Quick Links Quick Links

Sermon on the Mount

by George D. Knepper

June 23, 1958

Preached at Big Creek Church of Christ in Louisiana

(This is the third in a series of articles by Bro. Knepper from the Sermon on the Mount)

 

A young man made a statement to me today that fits in particularly well with the “beatitude” we are going to study to night.  By the way, what is the beatitude we area studying tonight?  Come on – the one we studied last night. “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.” What he said, it fitted so well with that beatitude.  This young man went through a very, very serious trial.  A few months ago they told him that his young wife would not live more than just a few weeks, and today she is well and strong.  And he made this strange statement to me:” You know, if I knew then what I know now, I’d have asked God to let me go through the experience.” Do you get it?  I want to read you a poem that illustrates what he was thinking about ans what I am trying to get you to understand tonight.

I learn as the years roll onward

And leave the past behind,

That much I have counted sorrow

But proves our God is kind;

That many a flower I longed for

Had a hidden thorn of pain:

And many a rugged by-path

Lead to fields of ripened grain.

The clouds but cover the sunshine;

They cannot banish the sun;

And the earth shines out the brighter

When the weary rain is done.

We must stand in the deepest shadows

To see the clearest light,

And often from wrong’s own darkness

Comes the very strength of right.

We must live through the weary winter

If we would value the Spring

And the woods must be cold and silent

Before the Robins sing.

(That means more to us up in Ohio than it does to you folks down here.  We go through the winter and the Robins don’t sing for quite a long time)

The flowers must be buried in darkness

Before they could bud and bloom

And the sweetest and warmest sunshine

Comes after the storm and gloom.

So the heart from the hardest trials

Gains the purest joy of all

(Isn’t that what the beatitude says? The heart from the hardest trials gains the purest joy of all.)

And from the lips that have tasted sadness

The sweetest song shall fall.

For, as peace comes after suffering

And love is the reward of pain

So after earth comes heaven

And out of loss the gain

 

I was told this story. (I can’t vouch for its absolute truthfulness.)  A great singer, when she was just a young woman, a man heard her sing and he realized what she lacked.  He said, “I’m going to marry that girl and break her heart.  Then she’ll really sing.”  And it came true.  Until she had suffered, until hear heart was broken, she just sang rather mechanically.

God may break your heart, but it is only so that the good in it, the fine, the noble will be spilled out. That’s what Jesus talks about.  “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.”  I’m not going back and pick up list night except for this much:  remember this, that the mourning he is talking about  there is the mourning because you are in the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of heaven is in you, and you feel poor in spirit, and you are deadly serious to function in the kingdom of God, and anxious enough to that you are willing to suffer, whatever God sends your way.  And you will suffer. And the greater the possibilities that God sees in you, the greater the suffering that you will undergo. And that brings us up to date where we are going to start tonight.

First of all, turn to Revelation 18:15

The merchants of these things, who were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning;

Isn’t the word mourning in there?  I want you to see that there is a mourning that is on the level of the world.  These people were mourning for what reason. What’s happening to the things into which they put their lives? They are swept away.  So they are mourning and crying.  Folks, not that kind of mourning!  That is not what Jesus is talking about here.  Not at all!  The fellow that’s mourning is because he lost some physical property, or because he has lost some physical things that he has been trying to gather. That isn’t what he is talking about here at all.  He’s talking about mourning on a very, very different plane than that. As you get into the kingdom of heaven you are going to find new sources of suffering, you are going to find sources of suffering that do not even occur to the man living in the world.

The man in the world doesn’t suffer because men or women are headed for hell.  He is interested in himself.   He has those converging lines.  That’s all he is interested in.  It’s all right with him if his neighbor is going to hell.  It’s all right with him if his neighbor’s children are being tempted, if his neighbor’s children are being exploited for money and being ruined for time and eternity. That’s all right. He doesn’t care.  But if you are in the kingdom of heaven, if you are functio0ning in the kingdom of heaven, and the kingdom of heaven is in you, you are going to see in those people who are headed for hell in a desperate need and it’s going to hurt you, just as it hurt Christ. It hurt Christ terribly, and it hurts him terribly to see little children be exploited.  It says he looked around upon the people with anger, because e there misleading – leading astray – children.  Oh, I say to you, be very, very careful what you do before children.  God will hold you responsible.  There is no escape.

