“Preparing To Leave Earth”
- How many of us are ready to leave earth right now if God calls us home?
- Do you realize that we could be called out before the altar call this morning? Are you ready?
- This message from God this morning is prepared to get us ready as children of God and for me to help you prepare for my departure.
- You see, Jesus spent time for three years preparing His sheep for the Kingdom. Now Jesus is preparing His disciples for His departure.
- I have to tell you that this is an area where I believe that I have failed you.
- I have not prepared you until now. I really don’t know that we will ever be fully prepared because death catches us off guard.
- The disciples had only been with Jesus (their pastor, preacher, teacher, example and Lord) for only 3 years. They weren’t ready and were not understanding Jesus’ parables.
- In Matthew chapter 6 we find our Lord giving the disciples a pattern to go by when they pray to the Father (God). Preparation for the Kingdom.
- In John 17 we actually see “The Lord’s Prayer.” Preparation for His departure.
- When preparing to leave always pray. When our family took a trip to grandma’s house or on vacation as a family, our dad always led us in prayer for God to protect us, and bless us on our trip.
- A prayer is verbiage from the depths of the heart with supplication and groaning that come before God with the true intent of the heart of a person.
- I guess what I am trying to say is that Jesus shows us His heart in this prayer. Jesus shows us His desires, compassion, and love for God’s children and the will of God to be done.
I. Getting Ready to Leave
A) The checklist
- I definitely do not want to make the words of Jesus seem trivial because they are not. But I believe that God wants us to notice this morning…That His Son (Jesus) was preparing His disciples for His departure from this world.
- I believe that it is vitally important for us at SBBC to be prepared for my departure. NO, I’m not planning to leave any time soon!
- I am talking about spiritually prepared for the day God calls me home or away. Are you at SBBC ready?
- Note Jesus words in John 17:1…These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
- Jesus here in verse 1 is first of all recognizing the fact that His departure is soon. Jesus knew because He is God in the flesh. I (Ron Wilcoxson) am not God in the flesh so I have no idea of my departure. But as Jesus said here “…glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:”
- SBBC, I pray that God will glorify me, that I may glorify Him. Meaning that I pray that God will use me here at SBBC in a way that you can see God working through me and in me for His purpose.
- So, how do I do that? Go through my checklist. Before each trip we took as a family, we had a checklist (usually prepared by mom) that we would all be involved with in getting the things needed to make our trip a success and pleasurable.
Let us examine Jesus checklist…
- Make sure of Salvation – 2) As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3) And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
- As pastor of the flock of Jesus Christ at SBBC, it is my duty to make sure that all of us are saved, Baptized, and ready to meet the Lord.
- God has given each one in this church to me to “keep” you. To make sure that you are doing as He has commanded. 2. Glorify God in all I do 4a)…I have glorified thee on the earth: One way for me to “keep you” is for me to make sure that I give God the glory for all that I do.
- More importantly is the fact that I need to make sure that I make God look good in all that I do.
- Have I done that?
3. Did I finish the work He has called me to do 4b)…I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
- If I were to be called away today, can I honestly say that I have strived to do all I can to make sure that my work here at SBBC is finished?
4. Have I encouraged them to keep God’s Word? 5) And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. 6) I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
- Have I done that? Have I manifested (made it clear) God’s ways and His expectations of His children?
- Am I teaching things that God has brought to my attention that SBBC needs to know?
- Do I show them by example how to keep God’s Word?
5. Does SBBC know that God has supplied everything? 7) Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
- Have I taught them the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:8 (KJV) …Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
- Does my life show proof that God supplies our needs?
- Does SBBC’s life show the world that God is supplying our needs?
6. Did I give SBBC His word? 8) For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
- God’s word should be recognized as “…a light unto my path,” “…a lamp unto my feet.”
- Do I share more of God’s word in lessons and sermons than my own words?
- It is the word of God that touches the heart of man.
7. Have I prayed for them? 9) I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. 10) And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
- How many hours a week do I spend in prayer for the brethren?
- It is important for us to pray for one another because God gave to us one another.
- Each member of SBBC was given by God to form a church for the deaf here in Wichita where they can serve God and be a light that shines in a dark world.
- We are not to pray for the world because they have not been chosen of God to be His children.
8. Am I in the world? 11a…And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee.
- In this verse 11a, Jesus is accepting the fact that His time has come to depart (leave) this world. Jesus said “…I am no more in the world.”
- I have to accept the fact that I am getting older and that my time is very limited and I need to prepare you (SBBC) for that.
- Are you prepared to have someone else take my place to continue in the same things that I have taught which is that of Christ’s teachings?
9. Am I teaching SBBC to be “one (unity)”? 11b…Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
- After looking back at our church of when we first started up to now, I believe that we have become more in unity than before. We still have farther to go. We still do not understand the concept of “being one” with each other and Christ.
