Reality recognizes healthy people. Reality always shows up. It’s tough telling the truth. Maybe we worry too much about ourselves. Man cannot live between Christ and Barabbas. Must choose one of the two. The world hates Christ. Be healthy and learn what this means. There will be day whe
n God will say, Well done. (John 18:36-40)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
Sermon # 11660
7:00 PM on 4/10/2019
Let’s just praise God for a few different things. First, our sins are forgiven. Let’s work on that. Say it a little bit. My sins are forgiven. Go ahead. Praise God. My sins are forgiven. Think of the worst sin you can ever commit. One of those very ugly ones. You’re shocked. You’re shocked that you did it. Then think of this: My Father has forgiven me. He has forgiven me. Isn’t that amazing? Of all my sin. Praise God. Praise the Lord. Thank Him. Use your mouth. Praise God. Halleluiah, halleluiah, halleluiah.
The message tonight I want you to turn to Jn 18. This is not the message just to give you Barabbas, Barabbas, Barabbas. Say that with me, Barabbas, Barabbas, Barabbas.
Remember Ex. 23:2. Have you ever been caught up in a group and they don’t have good ideas. Huh? A group on the street, a group at a school, a group in your neighborhood but they are going to do evil. Do not follow, how many? What does it say? A multitude to do evil. This is a group.
Now, it happened in Jn. 18. By the way, I read somewhere that the psychologists say that when you have a group, a mob in the street, they have a mentality of a 3 year old. They are ready to throw things. They are not thinking rationally. They are very emotional. And you are in the midst of that group. Street mob.
Jn. 18:40, who cried out? They all cried out. They were a group, a multitude, and they did not realize it or maybe they did. It was energized by Satan the prince of the power of the air and Christ was taken and crucified. A group of people who persuaded Pontius Pilate to do that. This was a point of contest, a place where two ways meet.
That is said in Acts 27 if you turn there with me. Looks like I might just keep preaching here.
Acts 27, they are in a ship in the sea. They have lost their sails, their oars, and their way of guiding, direction.
They did point the ship towards land in the hurricane or cyclone and in vs. 41, falling into a place where two seas met. I think it will provoke your thinking and will be useful in guiding us in the day we are living today. We are in a world where two seas meet. Or where there are two trees that were in the garden. Remember the tree of life and then the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the midst of the garden. It seems like the contest is right there and there is something about your life and my life where we are put in a place where two seas meet. It’s a good thing. It’s like Moses when God met him at the burning bush and God spoke to his heart. There was one part of Moses that you know, I can’t go back to Egypt, these are my words, and I’m out of Egypt. That’s way past in my life, 40 years ago. I have no interest in going back there. But when God said go back to Egypt, this is a place where two seas met. It was a place of decision. In some places it’s a time of crisis. Sometimes we should be hungry or thirsty for the place where two worlds are meeting. Two ideas, the truth and the lie. When Jesus was before Pilate, truth was on his side. He was in reality with God. The world was in darkness and the devil had the crowd. We could say a low class mentality, not thinking, not wise, not patient, not prayerful. Not focused, but led in a dumb spirit or an energized spirit against Christ. Have you ever found yourself in a place where two seas meet where you have decided which way do I go? How do I think about it? How do I process this? What is happening?
I was thinking of the ministry today and all the faithful people and the work that goes on around the world and you folks here tonight. I was thinking what a blessing it is that at some point in our life we met God. When we met God, we made some big, big decisions. It was a place where maybe I was a minority or all alone. God called me alone. I didn’t have a group behind me saying, yeah, yeah, go for it, but instead it was secret in the heart. A decision in the heart. That’s how it goes for you and me. It hasn’t stopped.
I think we are continually in that place and in the story of John 18, we see how the story went and I think we can make some observations on it. I think we’ll do it after the offering.