So you are going to find a great new source of suffering, and its going to be keen and pointed, and exquisite suffering.  It isn’t going to be the suffering of those fellows who are mourning because they have lost their property.  The mourning that you are going to have is a mourning that will hurt you deeply.  You can’t escape it.    You are living in the kingdom of heaven now.  You are functioning in the kingdom, as a citizen of that kingdom.  You are walking in the footsteps of the master man, and you are feeling the hurt that he had – not on the same level, not in the same amount, not the same quantity, but the quality of it is just the same.  You are feeling that hurt, and when you do, you can thank God from the depths of your soul that you are in the kingdom and the kingdom is in you, because it is.  But, unless and until that is true, my profession of following Christ is but empty pretense.  You can’t walk I his footsteps, you can’t function in the kingdom of heaven without feeling that.  And I mean that literally.  There is too much of this glossing over, pretending.  Who do you pray for when you go to bed at night? Do you ask God to bless you?  Do you as God to give you something?  Or is that neighbor, that friend, that child, that husband, that wife, that son, that daughter – is he or she on your heart?

Is your heart breaking because you can’t reach somebody that you would like to see saved?  That you have a desperate need for trying to save?  That’s what Jesus is talking about, folks.  Somebody has said that the ear (I think Bro, John can explain that to us) that is most sensitive to harmony, is hurt the most by discord.  I know that is true, because I have very little sense of harmony.   You folks could sing in a half dozen discords here and I wouldn’t know it.  Bro. John would.  The true story is told of one of the great band-leaders who had a group of 150 musicians and they were playing, and all at once he stopped, and pointed to a fellow way back yonder and said, “You are a half-note off.”  Most people wouldn’t have heard that at all, do you see?  The ear is the most sensitive.  And so the more sensitive you become to this great need of others for what you’ve got the higher you go in the kingdom of heaven. But you must have it first.  You won’ feel that need until you have it.  But when you have that need, feel that need, you are going to become extremely sensitive to the need of others.  And as you become sensitive to that, it is going to hurt you, and hurt you more and more and more.  You are going to suffer because of others.  Your suffering is not going to be on the level of: because you can’t have this, nor that, or some particular physical thing.

Let’s turn to II Corinthians 7.  We are looking at Paul.  We are seeing the feeling of a man who is being hurt by just the thing I am talking about here.  I am going to read from Phillips, starting with verse 5. “For even when we arrived in Macedonia we had a wretched time with trouble all round us.”  Now watch what that trouble is, folks, that’s hurting Paul and giving him a wretched time.  This is what I am talking about: “Wrangling outside—“ (Oh, folks, keep it out of this congregation.  Fight with all the power that is in you that the devil doesn’t get in that door and get Bro. Bollie here at swords point with Bro. Cootie.  Some will take sides with Brother Bollie and some with Bro Cootie and the first ting you know, you’ve got wrangling.  Keep it out folks. Be big enough, that the devil can’t get you to do that.) –“Wranglings outside and anxieties within.  Not but what God, who cheers the depressed.” – get this—“gave us the comfort of the arrival of Titus.”  What did that beatitude say?  “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.”  Not in heaven, but here. Paul had all this wretched time of it, but God sent him the comfort of Titus coming. See?  “And it wasn’t merely his coming that cheered us, but the comfort you had given him for he could tell us of your eagerness to help and your deep sympathy and keen interest on my behalf.  All that made me deeply glad to see him.  For although my letter had hurt you (Paul had written them a pretty sharp letter) I don’t regret it now, as I did I must confess, at one time.  I can see the letter did upset you, though only for a time, and now I am glad that I sent it.”

You know, I get that feeling sometimes, in some of the things I say to you folks, it make me wonder whether I should have said it or not, – maybe I’m upsetting some of you, – but if it is the truth and I can get it across, you be like Paul said here.  “Not because I want to hurt you-“ Oh, folks, let’s get that in you minds right now as far as anything I say – I am not saying it to hurt you, i.e., with that being just the fundamental purpose.  I’m not looking at some fellow back there and hammer away at him because he is a sinner.  I hate sin, but I want to love the sinner.

“..and now I am glad I sent it,  not because I want to hurt you, but because It made you grieve for things that were wrong.”  That’s what it is to do to you: “make you grieve for things that are wrong.”  “In other words, the result was to make you sorry as God would have had you sorry, and not merely to make you offended by what we said.  The sorrow which God uses means a change of heart and leads to salvation, it is the world’s sorrow that is such a deadly thing.  You can look back now and see how the hand of God was in that sorrow.”  And that is what this young man meant.  He can look back now to the terrible trial he went through and see that the hand of God was in it – that sorrow.  “Look how seriously it made you think, how eager it made you to prove your innocence, how indignant it made you and in some cases, how afraid!  Look how it made you long for my presence, how it stirred up your keenness of the faith, how ready it made you to punish the offender!  Yes, that letter cleared the air for you as nothing else would have done.”  Paul is giving us an insight into what it means to suffer because there is trouble going on.

