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Published:August 23rd, 2009 07:15 EST

Jesus Savior: Sunday Service

By Nicholas Jacovino

 

What a promise:

Jesus is the one who was promised by God Himself.
Genesis 3:15 "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."

II. Jesus is the one who was pictured in the sacrifices of Israel`s worship.

Exodus 12:3 "Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: 4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: 6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. 7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it."

III. Jesus is the one who was foretold by God`s Prophets.
Isaiah 53

Jeremiah 23:5 "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth."
Micah 5:2 "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."

IV. Jesus is the one who was born of the Virgin Mary.
Isaiah 7:14 "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." 

Matt. 1:23 "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."

V. Jesus is the one who was announced by John the Baptist.
John 1:26 "John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe`s latchet I am not worthy to unloose."

VI. Jesus is the one who lived a sinless life and worked many miracles.
Hebrew 4:15 "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."

Acts 2:22 "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:"

VII. Jesus is the one who was innocently crucified for our sins.
2 Corinthians 5:21 "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
Luke 23:33 "And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the male-factors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left."

VIII. Jesus is the one who rose from the dead.
Mark 16:6 "And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him."

IX. Jesus is the one who will come with power and glory.
Mark 13:24 "But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, 25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. 26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

1Thess. 4:16 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
This is my Son, whom I love; 
with him I am well pleased. Listen to him! "

That`s right 
Listen to Him "
Listen to Him ".
Listen to Jesus

When was the last time you listened to Him?
Well most of you have been hearing Jesus speak this morning and you hear him at least every Sunday.

We hear in the Bible readings, in our singing, prayers, even in your conversations with other people, in the sermons and in fact we hear Him throughout worship.

But listening involves more than just hearing noises.
Over the last few weeks we have been exceptionally busy, settling in, meeting people and trying to get organised, 
I have many things on mind
And so occasionally, just occasionally I might hear my wife`s voice
but I am not actually listening to her.
I heard the noise ".but not what she said.
What she says, doesn`t always get through to me.
So you guessed it two days later I find out I missed some very important information.
Ever experienced that??

So I am learning that listening is very essential, for a harmonious relationship.

Likewise it is essential for our relationship with Jesus.
And when we listen to Jesus he has some wonderful, some exciting things to tell us.

Now let`s listen to him, from 

Matthew 28:20 Jesus says, And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age "

in Luke 6:35 He says, your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. " 

from John 10:9 I am the gate whoever enters through me will be saved 

And in John 6:35, I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me, will never hunger, whoever believes in me will never thirst

John 8:12, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. 



Aren`t these wonderful words!
There are heaps more where they came from "

So how about listening to Jesus .
Pick up a bible and start listening to Jesus by reading, say, Matthew or by following the Daily Walk with God devotions as found in your bulletin.

But why does God say Listen to Him?

Well for a start He is truly the Son of God.
God wants Peter, James and John to know this
and he wants you to be sure of this.

So in today`s Gospel reading he gives us four images that say no matter what happens.
No matter how successful
How ordinary or even how hard up you are.
Jesus is always truly the Son of God, God`s chosen one and He will always be God

The four images are:
Image one: The mountain top
Jesus says, come on Peter, James and John come up on this mountain and pray with me "

Mountains are not just wonderful places, away from the hustle and bustle of the world.

They are also good places to pray to talk and to listen to God.
By the way, have you noticed that frequently when Jesus prepares for a difficult time he spends time in prayer?
But the mountain is important.
In the Old Testament we discover that God had a habit of appearing to people on mountains.
Remember today`s Old Testament reading.
Where did Moses meet God??
On a mountain.
So for people who knew the Old Testament when strange things happened on a mountain, it was mostlikely God at work.
Image two: Jesus began to look different
As Jesus was praying to God his clothes began to change, they became extremely bright. Something very similar happened to Moses when he saw the Lord on the mountain, except that Moses face glowed.
Image three: the appearance of Old Testament prophets who had a history of pointing to a Messiah.
The appearance of Moses and Elijah, two characters from the Old Testament is very interesting.
They are major characters in the Old Testament.
Both have met God on a mountain.
Not only are they representative of the Law and the Prophets
But in their ministry, as we find out in the Old Testament they pointed to the Lord and to a new Messiah.
This occurred through what they do and say.
They also were good listeners of the Lord.
Image four: The Lord appeared in a cloud.
The Lord appearing in a cloud, was something the Lord had a track record doing
In Exodus 34:5 we read Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD
But so what you might be saying???
We know that???
We know that Jesus is the true Son of God?
But do we really know that in our hearts?
Do we always remember it?
Of course when things are good, when life is fantastic its easy for us to say that God is present in our lives.
It maybe easy to listen to Him.
In fact some Christians believe that the sign of God being present in there lives, is when everything is going well.
And when their problems are minimal or non existent.
For many when life is good, it is easy to listen to Jesus.
In many cases when life is good He comes through loud and clear.
But it`s easy to listen to any leader, when things are going well. 
Think about it for a moment. 
How many leaders get the boot when things are going well "a footy coach, a prime minister??
Its easy listening to leaders when things are going well, isn`t it?
Likewise when life is pretty good "it ain`t too hard listening to Jesus or at least to act like your listening to Jesus. 
That is until he tells us 
if you want to be my disciple "you must deny yourself " "
Jesus told his disciples exactly this just prior to taking them to the top of the mountain.
When Jesus tells us that he has given us our wealth, our health, our family, our skills, our time and our friends and all these things are not ours, that`s right they are not yours, and we are to using everything we have for serving others and helping them hear and experience His love it is a little more difficult to listen to Him. 
For some it is about now that we stop listening to Jesus.
Some of you may have already stopped listening to Jesus in this area. 
We are quite happy hearing that I have been saved.
That God wants to look after me. 
But when it comes to having to give up or share some of what we believe is ours, like our time, money or other things so others may benefit, we may hear him, hear the noises he makes, but we don`t really listen to Him.

