Victorious Christian Living
I’m going to invite you to John chapter 13, John 13 is where we’re going to be today. We’re going to talk about an important topic. This to me, this section of scripture is a very powerful section of scripture that I will tell you most Christians walk away from this section of scripture with incorrect thinking as it relates to your relationship with God. Okay? This is about Victorious Christian living and powerful section scripture, have told us together as we go on into John 13, to John 17, this section of scripture is some of the most powerful passages and all of the Bible for me, this is my favorite section in all the Bible. This is the last six hours Jesus spends on the earth, teaching us, teaching his disciples before he goes to the cross for six hours.
When Jesus is teaching his disciples, he’s teaching in the most intimate of settings with the closest of his followers in an upper room, spending his last moments on earth in some in-depth discipleship teaching as to the importance of what it means for you and I to follow Jesus. Very powerful section of the scripture. This is also an infamous section of scripture where one guy has ruined a name forever, right? There’s one character that we’re going to read about today that is forever ruined a name. It’s funny as I was thinking about this really history has had a way of ruining names, maybe not forever, but at least temporarily ruining names that you just don’t find people carrying that name anymore. I got some examples on the screen for you. No more Dora’s. There are no more Dora’s. Or Mario’s and Luigi’s, they’re gone now. Or Kermit, I don’t know if you’ve ever met a Kermit, but not lately, right?
Or how about this? Obviously Adolf, we could throw in with that maybe a Stalin or Genghis Khan, those names are off the list. Alexa, not going to name anybody Alexa anymore are you? Elsa. How about that? No more Elsa. I can’t even get it out of my head. I feel bad about this one, but no more Karen’s. Right? Give me your manager now. But here’s the character we’re going to talk about today, Judas. This is not the most popular name for children, right? No one’s lining up to give their kid this name because Judas has probably done the most egregious act in all of history. He betrays God in the flesh. Not very many people have had that opportunity, but Judas certainly did. And so when we look at this passage of scripture, when we talk about Victorious Christian living, I’m going to highlight for us two concerning elements from this section of the Bible in verses 21 to 25 and then 26 to 27.
There is some concerns spiritually speaking with Judas, which will heighten our paranoia, I’ll say, about the spiritual world. And then I’m going to give us three responses to that, so that you don’t walk away just looking over your shoulders, scared all day long about some of the things that we learn about Judas in this passage. Wondering if your life might even have anything related to Judas going on in it. In two concerns that we see here in the beginning with Judas, John 13:21, if you’ve got notes this morning, this is your first blink at the top. And is to recognize this, we are spiritually vulnerable in adversity. We are spiritually vulnerable in adversity. We’re really vulnerable in all things spiritual, but there is a heightening in our Christian walk when we are facing some adversity.
We meet some challenges in life and there’s some temptation to deny Christ or to do something contrary to your faith. But in John 13:21, look at this, “When Jesus had said these things, he became troubled in spirit and testified and said, truly, truly I say to you, the one of you will betray me. The disciples began looking at one another at a loss to know of which one he was speaking. Lying back on Jesus’s chest was one of his disciples whom Jesus loved. And so Simon, Peter nodded to the disciples and sang to him, tell us who it is of whom he is speaking. He then simply leaned back on Jesus’s chest and said, Lord, who is it?”
If you remember this story, this is Jesus in the upper room, the disciples are all around the table, having their last supper. And Jesus is letting the disciples know that one of them is about to betray him, right? By the way, if you’ve ever seen the scene of the last supper, which the pictures on the screen that Leonardo da Vinci has created. You can go back to that real quick, Leonardo da Vinci has created. That picture is wrong for so many different reasons. It’s a beautiful picture. Leonardo da Vinci painted it. You can appreciate the artistic ability that he has, but it’s a wrong account of Jesus’s last supper. They didn’t sit at tables like this, in the background, there are the Italian mountains. There was no mountains where Jesus was doing this. On their table it’s a fish and loaves, which Jesus would have had lamb and flatbread.