Church trouble:  men and women standing before the public and claiming to be the church of the living God and yet fight among themselves.  They are not the church of God and we might as well recognize it. Don’t let it get in here, folks.  I love you because there is such a spirit of fellowship among you.  And I haven’t heard any evil speaking from anyone here about somebody else here.  Don’t try it on me I might tell you something.

Did you ever see a jeweler displaying his diamonds?  He spreads out a nice white cloth, and puts them on a nice, white cloth – what? What? What? He displays his diamonds on a black velvet cloth.  He spreads out a black velvet cloth and puts a diamond on there.  That’s the way you stand with God!  – with the world around you, when God is making a diamond out of you.   You stand out all the greater.  But be careful, don’t get puffed up about it, and get to thinking you are some great one.

I Corinthian  15:9-10 “I am the least of the Special Messengers, and indeed, I do not deserve that title at all, because I persecuted the church of God.  But what UI am now I am by the grace of God.”  How does Paul feel? Now he is ashamed of those heights that we read about there in the seventh chapter, but what does he feel about himself.  He keeps in mind that he is a sinner – persecuting the church of God.  When God displays you against that black background and sinners around you, then keep in mind that you were a sinner once, just as Paul did.  As you do that and can see yourself, you are gaining altitude in the kingdom of heaven.  There is a dreadful danger, that I will be like that fellow that stood in the temple and thanked God the he was not like other men.  Instead of that  you do like the man that stood on the street in London one time, and as thy went past him with a man to be put to death, that man standing there said, “But for the grace of God there go I.” don’t ever forget God’s grace to you.

James 4:7ff (Phillips) “Be humble then, before God.  But resist the devil and you’ll find he’ll run away from you.  Come close to God and He will come close to you.  Realize that you have sinned and get your hands clean again, realize that you have been disloyal, and get your hearts made true once more.  As you come close to God you should be deeply sorry, you should be grieved, you should even be in tears.”  Blessed are they that MOURN.  “Your laughter will have to become mourning, your high spirits will have to become heartfelt dejection.  You will feel very small in the sight of God before He will set you on your feet once more.”  I didn’t say that, folks, I read it right out of God’s word.

COMMENT: That’s the only way we can keep the devil out of the church, is to humble ourselves so that we can ask God to keep him out.

REPLY: Fine, Sister, you’re right – keep preaching that to these folks; if they won’t let a woman speak in the church, you get out on the porch and speak it.

(Continuing in Phillips)  “Never pull each other to pieces, my brothers.” Sure, you folks could find fault in me.  I suppose you folks do some things that that I wouldn’t do. And I am sure I do some things you wouldn’t do. But do I begin to jump on you and pull you to pieces and tell the neighbors about you and what a bad fellow you are?  NO, NO! “If a brother be overtaken in a fault,   you that are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, looking at yourself, lest you be tempted.”  Never pull one another to pieces, my brothers, – listen, this is God speaking. –  “If you do, you are judging your brother, and setting yourself up in the place of God’s law;  you have become in fact a critic of the law.” (Not the Mosaic Law, but God’s law).  “Yet, if you start to criticize the Law instead of obeying it, you are setting yourself up as judge, and there is only one Judge, the one who gave the Law to whom belongs absolute power of life and death.  How can you then be so silly as to imagine that you are your neighbor’s judge?”

We are (you are) citizens of the kingdom of heaven. We (you) are functioning in the kingdom of heaven now.  We ( you) are not citizens of the world, we (you) are citizens of God’s kingdom and James is telling you what to do and what not to do in that kingdom.  It (James) does not make any sense unless you recognize that you are a citizen of that kingdom, that you are a member of the kingdom of heaven, that you have risen above this animal kingdom, that you have been transformed by the renewing of your minds, and you are letting God remold your mind from within! Not from without.