And in not listening we are not trusting what Jesus says?
We would rather tightly hold onto the things he has given us,
screaming out they are mine "mine.

We become like a bunch of seagulls, like in the movie Flying Nemo.
Remember everything that Jesus has given us, he has given us so that we serve the communities we live, we work in and we play in so that they can hear and experience the good news.
There is also another time when we find it difficult to listen to Him, isn`t there? 

This is probably when life is tough "when things are hard when things aren`t going that well.

Imagine for a moment what it would have been like for the disciples.
Here they were following the Messiah, 
the new king of Israel, 
God`s chosen one,
so naturally they thought that things could only get better,
that nothing bad would happen to him, 
some of them may have even dreamed that they`d get to serve him in a palace.

Listen to how Peter responds to Jesus after Jesus told them he must suffer and be killed.
Peter`s response: Never Lord, this shall never happen to you! "
How often do we think like that?
That in following Jesus we think that our life shall be comfortable, without pain, without burden. 
Maybe we think it should a little less uncomfortable, a little less pain and little less burdensome. 
But instead Jesus says, 
Look, 
following me
isn`t going to be easy.
Following Jesus does not mean that life necessarily gets easier.
It definitely won`t be comfortable.
In some later verses Jesus says, In fact in following me, you are being asked to serve others, to endure persecution, to struggle.
But please don`t get me wrong ".
I am not saying that being a Christian means you must struggle forever.
But our struggles have a purpose "
Speak to many successful sports people, business people and you will find that many of them have not always been successful.
Many have had to overcome great obstacles. 
For us the difficulties have a purpose.
And we can only know this purpose by listening to Jesus.
But our struggles are not so we can personally benefit, because Jesus has already struggled for us to give us a comfortable,
a life in heaven.
But our struggles are so others can benefit
So others can hear the Good News, 
can experience the love of God
and are captured by the generosity and patience of God.
But it`s during these times that we are tempted to desert Hm
to stop listening to him, revert to serving ourselves.
We may even think that he has deserted us.
Sometimes we happily sing with Shannon Noll
"What about me "..it isn`t fair?
But if we listen to Jesus we hear
I am with you always even to the end of the age "
So in listening to Jesus we discover our struggles are not struggles in vain, struggles without purpose.
God has not forgotten us, but He is with us.

Recently I heard an interview with a lady who said for 
years she felt guilty, 
she felt as if she was doing something wrong.
Why, because her life had been full of struggles.
As she spoke, she talked about the struggles she had experienced with her family, with friends and with people at work.
However recently on rereading the Scriptures she realised that God wasn`t calling her away from these difficulties but in fact he was calling her to live in struggling situations
and that she was not struggling by herself.
But she was walking beside others and struggling with others at the same time.
In fact that`s exactly what Jesus does to each of us.
He calls us to serve
To serve our family, 
our friends, 
our enemies, and our communities.
And not just in the nice glamorous times, but also through difficult times.
Sometimes we need to be patient with them, giving them more than they deserve.
Our struggles in following Jesus are only worthwhile, because Jesus first struggled for us.
From Isaiah we read, by His wounds we have been healed. "

If you want to get a glimpse of how much Jesus went through for you, you can see this most dramatically in the narratives as Jesus approaches the cross.
Take some time to read
John 12:1-11, John 12:20-36, John 13:21-32, John 13:1 "17, 31b "35, John 18:1 " 19:42
They are listed on page 3 of your bulletin.

If you want to visually get an idea of the amount of suffering Jesus endured for you, watch again Mel Gibson`s movie the Passion of the Christ.
Remember Jesus did not suffer for himself.
He was already innocent.
He suffered for you and for me.
There were times, as he suffered that the disciples must have been wondering what on earth was happening?
But if they had listened to him, they would have recalled that it was part of the Messiah`s plan.
They would have known that the suffering did not mean he was not God, 
on the mountain they found out he was God.
And for those of you who are thinking that mountain top experiences are not worthwhile, they are they help us to hear Jesus. 
God often uses mountain top experiences to prepare us for struggles or to help us through the struggles. 

Like Peter, James and John God used the mountain top experience to tell us that He was his son, the chosen one, so listen to Him!!!
But we don`t stay up there do we?
We come down to experience the struggles.
So listen to Jesus,
during the Great times and the tough times.
Listen to the fantastic news he has for you!
And also listen to Him, that this news of eternal life is not just for you, it is for everyone.

And remember that Jesus, the son of God is always with you.
Amen.