Okay. Ready? Turn to Jn 18 please. We are being prepared for the day when we will be in a similar situation as Christ was in. He was before Pilate in chapter 18 and we can start reading from vs. 37. A king. Amazing. Do you believe that? He was born a king. King of the Jews. The Jews did not receive him as king because he was so poor and destitute without material power, military power, political power, even turned away from him and would not accept him. He is a king without a kingdom it appears. He is a king without a throne. He is a king with so little. How about you and I. We are Christians in the United States of America or wherever God’s people, not our people, but God’s people are everywhere in the world. We are at the other end of the story. We are the people who have been sent like sheep into the midst of the wolves. We are the people not in control of NBC or Fox News or control of the New York Times or Washington Post or the local universities. God’s people are there. But our way of thinking, our philosophy about life, our doctrines, and our spirit are not received in the world. We are different. I love that.
I remember when one parent said to me I had to talk to my son and he said to me, Dad, I don’t want to be different. He said you are different. You are different. You are in this family. You are different. You are saved. You are different. You have a capacity for God. You are different.
Christ is in this world and the world knew him not. He was different. Pilate kind of feels it. Maybe smells it. In the pagan world, a man could say he’s a god, and in the pagan world they could believe that. In our world, it’s western culture and if someone said they were a god, we might put them in a hospital. But back then it could be possible that the gods are amongst us. That this man is a god. He does miracles. I heard the story, Pilate could say. I think Pilate is very concerned about it. But as we see in the story, he’s not really in charge completely. The multitude is. The popular opinion, the voice that is the loudest. Who can shout the loudest? Who can get beyond the reasoning and the intellectual approach to problems and do the popular thing and push that? Wow, we’ve seen a lot of that happen in the last decade. A lot of pushing and shoving and talking and intimidation and phobia this and phobia that. You people are this homophobic and this phobic and that phobic. You have to say really?
Let’s make point #2 here. Jesus is healthy. He’s healthy. I’m reading a little bit about teenagers and the problems they wrestle with in their emotions when something unjust happens or they are mistreated. It’s not only teenagers but adults. How sensitive we are. How emotional we can be because of being mistreated and stomping off like this. Angry about it. I have to have a bigger kind of sense about myself in a better way. I want to say to myself, I want to be a healthy person. Spiritually healthy person. I want to be simple, blessed, encouraged, have content of thought. Meditate, enjoy truth. Worship God. Hear from God. Forgive people a lot. Like a teenager doesn’t clean his room. He’s angry about it. He’s penalized. His parents have mistreated him. He’s rippin angry about the whole thing. We can understand it. We don’t provoke our children unto wrath. On the other hand, the child needs to be disciplined. The child needs to be talked to, encouraged. What’s wrong with cleaning your room? You’ll be happier if you just obey your parents and do what your parents are saying. You will find there is a blessing in that so look for that blessing. When someone cuts you off on the highway, don’t start swearing under your breath like I do sometimes. When I do that, I say what is wrong with me? I am so petty. May everyone go ahead of me! Everyone please go ahead. Your life is more important than mine. I have no problem. I live with God. It’s okay. Praise you Lord. Go ahead. May the whole world go ahead of me. What is in your mind regarding your life in terms of where we are going? We must become healthy like Jesus.
There was a missionary famous who was martyred in Ecuador back in 1956. His name was Jim Elliot. He prayed this prayer: “Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road. Make me a fork that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.”
Make me a crisis man. Meaning when you show up, there is a fork in the road that people are confronted with. I’ll go my way or I would like to follow this man. This man is actually healthy. His name is Christ in the story. He’s standing before Pontius Pilate. He’s going to be murdered in a few hours, in a short time. In a few hours he’ll be murdered hanging on a tree, but he’s healthy. He’s a healthy man. He is ready for the crisis. He is ready for the fight. He is ready for the injustice. He is ready to be mistreated. He is ready to be killed, stepped upon, thrown away. But listen. Reality recognizes healthy people. Or healthy people are living in reality. It may take time but reality always surfaces. Reality always speaks. Reality always shows up.
I was thinking of a rich man hypothetically that has a lot of money. There was that man Getty – not hypothetically but literally who had a huge fortune. I saw a movie about him one time. Using him as an example. He invented a supertanker for hauling oil around the world from Moravia, billions and billions of dollars. I was thinking of a rich man on his death bed and the lust for money burning in his soul as he is dying. Reality has shown up at the death bed. At the death bed, death is there at the door.
