New Hope Notes
Pastor Jon Burgess
I am so glad you’re here today to celebrate what Jesus did for us on the Cross that makes everything new! Revelation 21:5 NIV says, “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then He said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
After celebrating the glories of what Jesus did for us on the Cross, it doesn’t seem that it’s finished because we look at our life and nothing seems new! We are still living in the now and not yet. If we’re not careful, cynicism can creep into what we feel about God and His promises. Jesus said, “I am making everything new.” You say, “But God, look at my marriage, nothing’s changed! My job situation has not changed for the last couple of years.” So today, I want to talk about the reality of The Resurrection…
1. In The Presence Of Our Cynicism His Presence Brings Us Fresh Vision.
After His resurrection, Jesus walks up to two men walking on the road to Emmaus. Luke 24:17-19, 30-32, NIV says, “17He asked them, ‘What are you discussing together as you walk along?’ They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, ‘Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’19 ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘About Jesus of Nazareth,’ they replied. ‘He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.’”
Jesus does not reveal Himself but lets them tell their stories of woe, discouragement, of sadness, of feeling that things were still left unfinished, that their hope was in Jesus and now He’s dead!
Jesus wants to meet you on the road of your cynicism. He’s not shutting you down; but saying, “Tell me what’s on your heart,” and His presence brings fresh vision for your relationships, finances, etc. We need to rediscover Jesus in the reality of The Resurrection, allowing Him to invade the difficult things of our life that frustrate us when we have given up.
In the shadow of this unfinished work, some may be thinking, “Nothing will change. I have sinned, failed, and have fallen when I should have stood by faith.” Jesus is setting a table for you and asking, “Do you love me? Don’t let failure define you; let it refine you!”
We must first share what's on our heart with Jesus and be honest because out of honesty comes clarity for a fresh vision! If we stuff our failures inside and say, “Oh, I'm a Christian, I'm not supposed to feel that way.” No, be honest with Jesus. He already knows how you're feeling. Sit down at the table, spend time in His word, tell Him what's going on, and He will break bread and serve you fresh vision right in the middle of your discouragement because…
2. In The Presence Of Our Devastation His Presence Brings Us Restoration.
The disciples are doing what they know how to do, fish. Just as with the guys on the road to Emmaus, Jesus doesn't reveal Himself because He wants them to rediscover who He is.
John 21:10-15 NIV says, “Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, ‘Come andhave breakfast.’
None of the disciples dared ask him, ‘Who are you?’ They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples. (Peter didn't deny Jesus just once or twice but three times—then this intimate conversation a one?on?one with Jesus and Peter takes place.) 15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ’Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘You know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’”
Jesus asked Peter three times (the exact amount of times that Peter had denied Jesus) and begins to restore Peter. I love the beauty and intimacy of this that Jesus would set up a table in the presence of Peter's devastation!
It is so important that we meet Jesus in the place of our failure because failure is a place of reference—not a place of residence! What Jesus was doing as He restored Peter to his call as a disciple was, “You may have failed, but that doesn't make you a failure, Peter.”
Are you feeling a sense of hopelessness, guilt, and shame about your failure and don’t want anybody to know about it because you believe that if you acknowledge your failure, people will reject you? This reminds me of a painful subject I believe needs to be addressed:
Six years ago while I was pastoring in Seattle, Pastor Wayne asked me to pray because he would be addressing our New Hope ohana about their campus pastor James Craft’s adulterous moral failure, which occurred before he moved to Hawaii. He had become very depressed and thought that by moving to Hawaii he would leave it behind; however, when it comes to sin, Matthew 10:26 NIV says, “…there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” The sin we feel that can be kept secret will be obvious to everyone!
Pastor Wayne (in his masterful, caring, shepherding way) addressed the reality of the sin that James was caught in. Our New Hope ohana felt a sense of betrayal that one of our leaders did this; however, Pastor Wayne urged us not to attack the family but to pray for James and his restoration. Jesus does not destroy or devastate us; He restores us as He did with Peter.
After several years, I can confidently say (having communicated with James and Pastor Wayne) that James is fully restored from his many years of addiction to pornography that led to his adultery. Many would have looked at his life and said that his calling (ability to lead his family and church) was over, but his wife and daughters have stood by him and he is surrounded by biblical counselors. James has walked the same road that Jesus was inviting Peter to walk in that, “Failure does not define but refine.”