II Corinthians 6:3-10 (Phillips)  “ As far as we are concerned we do not wish to stand in anyone’s way, nor do we wish to bring discredit on the ministry God has given us. “  He is not talking about preachers.  You have a ministry with God just the same as I have. MY ministry may be speaking out in public.  Your ministry may be visiting others as an individual.  “We do not wish to bring discredit in the ministry God has given us.  Indeed, we want to prove ourselves genuine ministers of God, whatever we have to go through – patient endurance of troubles, or even disasters, be flogged, or imprisoned; be mobbed, having to work like slaves, having to go without good or sleep.  All this we want to meet with sincerity, insight and patience; with genuine love, speaking the plan truth, and living by the power of God.  Our sole defense, our only weapon, is a life of integrity” –  That’s the reason I warn you folks over and over again:  be what you are; don’t allow pretense to get into your life.  Your neighbors may speak evil of you, people may talk about you, they may say a lot of evil things about you, but keep that integrity of heart.  Did they say anything evil about Jesus?  They called him Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils!  Did he say, “Oh, no I’m not?” No, he didn’t.  He proved by the sincerity of his life, by the integrity of his heart that they were liars.–  “Our sole defense, our only weapon is a life of integrity, whether we meet honor or dishonor, praise or blame.  Called ‘imposters’ we must be true, called ‘nobodies’ we must be in the public eye” – And you are, you can’t escape it. – “Never far from death, yet here we are alive, always ‘going through it,’ yet never ‘going under’ “ (not trying to duck around – going right through those with the power  of God.) – We know sorrow, yet our joy is inextinguishable” – see the connection: Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted..  “We know sorrow, yet our joy is inextinguishable. We have nothing to bless ourselves with, yet we bless many others with true riches.  We are penniless, and yet in reality we have everything worth having.”  Isn’t that wonderful?

I Corinthians 5:11 “All our persuading of men, then, is with the solemn fear of God in our minds.  What we are is utterly plain to God – and I hope to your consciences as well.  (No we are not recommending ourselves to you again, but we can give you grounds for legitimate pride in us. – if that is what you need to meet those who are so proud of the outward rather that the inward qualification.) If we have been “mad” (crazy) it was for God’s glory; if we are perfectly sane it is for your benefit.  At any rate there has been no selfish motive.  The very spring of our action is the love of Christ.”  That is what we have to get, folks, – when we get that, we will be all right.  “We look at it like this: if one died for all men then, in a sense, they all died, and His purpose in dying for them is that their lives now should be no longer lived for themselves, but for him who died and rose again for them.  This means that our knowledge of men can no longer be based on their outward lives (indeed, even though we knew ‘
Christ as a man we do not know Him like that any longer) for if man is in Christ he becomes a new person altogether”- Isn’t that what I said?  When you get into that kingdom everything’s changed, everything’s opposite:  Things that were valuable down here in this animal kingdom cease to have their value and things that have no value down here have value. – “For if a man is in Christ he becomes a new person altogether – the past is finished and gone, everything has become fresh and new.  All this is God’s doing, for He has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ;  and He has made us agents of the reconciliation.  God was in Christ personally reconciling the world to Himself – not counting their sins against them – and has commissioned us with the message of reconciliation.  We are now Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were appealing direct to you through us.  As His personal representative we say, ‘Make your peace with God.’ For God caused Christ, who himself knew nothing of sin actually to be sin for our sakes, so that in Christ we might be made good with the goodness of God.”  Remember Matthew 5:48?  “Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  —“so that in Christ we might be made good with the goodness of God.” That is what we are striving for..-  that is the perfection we are reaching for:  That you may be good with the goodness of God.  That is the perfection he is calling you to.

So there comes this great heartbreak that we can’t get others to have what we have.  Jesus standing above Jerusalem, with tears running down his cheeks, cried, “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them that come unto thee – how often would I have gathered thee  as a hen gathers her chicks under her wing – but ye would not.”  That breaks your heart when there is someone you love, and you’ve tried and tried (to get them to accept the Lord) and you can’t.  That is the kind of mourning he is talking about.  No mourning because I can’t have a Cadillac.