While Leonardo da Vinci is a great artist, he historically did not understand scripture to the degree that he needed to, to paint an accurate picture of this story. If you want to see an accurate picture, the next illustration gives you an idea of more where Jesus would have been in position around the table. In Jesus’s day it wouldn’t have been a table that you sit under. It would have been on the short table that you laid out from. And on one side of him would have been John, and John, this is why in the story you see John leans back on Jesus and asks who is it? And at the same time, Jesus, at one point is going to whisper to Judas that it’s him, but no one else hears it. And the reason we see that no one else hears it, is because Jesus could have had a very close interaction with Judas where no one would have been able to hear the story.
At the same time, you can see why Jesus was so easily able to wash the feet of the disciples. The minute they laid down at the table, their feet would have been exposed at the end. And Jesus could have gone around, in John 13, we read this story together of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. Something else interesting about this story is that the guest of honor would not upset in the middle of the U shaped table. They would have sat on the side. Jesus is in the position of the guest or the leader of this meeting and the guest of honor would have been to the left of Jesus, which would have been Judas, which is a pretty profound, incredible thought when you understand that Jesus knows Judas is about to betray him. Here in this upper room at the end of Jesus’s life, knowing Judas is his enemy, we’ve seen two incredible things Jesus has done for Judas.
One, he washed his feet and we joked about the fact that he didn’t even do it begrudgingly. He didn’t scrub extra hard or put them in an ankle lock. He washed it lovingly. Even to the point that he was willing to let Judas be in the seat of honor, as they gathered around this table. Something else that’s a little incredible and I know Judas gets a bad rap and rightfully so. He betrays the son of God, but something I find interesting about this story that gives us I think a little bit of compassion towards Judas, is what I said to us in the beginning that, we face adversity. We have some vulnerable ability in our spiritual life. And that is in the question that the disciples ask of Jesus. The disciples are so perplexed by what Jesus is saying, that they all want to know the person that’s going to betray you Jesus, is it me? Is it me? The other gospels give accounts of this to, Jesus, which one of us is it? Is it I? Is it I? Is it I?
That’s the kind of question they’re asking Jesus. Here’s what makes that so interesting, is that I think in these moments that the circumstances they find themselves surrounded in has become so intense that I think that they realize at any moment, any of them could snap. The writing is sort of on the wall for Jesus. The tension has built. I think all of them might be looking for the escape hatch in this circumstance. And so while we see Judas as the culprit here, I think any of the disciples could have easily turned their back on Jesus and turn Jesus in, which is why they’re asking the question, is it I? You would think in a circumstance like that, if Jesus was going to be betrayed, you would know if you were the one doing it. Right? But the disciples, I think because of the intensity of the moment realized that they are very close for maybe throwing in the towel, because this moment could cost them their lives.
Same is true with our spiritual walks, right? Following after Jesus, we don’t follow after Jesus because it makes life easy. We follow after Jesus because it’s true. And in walking in the truth, we find ourselves strengthened to do the work of the Lord in this world. But Jesus very plainly said to us, in order to pursue after him, you must be willing to take up your cross and die daily. And so you see in this moment that there is some vulnerability when circumstances are adverse to where we are. The disciples ask a question that suggests as much. And then John 13:26-27, if we go on from here, in the middle of that vulnerability, it’s important to recognize too, this is your second blank, that Satan wants to capitalize on your weakness. Satan wants to capitalize on your weakness. Look at this for a minute. This is that verse that I told you might cause you to freak out a little bit. And I don’t want you to walk away freaking out, right?