I saw in a recent interview with Pastor Wayne and Pastor Craft that they have started a ministry called The Novus Project of going into schools and talking to students about the dangers of pornography and being aware of what’s going on the Internet. James and his wife have also started a ministry of speaking with pastors and staff of different churches about the awareness of entanglement to pornography and sexual addiction, and to bring healing to marriages, families, and churches when that happens. What a story of redemption and resurrection reality!
If there’s unfinished business in your life that you’ve ignored (thinking it will just go away), take James’ and Peter’s stories and know that when you bring it into the light it’s to heal—not to destroy, expose, or shame!
We have all failed, fallen, and denied Jesus at some point; He’s looking us in the eyes asking, “Do you love me?” If the answer is yes, then the possibilities are endless because of what The Resurrection accomplished for every one of us. Let’s walk out that freedom today!
[End video] Pastor Jon continues in person…
3. In The Presence Of Our Enemies His Presence Brings Us Victory.
Following Jesus is not always comfortable! It was in a place of desperation and pain when Jesus was on the cross that He literally quoted the Psalm of the Cross Psalm 22:1 NIV,“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus had spent his entire existence connected to the Triune of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And this is the first time ever that He has known separation from His Father—when He took upon Himself the sin of the world.
If it weren't for Psalm 22, we couldn't have Psalm 23, the Psalm of the Shepherd. Were it not for Jesus’ separation, we would not know salvation. If it weren’t for His suffering, we would not know healing. If it weren’t for all of the things He went through, we would not be united with our God. We can't have Easter without Good Friday. We understand that Psalm 23 is the fulfillment of The Resurrection reality. We are able to spend our entire life walking through the most difficult and awkward situations because Jesus went through them andresurrected!
Psalm 23:1-3 NIV says, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters. He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.” Some of you have been going and going without rest; its proof you need refreshing! When you drink from Jesus’ endless reservoir, He begins to speak into the situations that frustrate you, such as, times when you become sarcastic and cynical to people you love the most. These are signs that you need to listen to the Shepherd when He’s making you lie down!
Psalm 23: 4 KJV says, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, (NIV) I will fear no evil for You are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” You may say, “No! I don’t want to go there,” but the Shepherd says, “You must go through this valley; I will be with you and bring you comfort.”
Psalm 23: 5a NIV says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”Imagine a meal with your Lord and being surrounded by your enemies. Couldn’t He just vanquish them? No, He wants to bring you victory in the presence of our enemies!
We celebrate the reality that Jesus conquered sin, death, and hell on the Cross, and one day in the fullness of eternity, our enemies won’t be around the table at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. But right now in a fallen world among fallen people, it is impossible to sit and eat at a table with Jesus and not be in the presence of our enemies.
Jesus is saying, “Will you trust me? I have conquered your enemies and they have no power over you.” Surrender control to Jesus and trust Him with your enemies. The enemies of your souls are not only people, they could be things that drag you down, such as, addictions or things that have been passed down from generations that threaten you saying, “You will never be free!” But if you are willing to sit with Jesus and let Him work through you, you could know the victory of The Resurrection if you let Him heal you through His Word.
Psalm 23: 5b NIV says, “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” God is saying, “Hey, you’re not half empty or half full. You are overflowing with abundance of joy in the middle of your circumstances and situations.”
Psalm 23: 6 NIV says, “Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Whatever Jesus has provided for us in heaven, we could enjoy the fullness of it here and now, if we take a seat at His table and hold Him to His Word and let Him take care of our enemies.
Psalm 78:19 NIV says, “They (Israelites) spoke against God; they said, ‘Can God really spread a table in the wilderness?’” When they were thirsty in the wilderness, He brought water from a rock. When they were hungry, He brought bread from heaven, called manna. When they were tired of the manna, He brought quail to give them meat. Did God prepare a table for them in the wilderness? Yes, He did. But they refused to have a seat!
To take a seat at His table is to let Jesus have control of your life—surrender. Don’t put it off. Enjoy what He has prepared for you through the Cross and The Resurrection. See your enemies conquered today, by taking a seat at His table and receiving the free gift of salvation.