May you enjoy today worshiping the Lord, our risen Savior, and spending time with family and friends.
While this text was not the base for the sermon this morning, this is the passage from the service that really stood out to me. I thought I would share here, that you may also be encouraged.
Scripture quotes taken from John 17:9-13, 20-21
“I am praying for them.”
“All mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.”
“And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You.”
“Holy Father, keep them in Your name, which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as We are one. While I was with them, I kept them in Your name, which You have given Me.”
“I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost.”
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”
“The glory that You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one.”
I hope this brings you encouragement this week. We are treasured, kept, protected, and glorified by Jesus, that we may give testimony to His grace to a lost world through unity with other believers.
Worship from the heart is more desirable to God than religiousity and excessive rule keeping. God desires our heart rather than empty practices that mostly serve simply to keep up the appearance of holiness in front of other people.
Personally, I have watched several of my friends come away from appearance-centered cultures and into the freedom that Jesus brings those who love Him with a sincere heart. It’s such a beautiful change to watch!
If we had to impress God and other people with our own holiness, we would all be in trouble! The only one we need to be good enough for is God our Father, and we only do that through the righteousness of Jesus.
Less worry about what other people think and more focus on pleasing and honoring God out of our love for Him brings joy to our lives. We all forget this from time to time – I know I sometimes do!
Let’s remind one another and remind ourselves through frequent reading of the Word that our primary focus is to love God through our obedience and through recognizing the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf. Let us seek to deepen our relationship with Jesus and not spend the majority of our time anxious about how religious we appear to other people. Their opinion doesn’t matter in the long run.
“36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.
39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.”
40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”
44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say amongh themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.””
The religious leaders of the day did not show much honor to Jesus, even the honor that was custom in the culture at that time when you had a guest in your home! In contrast, this woman, a person from the street corner, recognized the greatness of Jesus and the darkness of her son. She as truly grieved for her sin, begged for His forgiveness through her humility, had faith that Jesus could forgive even the most vile sins, and honored Him as King with anointing.
Jesus tells us that she was forgiven of her sons because of her faith, but that the Pharisees who didn’t even honor Him with the most basic practices of respect, lacked the humility and faith needed in order to be forgiven of their sins.
Let us be more like the woman – recognizing God’s greatness and the magnitude of our sin, rather than only trying to appear religious to others. “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b)
“They were filled with awe and praised God.” – Luke 7:16
“When have you experienced ‘heaven on earth’?”
Believers in Jesus Christ who follow Him both in spirit and truth are promised eternal life with Him in heaven one day. We are also promised a place prepared for us, amazing food at the feast of the Lamb, and that we will worship God in word and song. Since this is one of the activities that seems to be a recurring theme in Scripture, I associate corporate worship of the Lord with heaven. I have had several times during a worship service where I thought, “this is what heaven will be like!” It’s truly encouraging to realize that we will get to praise God for all eternity and get to experience a small taste of that now.