2 Timothy 1:7 says, “God doesn’t give you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. As we read this, think about a verse like that, okay? Look at this. Jesus then answered, “That Man is the one for whom I shall dip the piece of bread and give it to him. When he had dipped the piece of bread, he took it and gave it to Judas. The son of Simon is scary. After this Satan then entered him. Therefore Jesus said to him, what you’re doing do it quickly.” That is the freak out verse, right? The fact that Satan enters into someone, this is the thing that nightmares and scary movies are made all of, is this going to happen to you? Can Satan possess your life? This is the kind of thing where people sometimes they sort of get concerned and they think about some of their past decisions in life. They start confessing Heavens to Betsy at one point in my life, I played with a weegee board and some magic rocks. And is there some demons on me? Do I need to exercise those demons?
Can Satan doing that to me? What’s the implications if this can happen to Judas for my life too and how can I avoid this? Because, well, that’s just concerning. I think sometimes one of my children might be going through what this verse talks about. Right? Satan wants to capitalize on your weakness. Well, first let me just say this, I think what I don’t want to do is over heighten your spiritual sensitivity to certain things and ignoring your spiritual life in everything, right? Sometimes we look at these things and we tend to think very large in certain spiritual circumstances, like demon possession and Satan possession. We ignore the fact that everything that we do in life has spiritual implications. Everything you do in life has spiritual implications. You’re being discipled by something, you’re being molded by something, you’re embracing the truth about something. Your life has determined what leads it.
The way that you conduct your life shows you what your idols are or what you worship. Everything that you do in life has spiritual implications. In fact, when God made Adam and Eve, as soon as God made Adam and Eve, the first thing that we see is Adam and Eve interacting with the serpent in the garden, because everything we do as human beings has spiritual implications. From the beginning, you see this spiritual interaction with people. And two, if we answered the question, can you be devil possessed or demon possessed? You see this in the life of Judas. What does that mean for us? I will tell you this, if you’re a follower of Christ, it is impossible to be demon possessed or devil possessed. Okay? And the reason I say that is because you are Jesus possessed. That’s a weird way of saying it, right?
But in passages like Ephesians 1:13 or Ephesians 4:30, it says, “You are sealed in the spirit of God.” Meaning you belong to him. You have been bought with a price. Passages like 1 Corinthians 3:16 or 6:19, “Your body is the temple of God.” So you belong to Christ and Christ alone. Now there are passages in the Bible that talk about the fact that our lives can be overtaken by dark spiritual forces, like Matthew 12:43–45, which I think is for the unbeliever. But it says this, “Now when the unclean spirit comes out of a person…” Meaning when someone has cast out an unclean spirit from someone. “It passes through the waterless places seeking rest and does not find it.” Then it says, “I’ll return to my house from which I came. And when it comes, it finds it unoccupied swept and put in order. And then it goes and brings along with it Seven other spirits, more wicked than itself.”
It talks about the idea of a life, not belonging to the spirit of God, but rather to the things of this world. And when someone casts out a demonic influence from someone’s life, that more demonic influence can return if that life is not given over to Christ. But in terms of our relationship with God, being a follower of Jesus, Bible encourages us to recognize that if you’re possessed or owned by Christ, you can’t be possessed or owned by demons or the devil. Number three, what about this though? Can a demon influence, can a demon oppress you as a Christian? That question is where it gets a little more interesting for our lives. When I get ready to give this answer, I want you to know something. When we look at the struggle of the Christian life, sometimes it’s got a struggle to it, right? Our tendency when we read verses like this, are to run away and be like, never let this happen. How can I avoid this?
Or it’s horrible here and I want the easy streets. Show me by the end of this chapter, Nathaniel, how none of this can ever happen to me and I can avoid it all for the rest of my life. I’m just going to tell you the reality is, you can’t. You can’t, because everything you do in life has spiritual implications. There’s already in this world two leaders of a battle taking place, right? There is Christ, kingdom of light, Satan, kingdom of darkness. We read passages in the Bible like, in Matthew 16:18, Jesus gives that famous statement to his disciples outside of an area of the world called the gates of hell. He tells his disciples, “I will build my church and not even the gates of hell will prevent you. You will storm down the gates of hell.” He even says to Peter, he asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” He says, “You are the Christ.”