What can I do about it? I haven’t been living in reality. I’ve been living in my world. Christ is before Pilate and he got to be on his side. You have to be like him. You have to be living in the Spirit of God and learning and growing and becoming healthy like him because the day is coming when the crowd will be looking at you and Barabbas. That crowd of people aren’t going to call out your name. You are a righteous man. They will not call out your name. You are a man with godly convictions. You are a man of the truth. You are a man of the Spirit. You are a man of God. You are a woman of God. You have the mind of Christ. You have conviction in your life and you are healthy. As a teenager, you grow up like if I can obey mom and dad and be part of the family and help mom and dad. Mom, do you want me to get the groceries out of the car? Dad, do you want me to help you power wash the patio? Mom, can I help you clean up the dishes? What do you want me to do for you, mom? It’s great to be a healthy kid in our house. What would that do in a family? Parents also being healthy. It’s tough raising a family. Facing challenges. It’s rough running a business and being honest. It’s tough telling the truth as much as possible. It’s tough saying sorry, I failed. Sorry. Forgive me. It’s tough going to bed at night wondering about your own self and worried about it. Maybe we worry too much about ourselves and it would be much better focusing on the objectivity of the Scripture and speak it to yourself.
Let the Word of God dwell in you richly, abundantly. Let it be fitted in your lips and speak the Bible verses at home and put it up in the bathroom and in your rooms and wherever you want to do it and write one on the windshield of your car. I don’t mean it in a religious way. I mean it to inspire you and encourage you and me that man cannot live in between Christ and Barabbas.
A man has to be locked solid on and hooked up with, engaged with this healthy person. Because his health is God’s reality. God is love. So is Christ. God is power. So is Christ. God is wisdom. So is Christ. God is faithful. So is Christ. God is patient. So is Christ. How about you and I? We’re looking for it. We’re learning it. Help me because I’m a coward. I just want you to know. I’m like everybody. I have the privilege of standing up here standing bold and courageous but in my flesh dwells no good thing. I’m an enemy of Christ in my flesh. I don’t have the mind, the wisdom, the conviction.
I see a lot of passivity in the world regarding the things of God. People in the world are more caring about the unimportant things than they are caring about their soul. Imagine a man living all his life and doesn’t care about his soul. Imagine. He cares about his IPhone but what about his soul? His girlfriend but what about his soul? His reputation but what about his soul? He is not living in God’s Spirit. But you are.
Sometimes we get the idea we congratulate ourselves that we went to a Wednesday night service. We should flip that around. That oh my, God you care about us that you feed us on a Wednesday night. You care about us that it will ring ding a ling in our heart. And speak to our soul about eternity and about our heavenly Father and the way of God and the mind of God. And prepare us because there is a day where you will be there before the leader and the leader has the power with the whole multitude and they will say get rid of that guy. He is a weirdo. But you know what is a paradox? Get beyond the crowd, get beyond what the crowd is saying and Pilate and get beyond being quietly with him and you hang on every word. You wish you could look like him, speak like him, think like him, love like him. If you get beyond the chatter and the power in the atmosphere that will crucify him and call him a weirdo, there are many that secretly love him.
Because nobody speaks to me like him, Luke 4:32. Nobody can be as confident and say, verily, verily I say to you except Jesus Christ. Christ is the answer and you and I are in this story. Really we are. Both ways we are Barabbas. Barabbas means in the language here BAR means son of and ABBA means father. He is the son of the father. Barabbas is a generic word for the man’s name. Son of the father. Every son is a son of the father. Some say his father is the devil. He is the son of the father, the devil, and Christ is the son of his father, God. They are in contest in this world. Who knows the way between these two? There is nobody. Son of the devil, the son of God and in between we are either one and there is nobody in between. We are like Barabbas. A robber, a murderer, a liar, a seducer, a seditionist, and a treasonist. He is the enemy of the Roman Empire. He’s arrested for treason, sedition, conspiracy, murder as well. Put in jail. The filth of the world. That day, Passover day, let me say something about the history of it. Passover was the time when the Jews got out of Egypt. They celebrated their liberation from Egypt. Rome got the idea that we will complement the Jews for their holiday by taking a criminal out of prison and releasing him. I don’t think it’s a good idea to take any criminal out of jail and release him. They did and the Jews accepted it. This was Pilate’s maneuver here. We’ll finish up with the story.
