para church or paramilitary. Maybe that refers to a group that isn't the church or isn't the military, but comes alongside the church or the military to help them. In fact, when we put para kletos together, it's one who is called out to come alongside to provide strength, to provide encouragement, to provide help, to provide insight, to be there with you along the way. A lot of that points to what the Holy Spirit does, and in particular here in this passage, two things are pointed out. Number one, he will teach you all things. And number two, he will bring to remembrance all that I have said to you. Now, what's important about that is there's often been misunderstandings about this verse.Combine this with 1 John 2:
27 we'll put the reference up on the screen. You can look it up later that says you have no need, that anyone should teach you anything. Some have taken the combination of those two verses to mean well, really, then the purest form of spiritual growth, the purest form of Bible study is just me and Jesus all alone. No one else, no other input they call seminary cemetery. Right? That's the place where people go to die. Try to learn things that kills your spiritual life. But I don't think that's what's going on here. In fact, kind of the common understanding of what this passage is pointing at is what he's trying to say specifically to the disciples. And it goes into the theme we've seen all along, Guys, I'm about to leave. It's going to be okay. You won't understand it all. And when I'm gone, by the way, the Holy Spirit is going to come and help make sense. He's going to help you remember so that you can write it down for future generations. This can't mean no, no, no, just me and the Holy Spirit. I don't need any other input. It can't mean that partly because we have the New Testament. Paul writes to churches to say, Learn from me. He even says that follow my example as I follow Christ. I've written these things down for help. You understand? 2 Timothy- 1 Timothy 2:7, Study the Scriptures and the Lord will help give you understanding. So all throughout the Scripture, the emphasis is study. Lean on others, learn from others. And look, I can look around this room and look at person after person after person who I'm standing on the shoulders of, who's invested in me, who sat with me and helped me memorize the scripture as a kid, or who led me in a choir song, or who just taught from the stage and poured in to my life. I'm standing on the shoulders of so many, and you are too. There is no spiritual growth in isolation. We've got to lean heavily on one another, but it starts by leaning on the Holy Spirit, because if you're not hearing from Him, you're not even going to be aware that people are talking about something of significance. So that's number two, lean on the Holy Spirit, learn from the Holy Spirit. How do we get prepared for what may come? Number two now, let's keep reading. Let's look at the next verse, verse 27, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give it to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. Peace, peace I leave for you. Peace I leave with you. The third way we prepare in advance for what may come is to pursue true peace. Pursue true peace. And Jesus makes it clear here there are different kinds of peace. There's a false peace that the world talks about. That's not a true lasting, abiding, enduring peace. I remember the story of John and Charles Wesley. In fact, if you've come to our Wednesday night supper, anybody make it to Wednesday night supper this last week, our first one. And we started back. In fact, here's a photo of the group there we have the kitchen workers in the top left corner. We have the whole group below that. And I thought it was fitting that the first people in line were the people the hall is named after. The Peercy's were the first in the Peercy Hall for our first meal. It was so great. Yeah, well, what we're doing there on Wednesday nights, we're trying something a little different. After the meal, I lead an open Bible study, like kind of our Wednesday night service, and we kick it off with a hymn each week and we do a little teaching about the background of the hymn. And two of the most well-known hymn writers of our age were John and Charles Wesley Brothers. John Wesley ended up being the founder of the Methodist Church. There's a fascinating story about him encountering true peace for the first time, even though he was already well-established as a well-known teacher and hymn writer. He is traveling to the U.S. He's going to be a missionary in the US. This is early 1700s. He's the chaplain on the boat that is sailing here. That's how spiritual he is. Storm hits and he is utterly distraught. He knows this is the end and completely unraveled by the storm. And in the midst of this storm raging in the midst of people shouting out in agony, he hears off in the distance singing, singing praises to God over the clatter of all the noise of the ship. He hears this singing. He goes, Who is that? Who is singing in this in the midst of this turmoil? And so he goes to the recesses of the boat. He finds these families who had come from the Czech Republic. They are called the Moravians, and they were also coming to be missionaries. And he said to them, Where do you find that kind of peace? How can you display that kind of peace in the midst of this chaos? Whatever you have, I want, because I don't have it. He knew there's a true peace, in fact, that began the journey of him, what he would say really coming to know the Lord, true, abiding, eternal peace. Let me tell you, this is especially important for us in our age, because there is a lot of turmoil on every channel, on every website, on every page of a newspaper, if you still get those. There is turmoil everywhere. And if your peace has to be rooted in the right political leader, whoever it is, and the right political system in the lack of wars, and we should hope for those things. By the way, that's good. But that's not where our true, abiding, eternal, lasting peace is found. Yes, we hope for those we long for those we want good leaders. We want good governments. We don't want there to be wars, but our peace comes in something much more lasting. And enduring. And so pursue true peace. We have to find that now when times are calm so that when the chaos comes will be ready. So that's number three. Now let's look at number four. Number four, look at the next couple of verses here, verse 28, You heard me say to you, I'm going away and I will come to you. If you loved me, you would have rejoiced because I am going to the father, for the father is greater than I. If you love me, you would have rejoiced. I'm going away. And if you really love me, you would rejoice. In fact, the fourth way for us to be prepared in advance for what might come is to rejoice in Christ's sovereignty or rejoice in his plan, or rejoice in his way of doing things. You know, when he first started to tell the disciples, I'm going away, things are not going to go the way you thought they were distraught. What do you mean? Where are you going? How you getting there? How can we follow? What do you mean? We don't know the way? Show us the father. What do you mean? We might deny you. I'll never leave you, no matter whatever. And Jesus says, Look, if you really trusted that I knew what was best, you