And at that moment, he gives Peter his name, Peter, instead of Simon, he goes by the name Peter, which means little rock. He says, “Upon that rock, the greater rock who is Jesus, I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” A powerful, incredible statement guys, is saying to us as a church, yes, there is a kingdom of darkness out there, but God’s call to you is not to hunker and to hide, but to storm down the gates of hell. It gives us picture that the gates of hell is this mighty fortress, like a castle. You get the storm down those gates by the authority of Christ and behind those gates are people that need rescued in Jesus. We live our lives to love God, love others. We’ll see that verse in just a minute, all about relationship. Jesus calls us on a rescue mission for the hearts of people, but it’s also to recognize that there’s still a battle, right? To storm down the gates. There’s a battle involved with that.
In fact, the very next verses, right after Jesus says this to Peter, you will storm down the gates of hell. Jesus tells Peter that he’s about to go die. And Peter says, that ain’t happening, I will jump in front of that and I will lay down my life and I will take the sword before you do. And then in Matthew 16:23, “Jesus then looks at Peter and says, Get behind me Satan. In verse 18, you have this incredible statement of Peter being this rock of which is established on the greater rock who is Jesus, is going to storm down the gates of hell. And then just a few verses later, you got Peter being called Satan because Peter had given into something that was contrary to God’s will in this world. And that’s what I’m saying for us. When we think about the spiritual implications of the life that we live, we’re not perfect at it. You’re not ever going to be 100% successful.
And when it comes to this spiritual world, you can be influenced in the wrong way, influenced or even oppressed. In fact, when you read in 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul says he was given a thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan. Paul was tormented. Paul was being oppressed by demonic influence, and the same can happen in our lives. Now, I’m not saying run out of here and go seek after that stuff and show those demonic influences, you can storm down the gates of hell. Please don’t do that, right? That’s not healthy. But I do want to show you from the rest of this passage, three responses that we can have that help us live successfully in the spiritual world that we walk in, the unseen world around us. So what can be our answer, knowing that these things won’t just die and go away, that we are possessed by Christ if we have faith in him?
How can we respond to find ourselves successful knowing that there is a spiritual force of darkness that wants to fight against us, especially when we’re vulnerable in our adversity, especially knowing Satan wants to capitalize on our weakness. Three responses, first is in verse 28 to 30. I want to give you just the next blank in your notes, but it’s this, find Christ in the ordinary. That’s not an incredibly profound thought, but very important. Find Christ in the ordinary. I’m going to read the verse in just a minute, but let me just tell you practically why this is important. Last couple of weeks where our Grace Haven Bible Camp, actually the last three weeks, we had high school camp, elementary camp and the middle school camp. For those that went and helped with that, thank you for taking your time out of the week to help be a part of the camps, to minister to our young people.
Lincoln, our youth pastor handles the high school camp and I usually go down for the elementary and middle school camp and help out. One of the reasons that I love and cherish that opportunity is, one, kids are so young and I just want to make sure they’re supervised and cared for well. But two, there’s something about those younger years that I think are very powerful when a child gets to high school. What I mean is this, your child, by the time they get to their high school years has learned some habits, they’re going to set a precedent for how they choose to live their lives. I think that the earlier years are where those are shaped. Right? Middle school year, I think particularly very important because that’s where your child learns a lot of things in the world that they would not tell mom and dad about. Right?
And it’s that age that there’s a lot of vulnerability and it has spiritual implications. Having a weak, and I don’t think it just can happen in a week, but having a week to encourage and influence a young person’s heart and mind towards the things of the Lord, very important. And if you learn to walk with the Lord in the mundane, in the ordinary, I think it gives us the strength to learn how to lean into the Lord in the difficult. You don’t all of a sudden turn on your spiritual life when things get hard. I know that’s typically how we do it as people in a secular mindset, life gets hard and all of a sudden we find ourselves on our knees seeking Jesus, but we’ve never really talked to Jesus before. And all that we really want is to make the bad things go away. And as soon as we get past those bad things, we no longer walk with Jesus anymore. But learning to walk with Jesus in the ordinary is important, because it strengthens you for all the other battles that you may face in life.
