Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 6. Experiencing the power of the cross . No 24:- Dying to bear fruit

. No 24:- Dying to bear fruit

EXPEREINCING THE POWER OF THE CROSS (SERMON 24)

DYING TO BEAR FRUIT

Introduction.

For the last 23 weeks we have spent much time on a sermon series ‘Experiencing the Power of the Cross’. Next Sunday will be our last sermon, where we will summarise this whole lot. It was to be today, but as it is a long weekend I decided to move the summary sermon one week forward as we have so many people away today. So to be able to move that sermon forward I have decided to throw in one more sermon on the cross, this time entitled, ‘Dying to bear fruit’.

John 12:20-26 (ESV) 20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”

Central to this sermon series has been the fact that in Jesus Christ we died to sin, Satan, the flesh, self, the world, racism and the Law. That is what we call our ‘position in Christ’. Then of course we have the experiential outworking of our position and that is to make dead sin etc. More about that next week. Now, one of our greatest hindrances in applying the experiential outworking I believe lies in the text before us, and by the example Christ set for us.  I believe we do not always understand the seriousness of the death of Christ, just how much He had accomplished on the cross, and the implication for our lives. Yes Christ died for us, but so what? Okay I am dead in Christ to sin Satan and so forth, but so what? Okay, you tell me to make dead what is still alive in me but so what?

Well, the answer to so what, really is that if we die with Christ we will be fruit bearers with Christ, and we will gain eternal life, but if we love our lives so much that we are not willing to die to sin, Satan and so forth we will lose it. If we are willing to lose our lives for the sake of Christ the Father will honour us.

So, let’s put this section into context.

Now, if we went a little back to chapter 12:19 you will notice that Jesus has this triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Just think about it, Jesus comes into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, the crowd goes mad, they throw palm branches on the ground to create a path of honour, and they shout: John 12:13 (ESV) “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” They are in essence quoting Psalm 118:25-26 (ESV) 25 Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord.” So Jesus is their long awaited King, so the question is this. Will He embrace it and set up His throne in Jerusalem, or will he reject their worship of Him?

Now what was taking place is exactly what was prophesied. John 12:14-16 (ESV) 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, 15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” 16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him.”

Remember these Jews had an expectation, they were waiting for their Messiah, and is this Him, is He the ‘ergomai’, ‘the coming one’?  They will remember the words of Zechariah 9:9 (ESV) 9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey”. So Jesus by finding a donkey and sitting on it says to them, I am He!! He clearly says, I am your ‘ergomai’, your coming one, I am your Messiah. I am the King of the Jews.

But do we realise that He was to be more than the King of the Jews? He was to be King of the world.  Even the Pharisees saw this. Look at John 12:17-19 (ESV) 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.” The “whole world”? Really? What an odd thing to say at the beginning of a Jewish festival? Or was it?

That then brings me closer to the message for today which we see in John 12:20-26.

Now we see, this ‘whole world’ idea kick in as the Greeks arrive on the scene. John 12:20-22 (ESV) 20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.”

Why now, why here, at the Passover celebration? I believe that God in His word clearly wants you and me to see that Jesus is not the King of the Jews but He is king of the world, which will be depicted at the cross a few days later when the dividing wall of hostility between Jews and Gentiles is take away at the cross.

Now there are lessons that are going to unfold, and Jesus is going to teach us two lessons, one about Himself and one about us.

1. Christ had to die to bear fruit.

So these Greeks want to see Jesus, and Jesus does not turn them away, even though we see nothing about a meeting in the text as the message of the text is more important. Christ acknowledges the desire of these guys, but then he deflates that desire. John 12:23 (ESV) 23 And Jesus answered them (His disciples), “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”

Now what picture will spring to mind naturally? Okay the Jews cry Hosanna, the Greek wants to see Him, the popularity stakes are high, and now Jesus says: ‘it is time for the Son of Man to be glorified’. Whether they saw Him or not is a non-issue, because very soon anybody who wanted to see Jesus had to see Him in the same way we do. So, church family, think about their expectation, and think about what they wanted to see. Surely if the Son of Man is going to be glorified, you would expect the King of Glory on a throne. Is this not what Jesus prayed a few chapters later in John 17:1 (ESV) “1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,…” and then also in verse 24: “24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”

So what does Jesus mean with ‘Father the hour has come; glorify your Son’? Is this it, the throne in Jerusalem established, and what is this glory He had before? Let me just say this, that even though Jesus could sit on a throne in Jerusalem if He wanted to, that would not have been glorification. How, much glory would it be if Morné Steyn was chosen as Oosskool Bulletjie Rugby captain. Would that be glory? Ask Bones here if he would prefer to exchange his present rugby career for a place in the primary school team? Would it be glorification or humiliation?  No he is beyond it. It will actually be an insult. Now the Bulletjies would love to have him won’t they? To put Jesus on the throne in Jerusalem would not have been glorification, but subjection.