II Corinthians 1:3-7 (Phillips)  We shall find in this bit of scripture the fact that you are not comforted just for your own selfish ends,  “Thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He is our Father and the source of all mercy and comfort.”  So when Comfort comes, just give God the glory.  “For He gives us comfort in our trials so that we in turn may be able to give the same sort of strong sympathy to others in theirs.”   What were those lines?  First they converge, then they diverge.  So God’s mercy, God’s comfort comes into you heart, so that you can give it to others. You try shutting it up in your life, making out that you deserved it – that God is making a teacher’s pet out of you – or something like that, and it will turn sour just as the waters of the Dead Sea become unfit to drink, worse than useless.  Don’t shut up that comfort in your heart.  When God gives you comfort, spread it on to those around you because that is one of the fundamental reasons that God gave it to you.  That is what Paul is saying here. “Indeed, experience shows that the more we share Christ’s suffering, the more we are able to give of his encouragement.”  Here are these converging lines – the more that is poured into us the more we have to give. Like the Jordan River pouring into the Sea of Galilee and then the waters running into the Sea of Galilee from around there so that it has more to give than it receives. (Many sources of fresh spring water come down from Mt. Hermon and form the River Jordan.  The Jordan accepts those waters and flows on to make the Sea of Galilee. The Galilee wraps around those fresh waters and lets it continue on.  It will always have more to give that it gets).  That is what God wants us to be – in fact if you are functioning in the kingdom of heaven, – that is what you are.  There is just no use in arguing bout it.  That’s it.  “This means that if we experience trouble, we can pass onto you comfort and spiritual help;  for, if we ourselves have been comforted, we know how to encourage you to endure patiently, the same sort of troubles that we have ourselves endured.  We are quite confident that if you suffer troubles as we have done, then, like us you will find the comfort and encouragement of God.” And folks, you will find that to be an absolute truth. – that, as you seek to comfort  others,  you will find your own trials, troubles, and sufferings will be less.  It will take the sting of pain away from  your sufferings.

I want to tell you a true incident. A tornado struck the house of a man and his wife.  She already had a painful hole in her leg which had resulted from cancer treatments.  The tornado piled a deep freezer on top of her husband and caused a big gash in her leg.  She was bleeding to death, but she forgot all about her own pain when she saw her husband.  She got a piece of cloth, made a tourniquet to stop her own bleeding and crawled to where her husband was.  In seeking to help her husband, she forgot her own suffering.  In Seeking to help others, in seeking to give comfort to others, in seeking to pass on to others the comfort that you have found,  you will find that your own troubles, your trials, your own suffering will be lessened. If you selfishly shut them up, in self pity they build up and your troubles become the worst that anyone ever had, and you expect people to come and commiserate and tell you how bad off you are, etc. No, just seek to serve, to spread the comfort you have found to others, and you will find yourself with your own troubles being minimized, and they will grow less instead of greater. That is one of the great blessings.  “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.”  They will become comforters.    And in becoming comforters, they will be blessed indeed.  The mother that has laid a little one in a grave can become a comforter to those other mothers whose hearts are just bleeding because they are laying a little one away. I feel my inability to speak at a funeral of a little one, because we never had to go through tat particular trial and suffering.

Love in a world of sin must suffer.  Wherever there is love and sin, there will be suffering.  I say this reverently:  there must be suffering   in the heart of God , because of the sin in the world.  I know there was suffering in the heart of Jesus Christ.  The cross was in his heart before it was on Calvary.  Wherever sin and love come into conflict there will be suffering.  I think it is true, that the mother loves, somehow, more, if it is possible, the black sheep of the family.  Somehow, the boy or girl that grows up fine and strong, and does as we want him or her to do, doesn’t give us any trouble, and yet maybe in the family there is some black sheep, somehow – maybe we love that one that is doing right just as much, but somehow, there is a different feeling toward that black sheep.  It is love meeting sin.  And so if a mother does seem to love the black sheep of the family, it is because sin and love have come into conflict.

We find that in the story of the prodigal son.  That father’s heart was breaking for that boy down there in the far country.  That’s boy that he loved, that’s the boy that had been raised right – and yet there he is down there in the far country, dissipating his young manhood – dissipating all the good that there is in him.  So far as I know the father went out every day on the highest part of the farm and looked down the road to see if maybe the boy wasn’t coming back.  That‘s the reason for, when he came back, dirty and filthy, not fit to set foot on his father’s farm, the father threw his arms around that ragged dirty bunch of humanity, and kissed him.  And that is the reason that the elder brother couldn’t understand it. He dammed up in his life the blessings of the father, and didn’t even know he had blessings.   He said, “You never gave me a kid to make merry with my friends.”  The father tried to get him to see it.  He said, “why son, all that I have is yours – yours for the taking – you could have had anything you wanted.” He wouldn’t go in where that prodigal brother of his was, nor could he understand his father’s reaction to that boy.  He said, “Oh, when he that has spent his inheritance in riotous living and gone to the dogs comes back you put your arms around him and kiss him, but you wouldn’t even give me a kid so make merry with my friends.”  He couldn’t enjoy the blessings that he had, because he didn’t share them.

