Monday, November 28, 2011

Come to Jesus

Dear Friends, the following article is based on a sermon I preached at the Gurgaon Christian Fellowship Church (GCFC) in Gurgaon.  It is an exhortation to believers in Jesus Christ and also an invitation to those who do not know Jesus as their Savior, to come to Jesus for true peace and encouragement that only He can give.  GCFC is my local church and is where I am involved in the ministry of preaching and teaching the Word of God. 
In case you have any questions after reading this or would like to know more about the Lord Jesus Christ please feel free to write an email to me at

Your Brother In Christ

Eric A. Trott
(All Scripture Verses are in bold and from the New International Version Bible)

Come to Jesus for Peace, Encouragement and Victory
The Reality of Living in a Fallen World
Someone said, “Make Sundays your strong days and your week days won’t be weak days”.  While that may be true to a great extent, I would say that it is first of all often a little easier said than done.  And the truth is that we need to make all our days ‘strong days’.  At Church on Sundays or at our House Groups, Cell Groups or Bible Study Groups, we are all conscious that we are God’s children and we manage to stay on our best behavior.  But come Monday and the whole week after that, or outside the cozy fellowship of Church gatherings and support groups, we spend our time in an altogether different world at office, college, school or interacting with our neighbors.  It is a world which is fallen and far from perfect.  And though not everything out there is or appears to be dark and dismal, it is a world where we definitely do experience things that disturb us, or at least, discourage us. It is a world where we face all kinds of challenges.  There are people who provoke us, deadlines we must meet, temptations, attractions, distractions, troubles, tribulations and all kinds of struggles. And then there is always the possibility of something unexpected and unpleasant suddenly coming up and completely rocking our boat. So how can we overcome all these difficult situations we encounter every day in the world in which we live and then come on Sunday to Church, into the congregation of the Saints, victorious and with rejoicing as we should, instead of coming so beaten up and defeated as we often do? Is that really possible? After all, the Bible does tell us (Romans 8:37) that we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. Does it not?

Come to Jesus
What does Jesus say?   He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28. It is only in Jesus that we will find the resources we need.
Now let us look at another scripture verse which is going to be our main scripture reference: in this verse Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.
Jesus says, “I have told you these things…” What things is He talking about?  In John 13 we see the episode of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet where he tells them of what is going to happen to Him. He tells them how after a little while He would have to leave them and He predicts His betrayal by Judas and also Peter’s denial.   His disciples when they heard this, were greatly disturbed and the Bible tells us in the Words of Jesus Himself that they were filled with grief: “Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things.” John 16:6.
 Jesus sensed the horror and anxiety of His disciples, so in John 14 to 16 we see how He comforts them with the assurance of an eternity that they would ultimately spend with Him in a place He Himself would prepare for them and He tells them how He is the Only Way by which they would get there. Then Jesus clearly warns them that while they remained on earth before He comes back, they would have troubles and persecution but that He would ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit to help them.  And Jesus concludes these words of encouragement saying, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Now there are three things Jesus mentions here: The first is Peace, “that you may have peace…”, The second has to do with Encouragement, “take heart…” and the third is about Victory, “I have overcome…”    What happens to us or what can possibly happen to us when we are suddenly confronted with a very difficult situation?  I think the first thing that happens to me is that I seem to lose my peace. If the situation gets worse or does not show improvement after some time I could get discouraged and ultimately discouragement could lead to a sense of defeat. Right?  The disciples were conceivably going through all of this.  What Jesus told them had disturbed them.  They would have lost their peace.  They could have been quite discouraged and were probably already starting to feel defeated.  Suddenly all their hopes and aspirations seemed to be dashed.  So Jesus knew that what the disciples needed was an antidote to all the emotional trauma they were going through. And that antidote was peace and encouragement and the assurance that He was going to enable them to be victorious ultimately.   
Jesus knows that you and I have the same needs today when faced with situations that overwhelm us and He is ready to meet those needs if we will only come to Him unreservedly and whole heartedly.