vs. 35-40. Last thing we could say about this. We can be prepared when the world will say about you and I, give us Barabbas. They would rather have Muslims than Christians. They would rather have atheists than believers. They would rather have people that are dishonest and lying and cheating. By the way, if I am in this political process here in the United States of America, I should have a sense of what I am voting for and who I am voting for and what is their character and nature. Because I might be voting with a group of people for nothing less than a Barabbas. I am inconsequentially saying get rid of him. Get rid of him. Get rid of them. They are nothing but problems to us. Yes, because we are in a place where two seas meet. We are in a place of contest and you don’t like the contest but this is reality. I don’t force it on you. We are not forcing it on anyone in the United States. We are people that in our country say you have freedom of religion and if you have another religion, that’s your decision and your business. We live side by side next to Buddhist, Hindus, Communists – whatever it may be. We are living in a free country that gives its citizens this right of worship. The contest isn’t me picking a fight with Barabbas. The contest is the world hates Christ. The contest is not that we are causing the problem. The contest is that we are representing a spiritual kingdom and another spiritual kingdom recognizes you. It recognizes that you are different. It recognizes you have a different spirit, different mind, and different relationship. It recognizes that there is some meat here. Salt. Some kind of thing happening. You and I are healthy people that are saying, come on. It’s okay. Whenever we are in a place where two seas meet and God is with us. God said to Moses, go back to Egypt. We say yes I’m on your side. And then a good thing happened. They came out of Egypt by the power of God. A good thing happened. When the ship was destroyed in the sea, it said everyone washed up on the shore. I was thinking of Paul up on the beach with sand. You know how when you’re all wet and the sand is sticking to you and you are lying there exhausted. The boards from the broken ship start floating up and the people hanging on them. They all come washing up. An hour later, another person comes floating up a board. Paul is there and he can count them. How many? 176 or am I wrong. Was it 276? It’s in Acts 27. Don’t worry about the detail. You know what Paul knew? God had said the ship would be destroyed but everybody will be saved. Everybody. Do you think he sat down on the beach and wept and said thank you God. It’s just like you said.
When you are in a place where two seas meet, and you say there is God and there is drugs. You say I’m going with God. I find health in God. I found a new way in God. I got a new way kind of thing happening from God in my heart. That place where two seas meet and you end up finding God is with you in that place. By the way, even if you fail like Adam and Eve in the garden, and there are two trees and they choose the wrong way, God does not give up on you. God’s grace is sufficient. God restores you. God is your Father. He wants to show you his grace and make you healthy. He’ll lead you in and out and guide you because he is the Good Shepherd.
In Jn. 10, we hear his voice and he calls us by name and he leads us in and out to good pasture. His church is not about perfect people. It’s about people that are willing to embrace God and find God in the crisis, in the conflict and do battle with the devil. Please, be healthy and learn what that means.
As you are here and we are together through these decades and years and months, the Spirit will be faithful to help you and teach you and lead you. When that day comes out and they cry out for Barabbas, you’re going to say well, the preacher said so. I guess this was going to happen. The preacher said so. The Bible said so but my biggest part in this is I’ve got God’s spiritual ammunition. I’ve got a reality on my side. They may throw me away but I’ll be back in three days. They may crucify me but I will be raised on the third day. They may take all the money away but my life is not money. My life is God. My reputation may bite the dust, but don’t worry about it because reality is on my side. And there will be a day when God will call you by name and say well done my good and faithful servant. Those words will be a lot better than what a newspaper says about you or a brick in the center of town or spray painted on a rock on the highway “Debbie loves Johnny.” It’s a better declaration. Well done my good and faithful servant because you found health in me and you showed up and you were there. Amen.
I just sense the Spirit. The Spirit of God here. The visitation of God. Really, this is amazing. Recognize it. Talk it up. Share with your friend that the service is anointed. God spoke to my heart. Spread the word. Share it with people. Encourage them in the faith. We are getting ready. One day the trumpet will blow and we are going. We are going up. Wow. And when we go, we are going to say we knew about this a little bit when we were on the earth. We sensed it. We knew the Spirit. We knew this mind. We have been church goers and the Spirit is our teacher. It’s great.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.