Jesus left us with some beautiful pictures of how He relates to us in our every day lives. Remember them?
He wants to be our daily BREAD we feed upon.
He opens to us the DOOR of life.
He is our good SHEPHERD.
In that context as Good Shepherd this morning we find another powerful way Christ disciplines us in as a Chastening & Pruning illustration.
You know that Middle Eastern shepherds, when they have a sheep or a lamb that’s prone to wander — like it won’t stay with the flock but it tends to run off by itself — and they want to protect it, they don’t want it to fall off some cliff. They know that if it gets out there by itself some wolf will eat it or it will get caught in the briars or something like that, they want to keep it close, do you know what they’ll do? A lamb that is prone to wander, they will break its legs. Now, that sounds pretty cruel, but they’re doing it out of love. They will break its legs and put a splint on it so that little sheep can only hobble along and the sheep is going, “I’ve got this splint I can’t get away,” and the shepherds going, “That’s exactly right,” and he’s a good shepherd. And, sometimes God puts a splint on your life that keeps you from wandering too far from the flock and you may resent it, and you may resist it, but it’s because God loves you; He’s guarding you.
If you were to travel around for a day visiting Bedouin shepherds in the Holy Land at their folds where they keep their flock, a surprising sight would be yours. It is very likely that you would come across a shepherd and his flock quietly resting except for one sheep. On a pile of straw that lamb would seem to be in pain. If you interviewed that weathered Bedouin who looked so much like Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob you would quickly find that its leg was broken. Upon further questioning if you were to ask, “How did it happen?” This startling answer would come back. Listen to the collective voice of centuries of good shepherds caring for their sheep:
“I broke that sheep’s leg. Of all the sheep in my flock, this one was the most wayward. It never would obey my voice. It never would follow where I was leading the flock. It wandered to the edges of cliffs. And not only was it disobedient itself, it was always leading the other sheep of my flock astray. I’ve had experience before with sheep of this kind, so I broke its leg. When I first went to it with food, it tried to bite me. I left it alone for a couple of days. Then I went back to it, and it not only took the food, it licked my hand and showed every sign of submission and even affection. And now let me tell you something. When this sheep is well, as it soon will be, it will be the model sheep of my flock. No sheep will hear my voice as quickly. None will follow me as closely. Instead of leading the other sheep astray, it will now be an example and a guide for the wayward ones. It will lead them to obey my call. Actually, a complete transformation will have come into the life of this wayward sheep. It will have learned obedience through its suffering.”
To conclude our look at our call to abide in Christ as we have seen in John 15, may I share the testimony of someone we all have heard of? When asked later in life what kept him going in Bible teaching, translation, and church ministry Martin Luther said this simple truth:
“I have but two dates on my calendar today and the day of the judgment seat of Christ!”
In other words he lived each day like he was on his way to explain what he did with his life to the One who gave him life – Jesus Christ.
Are you ready this evening to appear at Christ’s Throne? When we take pilgrims to Greece, the most moving spot of all is in the city of Ancient Corinth. I have seen travelers who were just tourists the whole trip until they reached that spot. And there beneath the raised stone platform called in Greek the bema suddenly the awesomeness of the moment overtakes them and they see themselves at a future day standing at Christ’s Throne. Often tears, often deep silence – and always reverence fills each one as the scene unfolds before their eyes.
Tonight will you come with me to that Throne? Will you let the Holy Scriptures transport you out of this world and into God’s?
Remember GOD’S PANORAMA OF AGES?
|RAPTURE||I THESS. 4||BE READY – The Son of Man cometh|
|JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST||2 CORIN. 5||BE HOLY – We must all appear.|
|TRIBULATION||REV. 6-19||BE THANKFUL – Christ will keep us from the hour.|
|SECOND COMING||REV. 19||BE PATIENT – Christ will right all wrongs.|
|MILLENNIUM||REV. 20||BE FOCUSED – Christ will perfect the earth|
|GREAT WHITE THRONE||REV. 20||BE FAITHFUL – Point people to Christ.|
|HEAVEN||REV. 21- 22||BE INVESTING – Lay up treasure in Heaven.|
For just a moment tonight, will you ponder a bit the size of the area before Christ’s Throne? God’s Word mentions that millions of angels minister before Him and hundreds of millions more stand before him. In simple terms that we can picture: that is 3 to 13 SQUARE MILES of Angels in constant ministry around Christ’s Throne. And in a ring stretching back 32 to 129 SQUARE MILES of Angels standing before Him. And then in front of Him, and all them we walk up to the Throne!
The Throne, The Appointment, The Fire, The Crown, The Glassy Sea
? Ezekiel 1:24-28 When they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of many waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a tumult like the noise of an army; and when they stood still, they let down their wings. 25 A voice came from
|Square feet @ mile||Square feet@ person||Individuals per square mile||10 Million =||100 Million =|
|27,878,400||9||3,097,600||3 square miles||32 square miles|
|27,878,400||36||774,400||13 square miles||129 square miles|
above the firmament that was over their heads; whenever they stood, they let down their wings. 26 And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. 27 Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.
- ? Daniel 7:9-10 “I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire; A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened.
- ? Revelation 4:1-4 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” 2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. 3 And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.
- ? Revelation 5:8-14 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” 11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” 14 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever. THE APPOINTMENT: This evening each of us have an unavoidable appointment. This appointment should constrain our flesh and motivate our spiritual hearts. The Time of this appointment is the Day of Christ. This is mentioned six times in the New Testament:
1 Corinthians 1:8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 5:5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 2 Corinthians 1:14 (as also you have understood us in part), that we are your boast as you also are ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus. Philippians 1:6,10 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, Philippians 2:16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. This is the judgment of the church, one of three last day judgments.
- ? 1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.
- ? Romans 14:10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
- ? 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
?So,itsgoingtobefirstofallaverypublicevent:? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? whichmeans more than just to appear, it means to make manifest. Before the God of the universe and all of creation, we will be made known before all. And ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? is the judgment seat of the rulers of old. It is raised for all to see. That is the place all will appear one by one. Secondly it is also a very personal event ? ? ? ? ? ? [plural] must appear in order that each one individually which is the literal meaning of ‘may receive’. Our lives amount to either good or ? ? ? ? ? ? translated bad does not speak of evil but ‘good for nothingness’303 The believer is either going to have to answer for the good things done faithfully for the Master, or for the rest which was good for nothingness. This is ‘light, unstable, blown about by every wind’. Oh, to stand before all in that day and to answer to Him.
THE FIRE: 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
THE CROWN: The Crown of AN ABUNDANT LIFE Revelation 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. The Crown of AN INDESTRUCTIBLE LIFE Revelation 2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. The Crown of AN INEXAUSTIBLE SUPPLY Revelation 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth [it]. The Crown of AN INEXPRESSIBLE FUTURE Revelation 2:26-29 “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— 27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’— as I also have received from My Father; 28 “and I will give him the morning star. 29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’The Crown of INCREDIBLE COVERAGE Revelation 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white Raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. The Crown of AN INESCAPABLE DESTINATION Revelation 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, [which is] new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and [I will write upon him] my new name. The Crown of INTIMACY WITH GOD Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 1 Peter 1:4-5 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Revelation 2:10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you THE CROWN OF LIFE. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an IMPERISHABLE CROWN. Philippians 4:1Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and CROWN, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved. 2 Timothy 4:8 Finally, there is laid up for me the CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 1 Peter 5:4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive THE CROWN OF GLORY that does not fade away.
THE GLASSY SEA: Revelation 4:5 And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. 6 Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. 8 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” 9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 11 “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”