would rejoice that this is happening because this is what's best for you. Now is the time to be cementing that reality in our hearts. That Jesus’s plan is best, even when it doesn't all make sense, especially when it doesn't all makes sense. Those are the times we more directly lean on him. In fact, the next point really builds on this. Look at verse 29 and now I have told you before it takes place so that when it does take place, you may believe that's the word. That is the central theme of the book of John that shows up 90 plus times in the Book of John. Everything he keeps driving to is believe, believe, believe. But here he's making the point I'm telling you this now, so you'll be prepared to believe. In fact, if you can believe in advance, be ready in advance. I remember hearing Kerry Jones, our youth pastor here when I was growing up. I also heard it all the time from Dennis Rainey, who has served under it family life, marriage and family ministry all the time, saying, Decide in advance what you're going to do. Don't wait till you're in that difficult situation to maybe decide then what you might do. You've already set yourself up for failure. If you're going into a situation where you know there's probably going to be temptation and you haven't already decided what you're going to do, that's a tough place to be in. And so we need to be in a place where we believe the gospel in advance believe the truth in advance of what comes. I experienced this with a friend of mine who I went to seminary with, and we graduated together. In fact, we had become study partners. We really loved studying the Greek language together. Lots of fun, many hours together, as you can imagine. Maybe not, but we had a great time. We graduated together. And this this guy is super sharp. I thought, man, he is going to go on to get a Ph.D., become a well-known professor, write really important books, be well known, very sharp. Six weeks later, his his wife leaves him and she says, I'm done. I'm not coming back. This is over. And it was completely, entirely in an instant. Of course, it's never an instant. There was probably a lot building to that. But in an instant for him, his ministry dreams and hopes are gone. All that's got to take a backseat now and should, by the way. That's right. So he comes over for lunch, we go to church together, comes to our home. We have lunch together. This is shortly after that. And we're sitting at the lunch table. And he says to me, I don't know where all this is going to go. I don't know what is going to happen. But I'm going to tell you right now, I'm believing in faith that Christ is in control and I'm going to lean on him through this. I'm not going to run from the faith. I'm not going to run from him. I'm going to run to him. In the midst of this. I'm believing in advance that he knows what's best. As hard as this is, as painful as this is, I'm leaning on him and it was awesome to watch God work in his life through that. And look, it was hard. It was messy, but he believed in advance. He was ready for the tragedy that came as ready as you can be for what comes like that. Believe in advance, number five and then number six. Look at the well, let me just say the number six is follow Jesus's example of obedience. Follow his example of obedience. In fact, all throughout this section, if we go even back further into chapter 14, we've seen verse after verse after verse that says, Follow Jesus, follow his commands, love him, love his commands. In fact, you can go back just a few verses, go to verse 15, If you love me, you'll keep my commandments. Then the Holy Spirit will give you that power. Verse 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them loves me. Verse 22 If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. Verse 26 Holy Spirit will be with you to teach you along the way. And then coming into verse 31, look at verse 31 at the end of this section today. But I do as the father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the father. Rise, let us go from here. I do what the father has commanded means so that the world will know that I love him. The reason why he can say over and over and over again, Follow my commandments, love me, and know that the two of those things are deeply connected is because it was true for him as well. So follow his example of obedience. And then lastly, number seven, verse 30 I will no longer talk much with you for the ruler of this world is coming and he has no claim on me. In fact, some would say he has no hold on me. And so for us, I take away for that he has no hold on Christ. And then number seven, remember, the enemy has no hold on. You. He has no hold on you. If you know him, if you trust him, if you follow him, if you've been forgiven by him, he's got no claim on your life. Yes, of course. He prowls around like a roaring lion. Of course he's trying to derail you, but he's got no claim on you. Romans eight talks about this one and two. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ. Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. Freedom, freedom in him. He has no hold on you. He wants you to think he does every day. He throws at you. He reminds you of shame. He reminds you of guilt. He reminds you of things you've done wrong. And you have. But he's got no claim on your life. He's got no right to you. But if you don't know him, he does. Today's the day to make it right with you, to make sure you are following him. To know that everlasting, abiding peace we are talking about, to know true forgiveness, to be ready in advance for what may come the starting place is to know him. Many of you know A.B. and Judy Deany, longtime members here at the church. If you've come in the front doors, you've met Judy, one of our key greeters here. A.B. and Judy were prepared in advance for a very difficult season. Recently, in the same week, they lost five year old great granddaughter, and he lost his best friend, Steve Lewis, longtime member here as well. In the same week. And that was a hard week. It was a devastating week. They were prepared in advance and they didn't start preparing the week before. In 1975, they came to a Wednesday night supper. He said It was a $1.35 turkey dressing meal. Very memorable. Someone had invited them. They come, come for the meal, but we're not going to stay for church. So they leave and they pull into the driveway and they look at each other and go, What are we doing? We're not doing anything else tonight. We're both looking for something. We both need something in our lives. So let's see what they have to say. It can't hurt anything. Come back for the service. A guy who's preaching, he said as he talked, I kept feeling smaller and smaller. He gets up at the end, he said, I want to know Christ. I want to follow him. He goes right to the pastor. They're praying and he's looking around for Judy. She's on the other side of the pulpit talking to Brother Dave. He's leading her to the Lord and the two of them cement their lives in Christ. And then not long after they lead their best, lead their best friends to Christ. Stephen, Portia Lewis in 1975, they start preparing in advance for tragedy to come. And if you don't know Christ, today is the day to follow him. Don't wait another day. Don't put off another day of walking in true joy and peace and being ready to encounter whatever comes.