Folks, share your blessings. Share them.   Share the comfort that God has given you in your sorrows and in your trials, share them – find somebody that is in greater need than you are.  I don’t mean physical things, particularly – but in greater need for spiritual things – share.  You’ll be glad you did.  You have become sons of your father who is in heaven. Somebody has said that Christ felt  all the sins of the world with the conscience of God. Remember that and think it over.  Christ felt all the sins of the world, with the conscience of God, with all the holiness, with all the parity, with all the love of God, and in Gethsemane it cause him to sweat drops of Blood.   He wasn’t sweating drops of blood because he was going to the cross and suffer for six hours out there in that hot sun.  That wasn’t what caused him to sweat blood.  He sweat blood because he looked down on the sins of the world with the conscience of God.  That is the kind of conscience God is seeking to get into me so that I will feel the sins of those with whom I come in contact with so desperately that I will mourn for them.

Jesus, so we are told in Isaiah 53, was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief.  Remember that and John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.”

What does Jesus promise them? Peace, peace!  When he’s going to the cross in just a few hours!  When he is bearing the sins of the world with the conscience of God!  And you will have it.  You will share the comfort that is coming to you. You share what God had done for you with others, and your will find the peace that passeth understanding.  But you can’t get it by getting more of this world’s goods.  You can’t get it by getting more education.  Yu can’t get it by plunging into the pleasures of the world.  You can’t do it.  You will never find peace that way.  That is the trouble with the world tonight.  That’s is the reasons it’s running hither and yon,  scattered  to the four winds, striving, as Solomon did, and the find it “vanity, vanity, all is vanity and striving after a wind.”  But Jesus, the one who is bearing the sins of the world with the conscience of God, can still say, “peace” – and did he have it?  Absolutely folks! They couldn’t shake him.  That peace was so deep, and it will be so deep in you, that the insults – the little evil speakings – turn to James 3:13 –“Are there some wise and understanding men among you?  Then your lives will be and example of the humility that is born of true wisdom.  But if your heart if full of rivalry and bitter jealousy, then do not boast of your wisdom – don’t deny the truth that you must recognize in your inmost heart.  You may acquire a certain superficial wisdom, but it does not come from God – it comes from this world, from your own lower nature, even from the devil.  For wherever you find jealousy and rivalry you also find disharmony and all other kinds of evil.  The wisdom that comes from God is first utter pure, and peace-loving, gentle, approachable, full of tolerant thoughts and kindly actions, with no breath of favoritism or hint of hypocrisy. And the wise are peace-makers who go on quietly sowing for a harvest of righteousness – in other people, and in themselves.”

Now look at john 15:11  “These things I have spoken unto you that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be made full”  What could be full?  You mean to tell me JOY in the light of what I’ve been preaching here tonight?  That you are to have joy by sharing your comforts that come to you? That you are to have joy because you are going to have to suffer?  That is what he is saying.  Here is this man who is facing death on the cross, who facing insults, spitting in his face, facing that Roman scourge, facing those people that cry out “Crucify him, crucify him”  the very people for whom he is dying,  here is that man talking about Joy! My joy!

Now John 16:22  “And you therefore now have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one taketh away from you..

Were they to have it in this life? Sure they were.  Their hearts are heavy.  He had just been telling them that he had to leave them, but would see them again.    Remember those two on the way to Emmaus?  They were disheartened.  And they were discouraged. And somebody came along and joined their company and said “What’s the matter? Why are you so downcast?”  And they said, “Why, are you just a stranger here, that you haven’t heard what happened in Jerusalem?  There was one there, that we had hoped was going to restore the kingdom to Israel. That was three days ago.  They killed him.  Oh, we heard a strange story this morning,  we heard that some women went out to the tomb, and he wasn’t there”  And Jesus said, “Oh slow of heart not to believe in all that was written – “ Oh, folks, believing in all of it – believe in all of it.  Believe in these promises.  Until they get into your life.

Jesus revealed himself, and when they went back to Jerusalem that said, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he was talking to us?”  Ah, that’s it.  “Did our hearts not burn within us..”  “You will see me again and you will rejoice” And they did, and everyone of them gave his life, as far as we know, (except John)  in a violent manner for Christ.  They rejoiced.  He meant it.

John 17:13 “But now I come to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy made full in themselves.

 

           See Dale Jorgenson’s article, ‘Connections’  in the August Edition for a background of Bro. Knepper.

          See also John Fulda’s article in the July edition.




Leave a Reply

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13