- It is vitally important for us to be “one” with Christ and God and the Holy Spirit as much as it is to be “one” with one another as members of SBBC.
- To be “one” is to learn forgiveness, overlooking faults, acceptance of those we do not understand, trusting in God’s Laws, being subject to one another, sharing everything we have for His purpose.
10. Am I keeping them in God’s name? 12) While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
- How does a pastor “keep his sheep in God’s name?” Jesus kept His disciples in His name by protecting them from the world.
- How does a pastor protect his sheep from the world? How do I protect SBBC from the world?
- First of all, the pastor must realize that he cannot keep them from the world. Only Christ can do that with the redemptive blood that He shed on the cross.
- A pastor can assist Christ by teaching and preaching of the Word every time the church doors are open. It is also a pastor’s duty to teach them about Satan and warn them of his evil and seductive ways.
11. Have I made sure of their “joy” in Christ? 13) And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
- Christ is the only true “joy” in anyone’s life. I am sure you caught this, but Jesus asked the Father “…that they might have my”
- There Christmas song “Joy to the world” is really not a truth. God did not send His Son into the world to give them “joy” and peace.
- John 3:17 (KJV)…For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.Christ did not come to give “joy” to the world. He came to seek and to save that which was lost.
- Matthew 10:34 (KJV) …Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
- Christ did not come to send “Peace on earth and goodwill toward men” He came to bring a sword (God’s Word) to divide and conquer families and churches that oppose darkness.
12. Have I prayed for God to keep them from evil? 14) I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15) I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16) They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
- The evil in this world has increased in its power to seduce believers into false religion, false worship, false goodness, false truths, and fake identities.
Satan’s power has not really increased at all because he has all the power that God will give him and that is it. God is not going to grant satan power to defeat us. We destroy ourselves by the decisions that we make. Satan doesn’t destroy us. We do.
- The power of prayer is what defeats Satan and keeps him away from us.
13. Have I asked God to sanctify them through His truth? 17) Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
- As you have been taught at SBBC, to “sanctify” something is to separate it as God’s. When you sanctify people, you set them apart from the world by teaching them Godly principles, morals and truths.
- We create activities that will hold the interests of the people as a whole that have no worldly interests whatsoever involved with the activity.
- We have worship on God’s day, In God’s house, with God’s people in such a way that it is completely separate from the way that the world thinks that they worship God.
14. Have I taught them the importance of missions? 18) As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
- I understand that deaf are limited in their finances. And I have told you over and over that the reason you are limited to your finances is because God will not bless thieves.
- If you do not give of your tithes and offerings to the Lord, you are a thief. Plain and simple. (see Malachi 3:8-10, Hebrews 7:5.)
- I imagine there is some goofball out there that will say “Jesus and His apostles never taught on tithes and offerings.” I say to them that tithing did not have to be taught or preached much at all because it was an automatic practice just as worship was. They never thought of when or how much they would give…they automatically did it, just like eating a meal.
- Today people want to figure their tithe to the penny and God forbid that we give more than we need to. And then to ask for an offering or give to the building fund or give to missions…that’s just not fathomable.
- The apostles were focused on writing the New Testament focused on the sins at hand, the concerns of God’s people.
- We have to teach and preach today more on tithing because it is not a practice, it is not automatic anymore, it is not the desire of God’s people.
- The world has made sure that you see the importance of giving to worldly pleasures and your own needs first and then give to God what He requires.
- I get sick and tired of Christian rejects saying “All you hear from the preacher every Sunday is about giving money.” Well, if you would give as you are supposed to and do as God has commanded then you wouldn’t hear us preaching it! Plain and simple.
- Don’t you imagine that people of Paul’s day in Antioch and Corinth would sit in the pews rolling their eyeballs and squirming around to say … “There he goes preaching about adultery and idol worshipping again.”
- Have I sanctified myself in the truth? 19) And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
- Have I set myself apart from the world enough that it causes people to say “there goes a man of God.” Does the world look at me and see Jesus?
- If you have to tell someone that you are a Christian, then you are in trouble. You should not have to tell them, they should know.
II. What Has SBBC Taught The World?
A) Pray for other believers
- John 17:20…Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21) That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
- All believers “believe in God.” But they do not know God intimately.
- They don’t server Him as we have learned that God wants our service to be.
B) Teach the world to believe as we believe
- 22) And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23) I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
- It is my duty as pastor and your duty as members of SBBC to share with the world what we have learned through the teaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- The “gospel” message which is “good news” and also the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ but also the death and burial of our sins that one day in the very near future we will all be resurrected as our Lord was.
- So we teach other deaf what we know, or are we more interested in telling “our stories” our gospel?
C) Help us to teach the world to “know” God
- 24) Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. 25) O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. 26) And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
- To “know” God is to love God.
- I Corinthians 8:3 (KJV)…But if any man love God, the same is known of him.
- II Thessalonians 3:5 (KJV) And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.