And so Jesus teaches us a very important lesson about Himself and His glorification.

John 12:24 (ESV) 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

Wow, what a statement. Christ is saying that His pathway to glory is via the cross, via death. At the moment Jesus is alone, but when He has died He will bear fruit that will include the Jews and the Gentiles. He will suddenly become King over the lives of people around the world and today the tally stands around 2 Billion. Now we all know that not everybody who claims to be a Christian are, but nevertheless you get the point. Without the death of Christ on the cross of Calvary neither Jew nor Greek will know Jesus as Saviour, Lord and King.

So to see His glory, they had to see Him die. Christ, died to bear fruit, and this leads us to our next point and that is that we must die to bear fruit.

2. We must die to bear fruit.

Now, just think if Jesus valued His earthly life more than the Glory He had with the Father before time. Well, what about us?

Turn to John 12:25-26 (ESV) 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honour him.

Jesus, did not only die for our salvation, but He died for our imitation. Because as He died on the cross we died to sin, Satan, self, the flesh, the World, racism and the Law. In verse 25 and 26 Jesus basically says that if you want to see my Glory become like me. Be willing to walk the road of the Power of the Cross. Yes, sure the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are lost, but for us who believe it is the power of God, it is the Glory of God, and the road of the cross produces fruit that lasts.

Where must we follow Jesus to? We must follow Him to the cross, and look at the great reward. We shall be with Him as He said: ‘where I am, there will my servant be also.’ So Jesus begins with truth about himself—the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified, and this will happen by the grain of wheat falling into the ground and dying. Then he makes the truth about himself a truth about us. Will we hate our lives in this world? Will we follow him on the path to Calvary? Will we serve the Son in this way? Will we let the truth about the Son of Man become truth about us? Will we identify with the one we are so eager to see?

Conclusion.

I do not believe that those Greeks necessarily saw Jesus or were brought to Him. We just do not know for sure. Nevertheless all mankind, them and us included have to see Jesus on a different level and that is the level of faith. If we are going to live our lives for this world alone we will never see His glory, but if we are willing to hate your lives, if we are willing to serve Him and follow Him, we will see His glory.

Christ set the example. He hated His life, laid it down, died, paid the penalty of our sins and today you and I are part of the fruit He bore.

And we need to do us to follow His example.

Church family, this is not easy, it is hard, but it is glorious.

What makes it hard?

  1. Verse 24 makes it hard: the grain of wheat must die. "Unless the grain of wheat fall into the ground and dies . . .” Christ died, it was not easy, we must die, and realise that it is not easy.
  2. Verse 25 makes it hard:  Jesus calls us to hate our lives in this world. "Whoever loves his life loses it; and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life."
  3. Verse 26 a makes it hard: Jesus calls us to follow him—on his Calvary road, leading to death. "If anyone serves me he must follow me . . . "
  4. Verse 26b makes it hard: He calls us to serve him. “If anyone serves me.” To take the role of a waiter at his table to do his bidding, no matter what the demand or how lowly the status.

Nobody has ever said that Christianity is just plain easy. It is not for sissies. Matthew 7:14 (ESV) 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” It is hard to take up your cross and to deny yourself. Yes in Christ we are dead to sin, Satan and everything else, but it is not easy to align our lives with that death status.

But it is glorious. Why?

  1. Verse 24: Because a seed that dies bears much fruit.
  2. Verse 25: Because when we hate this life to the extent that we are willing to lose it we will keep it for eternal life. What we lay down for Christ he will put in our hands again with glory. You cannot out-sacrifice his resurrection generosity.
  3. Verse 26a: Yes, we must follow him on the road to Calvary. But with what outcome? “and where I am, there will my servant be also.“ Jesus used those very words one other time in John 14:3 (ESV) 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
  4. Verse 26b: Yes, we must become his servants which is hard. But, even more glorious is that Jesus says:  "If anyone serves me, the Father will honour him."

Yes the Christian road is hard, but it is glorious. Learn from Christ who died and therefore He bore much fruit and then say with Paul today, that you have concluded this that when one died namely Jesus Christ you died, but yet you still die on a daily basis to sin, Satan, self, the flesh, the World, racism and the Law. And as you do that you reap fruit for eternal life, and you have this guarantee that one day you will be with Him where He is.

Don’t waste your life Christian by trying to hang onto it, rather lose it and gain that which is eternal. Yes, He died for our Salvation and we are dead in Him, but He died for our imitation, so daily we take up our cross and we die in Him as we through His death become victorious by making dead that which is still alive in us.

It is not easy, but it is glorious. If you are going to live for sin, Satan, the flesh, self, the world and the Law, then you will get what sin Satan, the flesh, self, the world and the Law can do for you. But if you die to it, then you will get what Christ can do for you which is to give you life eternal. So, again, it is no easy road, but it is a glorious road.

Amen!

Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church:- 22 September 2013