Look at this, in verse 28, “Now none of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose he had said this to him.” Talking about Judas. “For some we’re assuming since Judas kept the money box that Jesus was saying to him, buy the things we need for the feast or else that he was to give something to the poor, so after receiving the piece of bread, he left immediately and it was night.” Jesus already turned to Judas and said, “What you’re going to do, go do it quick quickly.” And the group saw Judas leave, but they had no idea that it was actually Judas that was betraying Jesus. What makes this moment so important and why I say seek God in the ordinary, is that when you study the life of the disciples in scripture, Judas never referred to Jesus as Lord. You see the rest of the disciples at some point in their life, they came to Jesus in a personal way and talked to Jesus as Lord.
Judas has only ever on record as calling Jesus a rabbi or meaning a teacher. But never in his life had he come to a place where he embraced Jesus as Lord of his life. And so as he journeyed with Jesus for three years, he never really learned to walk with the Lord in the ordinary. And so when he comes to a moment like this, he gives into the temptation because Jesus was not really his Lord. What we know about the character of Judas is a couple of things about him. One, he was a greedy person. We saw that recently when a lady was anointing Jesus leading up to his crucifixion and Judas got mad at her because she used a perfume that was worth a year’s wages and Judas felt she should sell it to the poor. But Judas’s intentions was really to keep the money for himself. Judas was a greedy person. I think Judas was also a coward.
Judas was not willing to follow Jesus because he was a coward. And guys, I think our culture is like that right now today, to follow after Jesus is not a popular thing. But it takes a strong individual who is willing to put their faith in Jesus to do it, to say, I am a follower of Christ at whatever consequence, Jesus leads my life and determines my path. I think we should strive to always love people no matter where they are, but we certainly disagree with people because we can’t hold everyone’s values. Our Lord is Jesus. Judas in this story chooses cowardice rather than Christ, because he sees the writing on the wall. It’s interesting when you read Revelation 21:8. Revelation 21:8, the Bible tells us the first person that God judges is the coward. We don’t follow Jesus because it’s easy, we follow Jesus because it’s true.
That’s the radical transformation we see in the life of the disciples. Isn’t it? We know here in the next few hours that they’re going to scatter when the hammer comes down on Jesus. They’re going to hide for their lives. In fact, they give up on following Jesus, but something radically happens in their lives that transforms them, that they could not deny. After they see Jesus crucified, they run away and they hide and fear, thinking that now their own lives are at risk because they were the closest followers of Christ and the Jews and Rome would want to destroy them too. They see Jesus resurrect from the grave. These individuals that were cowards in following Christ, had denied him, ran away, all of a sudden, they come after their walk with God with such boldness, that they go to the ends of the known world throughout Rome and even beyond, to share the gospel, because they saw a dead man walking and couldn’t deny it.
They end up living lives as martyrs, because of what Christ has done all except for John who’s writing the gospel of John. Verse 28, “Now none of those reclining at the table knew, I already read this, didn’t I? Knew that Judas had left. But when we look at this, finding Christ in the ordinary becomes important to our relationship with God, as he leads us down paths where we can do greater things for the Lord. One of my favorite Proverbs says something like this. it says, ‘When there’s no ox and in the barn, basically there’s nothing to care for, but many ox in the barn and you’ve got a lot of poo to shovel.” It’s an interesting Proverb that says this, basically as you live your life as an adult, you grew up in this world, you get more responsibility, with more responsibility you got more things to take care of.
