Saturday, March 20, 2010

'Successful Prep for Coming Struggles'

These are my sermon notes from Sunday night, if you trust my note-taking. Dr. Chris presided.

Matthew 26:36-41

36Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." 37He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."
39Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."
40Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. 41"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."


We need ...

I. The Big Group (vs. 36) He took all the disciples to the garden. Jesus surrounded himself with people. Luke 4:16 reminds us that Jesus was a regular churchgoer, standing in the synagogue to read. Jesus was 100 percent God, but he was also 100 percent man, and in his humanity, Jesus needed people.

(Illustration: After surgery, one church member missed five weeks of services. She had sermons to listen to on CD and while that was good, she said 'it wasn't like being in church; it's not the same." We need to 'gather together.'

II. The Small Group (v. 37) -- He took his three best friends from that group ahead with him -- Peter, James and John. We need two or three CLOSE Christian friends. Not everyone has that.

How Do Close Friends Benefit Us?

1. Gives us someone to share trouble with

2. Gives us someone to pray with

3. Gives us encouragement; nearness encourages. Friends are a gift from God. Invest your life WITH others; this builds up spiritual muscles.

4. Gives us someone who will be honest with us.

5. Gives us someone who will pray FOR us

If Jesus the man needed to pray and go to church, how much more do WE need that?

Also, this story should keep us humble. Peter, James and John were called to pray at this time and they failed. If they can fail, we know there is a danger of us failing at times, at important, crucial times. Though Peter, James and John had been faithful the day before and the month before, they needed to be available for Jesus on THIS DAY, at this time. And they fumbled. This reminds us that we need time with Jesus each day ... We don't know when the tidal waves of life are coming, but they will come...And as Peter, James and John did days later and the rest of their lives, they remained faithful; they put this fumble behind them and kept following Jesus.