New Year’s Day 2017: Ian Middlemist

ianOur New Year’s Day service was led by Ian Middlemist, who preached from John Chapter 13:34- Chapter 14:27. Ian began asking us by saying, ‘Where are we going? Are we heading in the right direction?’. We’ve become very emotionally attached to our homes, which is quite normal, but have we become too attached to the things of this world. In John 14, the disciples were attached to earthly things. Jesus teaches them that he is going and wants them to come with him.

Ian raised three points:

  • Where are you coming from?
  • Do you want to go?
  • How are you going to get there?

 

Where are you going from?

In John 12:27 Jesus is troubled, He says: “Now my soul is troubled. And what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.” Jesus wasn’t asking for an escape route. He came to glorify God. On the night of all nights, when He needed comfort, He comforted His friends, the disciples, who were confused. His disciples had accepted Jesus, they loved Him, but then comes the total confusion of Jesus’ death. They didn’t want things to come to an end. Jesus tells them He is going to die. It’s very difficult to face change. Are you happy?

In John 14:6 Jesus says “I am the way.” Why must there be a way? Why can’t we just stay where we are? Why aren’t we there by nature? Why don’t people know God naturally? Some people may have looked at Christianity and thought it to be too stressful – turning your back on things you love. The Bible tells us a true and honest assessment of our condition; it is an unpleasant sight to behold – we are unclean and we live in a filthy world. We need to wake up to it, we need to be made clean.

Do you want to go?

You can’t stay in the condition you live in. The penalty of sin will fall away to death itself, under God’s just judgement. Our lives are so short. We need to prepare to have a fixed abode in heaven. Jesus prepares his disciples for the glory to come.  You have to uproot. That is the call of the gospel. We need to understand the seriousness of our situation. Our homes are fading, but we are involved in a rescue effort. There is something awaiting everyone, greater than our present dwelling. Look upwards!

In John 11:48 we read of spiritual blindness. The Jews are all in a panic because they think Jesus will lead people astray, the Roman authorities will come and take their place and nation. They were fixed on their spot of land and didn’t want it taken away. Jesus says he is going to prepare a place for the disciples – their homes in heaven. Do you want to go there?  Heaven is the place where the Father dwells and He is the One we need to know and have His eternal safety and security. Jesus calls us out of the mess of our lives, and into our mansions in the sky. Look to Jesus, acknowledge there is a problem and place yourselves in the loving arms of Jesus Christ.

How are you going to get there?

In some ways every human being is looking for heaven, but what they don’t realise is it’s all about God.  That’s when they have problems; they want God to serve them. Knowing God is glorious. Such low, sinful people as us, cannot reach the highest heaven. But God himself has made a way, Jesus is the way to reach God. Jesus prepares His disciples for His departure. It was always His plan that he was going. He came to go. He had to go to the cross and then He would provide the means of cleansing. Jesus is the way. We place ourselves in His care. Let Him take you to God, to the mansions above. Let Him lead you into His presence. The disciples followed Jesus apart from one who rejected Christ. In Acts, we are told the believers were called the followers of the way. Can this be said of us?

 

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