Same thing is true in your spiritual life, right? As you follow Jesus, very basic simplistic walk. But as you learn about Christ, grow in Christ, you have more to share with this world and make disciples for Jesus and the way you give in this world. But with that comes more responsibility. It becomes important to learn to walk with Jesus in the ordinary that as you follow God into more adverse things, you continue to honor him. Number two is this, walk in the spirit. Verse 31 to 35, very important passage of scripture. If I could tell you today, if you walk out of here and only remember one section of this whole passage, let it be this. Because this section is the section that most Christians struggle with understanding how it fits in the whole Bible. Okay? Verse 31, you’ll see why I call it walking in the spirit in a minute because the spirit’s not even mentioned yet.
But verse 31, “Therefore, when he had left, Judas said, now as the son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him immediately. Little children. I am still with you a little longer. You will look for me. Just as I said to the Jews, now I’ll also say to you, where I am going, you cannot come.” Verse 34, “I’m giving you a new commandment, that you love one another just as I have loved you, that you also love one another by this. All people will know you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” As a church we say a couple of things that we are about, our missional focus as a church is the great commission through the great commandment. The great commission is what we follow. The great commandment is what we fulfill.
The great commission is going in this world and make disciples. Matthew 28, 19 and 20. The great commandment is to love God, love others. You’re seeing the love others passage here, the new commandment. But here’s the question we want to ask. Why is this a new commandment? And loving people is not a new thing. Why does Jesus call it new? This is not revolutionary. You innately probably knew it was important to love people, even before you might’ve known Jesus, right? Why does Jesus call this a new commandment? Well, I would say two things, one less important and then two very important. The less important is, it’s new in the sense that we’ve not seen the extent of God’s love displayed as we have here in this moment. A new commandment that you love one another as I have loved you. And we see in Jesus’s life here, the way that he has loved us, is by sacrificing his life.
That’s a pretty extensive form of love, right? Willing to lay down your life for the benefit of someone else, that’s biblical love. It’s new in the extent that we have seen how far God will love, but it’s also new in the means to God’s love. What I mean is, Jesus, in these moments is giving us a new to covenant. And then a new covenant is very significant to understanding the Bible. We think about, what is a covenant? Well, look in your ministries, titles it this way, a covenant is an oath bound relationship between two or more parties, probably the best illustration we have in our day of what a covenant is, is the marriage covenant. In fact, Jesus is going to use that as an illustration in chapter 14, we’ll see that next week. But the best form of a covenant that we have today is the idea of marriage. In the old Testament, the old Testament, another word for Testament is actually covenant.
We have the old covenant and the new covenant. That’s what your Bible is broken up into, right? Old covenant, new covenant. The gospel start the new covenant. The old covenant was given under the law of Moses. Exodus 19-24. God gave 613 commandments to the Jews and they were to follow the old covenant. What we find is Israel follows the old covenant is none of them do it faithfully. Deuteronomy 29:4, Moses acknowledges that. In Jeremiah 31:31, there is a future promise that God will one day write his new covenant on the hearts of his people, that they could follow him. Old covenant, they can never live up to the standard, which is why God brings a new covenant. Now, when it comes to terms of a covenant, just like marriage covenant, there are only two ways a covenant ends. Scripturally speaking there are only two ways a covenant can come to an end.
One is, you die. The other one is you fulfill all of the demands that you have agreed to in the covenant. When it comes to the old covenant, Jesus did both. Look at this, in John 19:30 and in Matthew 5:17, Jesus both died with the old covenant fulfilling it. And he fulfilled all of the law’s demands because he lived his life perfectly. John 19:30, it is finished. Matthew and saying, this is when he died under the old covenant, having been really the only true Israelite. Israel strives to live up to the 613 laws. None of them did it successfully, but Jesus did. He says, “It is finished.” He fulfilled the demands of the old covenant. Matthew 5:17 even tells us, “I didn’t come to just remove the law, but to fulfill it.” All of its demands, Jesus did, the old covenant. When you get to a book like Hebrews 8:13, when you think about the old covenant, you ask the question, how much of the old Testament do you have to live?
Hebrews 8:13, look at this, “When He said, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is about to disappear.” That word obsolete is literally can be translated obliterated. When it comes to the 613 commandments in the old Testament, if someone asks you, what are those laws do you have to live? Here’s the answer, none of them. None of them. Because Jesus fulfilled it all. Now that doesn’t mean you can’t learn anything from the old Testament because the holiness of God, our relationship with God is communicated through the old Testament. It’s the same God in the old Testament, that’s the same God in the new Testament. We certainly learned from God in the old Testament. But when it comes to living those laws, you are under no obligation. In fact, if you go on a little further, you see that reiterated throughout scripture. Give me another click. Galatians 3, look at this. “But before the faith came, we were kept in custody under the law.” Talking about the old Testament. Being confined for the faith that was destined to be revealed.
“Therefore, the law has become our guardian to lead us to Christ so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under the guardian of the law for you are all sons and daughters of God through faith in Christ.” Give me another click Celia. I continues on other passages. Romans 6:14, “You are no longer under the law, but under grace. What then? Are we to sin Because we are not under law, but under grace? Far from it. Here’s the question people ask, they tend to ask is, well, if we don’t have a bunch of laws dictating what we do, who determines whether or not we go out in this world and just live like hell, right? There’s no rules. But Paul answers that in verse 15 and goes on to explain why may it never be. Because you were bought with a price, the precious blood of a lamb.
You’ve never been loved to a death, you’ve been loved by Jesus. Why not live your life to honor the one who gave his life to honor you. You get to have a relationship with God. You get to be owned by your creator who desires to know you and to make himself known in your life. Galatians 5:16, this is why he says then, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” If you’re led by the spirit, you are no longer under the law. When it comes to living this Christian life, we don’t live old covenant. It’s a beautiful covenant. It communicates to us the beauty of God, but we live under the new covenant. And the new covenant, the way it’s lived, is to walk in the spirit. And this is how know whether or not you’re walking in the spirit. The fruit of the spirit is being made known in your life. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness. It says, “Against such things there is no law.”
That’s the calling of a Christian life to walk in the spirit. Our resolve in this world should be this, to be Christ life, to let the goodness of Christ be made known in our lives in the best of days, in the worst of days, which is why I want to end with this thought. Verse 36 to 38. This is your blank. Depend on his strength not yours. Depend on his strength not yours. Guys this is why I say, this is very important. God is not interested in how great you are. God is interested in showing you how great he is. God is not interested in you proving to him how strong you are. God is interested in you resting in his strength. That is so important to the Christian life. Because when we say walk in the spirit, we understand we’re under a new covenant now, and we’re called to love others in this new covenant. And we understand that we walk in the spirit and walking in the spirit bears the fruit of the spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness.
Our legalistic mentality is to go through that list and figure out where we’re succeeding and where we’re failing and where we’re failing to try harder at not failing anymore. But I think it’s important to remind us that it’s not the fruit of you, it’s the fruit of the spirit. And it’s not the fruits of the spirit as in they’re all different fruits, it’s the fruit of the spirit, meaning it’s singular. And so what it’s saying to us is, if you feel you’re loving but not patient, it’s that the fruit of the spirit is not being made known in your life. And the answer isn’t to try harder at being more patient while you think you’re loving. The answer is, is that the spirit doesn’t have full control of your life, so you need to die to yourself. Die to yourself and let the spirit of God work through you, in you and through you.
You are sitting on the throne somewhere in your world. Sometimes we look at that and we feel like, well, I’m just an utter failure. I know you can look at your life and be like, I struggle with this all the time and I feel like a failure. I could say right here, my tendency would be, you know what, just pat you on the back and say, you know what? You’re a great, just keep trying, you’re great. But the point is that you get to a place where you realize you can’t do it in your strength. If I were to just give you the idea of, you know what, you do good most of the time, just keep it up and work on this area. I think we would completely be amiss as to what makes Christianity so powerful. The distinction of what this Christian life is about versus all other religion in the world.
Because what we see here in this verse, is there is a contrasting now between Judas and Peter, let me read it for you. Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going. You cannot follow me, but you will follow me later.” Peter said to him, “Why can I not follow you right now? I will lay down my life for you.” And Jesus replied, “Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not Crow until you have denied me three times.” You see in the beginning of the story that there’s Judas who was a coward and greedy, right? We would think that the answer would be, we don’t want to be Judas, let’s buck it up and get strong and show God how great we are. And that’s what Peter does in this story. He’s like, God, I got this, right. I’m going to just chop people’s ears off and go down swinging. He’s a zealot, that’s what they do.
While being a coward will keep you away from the truth of Christ, so does pride. I think I shared this with us last week, but the greatest enemy to your walk with Jesus is pride. Because it’s a dependency on your strength and not his. Religion will teach you that. Religion will teach you that you come into a church and you learn about the things you’re doing great. You learn about the things you’re doing bad and you try harder. That’s not Christianity. That is not Christianity. Christianity says that, it’s not me that’s great, it’s Christ that’s great. And I need to fully surrender myself that the power of God may be known in my life. God doesn’t need you to do anything for him. He’s completely capable of all of it himself. But God gives you opportunity to do things for him, because in that you get to learn what it means to walk with God and have a relationship with him.
And along the way, you’re not depending on yourself to make those things happen. You’re leaning into the power of his spirit to see those things made known in your life. When I depend on my strength, that’s where we get into trouble. That’s where I can become angry or bitter when things don’t go the way that I want to, because I feel I’m in charge. And when I’m in charge and things don’t go the way that I want, then I feel out of control. And so I’ll either go into despair and hide or anger and try to fight and destroy to get what I want. But when I lean into Jesus, I understand that while things aren’t the way that I may want them, that I can walk with my creator through it, to be strengthened in the moment, and as I honor him with my life, he has the ability to work through me, to minister to the hearts of others that may need changed too. It’s not my job to be the holy spirit, it’s his job.
Leaning into him becomes important, laying down all that I am for all that he is. When it comes to understanding spiritual life, this way, I find as people sometimes we don’t like it because it makes us vulnerable. But what we find in the end, I said in the very beginning, vulnerability can be a struggle for us, but also vulnerability becomes the place where you can fully lean into the strength of God, because you found the end of yourself. And that in Christianity is where life in Jesus is found. I’ll use this illustration in close. I heard in Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis has this story and I’m going to add a little bit, not quote him directly, but he describes it this. He says, when it comes to the Christian life, I would rather be the prostitute in the back of the room asking and begging God to forgive me, than I would being the self-righteous person on the front row, judging her for what she’s done.
God desires to make all things new in your life. To be completely forgiven, to be strengthened and empowered in him and to know the goodness of Christ. I’m going to take a moment for us to partake of communion together as a church. If you’ve got your communion cups with you. Communion for us is a representation of the strength of God given over for you, that you can be possessed by him, that his spirit would seal you and that you would belong to him forever. And it’s a representation of the expense that Jesus has given on our behalf, that his body was broken and that his blood was shed. And community for us becomes a representation of all that Jesus has done for us on the cross that we could belong to him. It’s for believers. And not only looks towards the past what Jesus has done for you. It also recognizes in the present that you have a relationship with God because of what Christ has done for you.
And it looks to the future because there’s a promise with communion that one day you will drink communion new with Jesus face to face in his kingdom. And for those that have put their faith in Christ, this is the picture of all that Jesus has done. In 1 Corinthians 11:23, Paul says for us, “For I receive from the Lord that which I delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” “In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” And then he gives the promise, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
Guys, I hope that you see this morning how much the Lord desires to fight for you, that he doesn’t leave you empty in a spiritual world. He doesn’t leave you powerless in a spiritual world. 1 John 4 tells us, “A greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” And how important it is in those moments of vulnerability that you lean into him and find his strength sufficient.