Come to Jesus for Peace
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27.  It is very important for us to understand that the Peace that Jesus gives is different from the peace the world knows. 
Firstly, the Peace of Christ is a peace in spite of trouble or in the midst of troubles all around.  'A story is told of an artist who was asked to paint ‘a picture of peace’.  He painted a picture of a raging storm.  It showed the trees being blown by the fierce wind, an overcast sky, pelting sleet and people running for shelter, struggling to keep their clothing from being torn away from them by the breeze.  It was indeed a perfect depiction of a most terrifying thunder storm.  But in one corner of the painting was a rock which at first glance was almost unnoticeable and sheltered from the violent tempest and all its fury in a small cleft in that rock was a little bird, perched there peacefully and watching the hurricane outside.' The peace the world knows is a peace which means the absence of trouble.  But the Peace of Christ is from within and is not dependant on the circumstances all around.   That is why the world cannot understand it.  The Apostle Paul in the Bible says to the Philippian Church, “… the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7. His Peace transcends all understanding.
Secondly, the Bible says, in the same verse that the Peace of Christ guards our hearts and minds, whereas the peace the world knows of is very fragile and needs itself to be guarded. That is why we have the army on our national borders to guard the peace of the nation. Imagine that there were two mansions, one made of glass and the other made of iron and you had the choice of living in either of the two.  Suppose you chose to live in the glass house, between the house and you, who would be guarding who?  Obviously you would have to guard the house from thieves who would try to break in or someone who might want to throw stones or probably from the little boys playing cricket in the street.  On the other hand, if you chose to live in the house made of iron, between the house and you, who would protect who?  Would not the house protect you from any danger from outside? The peace of the world is like a glass house that needs to be heavily guarded.  But the Peace of Christ is like the iron house. It will guard you from all harm.
Thirdly, Christ Himself is our Peace. The Bible says in the words of Paul to the Ephessian church, “Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,” Ephesians 2:11-14.  He, Jesus, was the One who made Peace between God and us by giving His life on the Cross. The Bible says that we were previously enemies of God because of our sins and objects of His wrath.    “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Romans 5:9. Once we were separated from God by our sins but He reconciled us with God through His sacrifice for us on the Cross. As the prophet Isaiah said long ago, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isa 53:5-6.   Jesus paid the price for our sins on the Cross so that we could have the true Peace of God which is Peace with God.  Therefore only He can give us the true Peace we need because He Himself is our Peace.
Do you need real Peace today?  Come to Jesus! He will give you True Peace, His Peace which is Peace with God. This is the real Peace that we all need.

Come to Jesus for Encouragement
The disciples were very discouraged that Jesus was going away and they were as we have seen earlier, filled with grief (John 16:5).  So Jesus encourages them saying, “Do not let your hearts be troubled…” John 14:1.  In John 16:33 He says again, “Take heart…”
True words of encouragement give hope. 
Jesus encourages His disciples first of all by giving them a lasting hope.  It was a hope of a future with Him for all eternity which He Himself would prepare for them.  He said to them, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:1-3
Today Jesus offers you and me that same Hope. The Bible calls it our Blessed Hope: “while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,” Titus 2:13. It is the Hope for the day that Jesus Himself will come back to take us with Him to the place He has Himself prepared for us. O what a Glorious Hope that is! But Alas! Few of us may really understand it. 
In order for us to try and comprehend the Hope we have we need to first realize how hopeless we are or were without Christ and what He has done for us.  The Bible says we were reserved for Hell because of our sins. What is hell like? Jesus says and it is recorded in The Bible that it is a place of fire:  “…And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” Matthew 5:22; and “…It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.” Matthew 18:9.  Anyone who has been burnt by fire will know that there are perhaps few things that are more painful than that. I believe that the sufferings of this world are a small taste of hell and that if you could put all the pain, suffering, bitterness, anguish, hate and everything evil in the world together and then multiply it by infinity we would get a feeling of what hell really is.
But Praise be to God, through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross and by His Resurrection from the dead, we have the hope of eternal life with Him in Heaven.  What is Heaven like? I am convinced that it is absolutely the opposite of hell and even more.  So if the goodness of this life were a small taste of heaven, then if you put together "all that is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy" and multiply it all by infinity, you might get an idea of heaven. I believe that is why in Philippians 4:8 Paul asks us to think about such things. But even that would not give us the complete picture as the Bible also says “However, as it is written:  “What no eye has seen,    what no ear has heard,   and what no human mind has conceived” —    the things God has prepared for those who love him—“.  1Corinthians 2:9.  If only we can understand how great and awesome this Hope really is then all our other challenges would be nothing to us. As Paul says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2Corinthians 4:16-17.  All our troubles would be “light and momentary” in comparison to the Hope we have. Hallelujah! 

Let me add this quote that a friend sent me just a few minutes ago. I don’t know why he keeps sending me such quotes but right now this one is so apt and perfectly timed:
“How sweet is the rest after fatigue! How sweet will heaven be when our journey is ended. – George Whitefield.”
True words of encouragement give assurance. 
Jesus not only gave His disciples a Hope for eternity, He also gave them the assurance of the promised Holy Spirit.   Jesus says “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” John 14:15-19.
Jesus promises them that the Holy Spirit would come and dwell in them and that the Father and He would dwell in them through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He said, “…Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” John 14:23. They would never be alone but His presence would be in them. In fact the entire Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit would dwell in them. What a tremendous assurance!
Friends, don’t you know that today you and me who have put our trust in the Lord Jesus for salvation too have this same assurance of God personally dwelling within us as His Temple? The Bible says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;” 1Corinthians 6:19. What we need is to be filled with the Holy Spirit more and more.  We can if we will only allow Him to fill us. Come to Jesus.  Just ask Him and He will fill you with the Holy Spirit.

True words of encouragement do not give false promises. 
Jesus did not promise the disciples there would be no troubles or persecution but rather a means by which they would be able to overcome them. He told them clearly that they would have to suffer these things. He said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’  If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’ John 15:18-25.  Jesus tells his disciples how they would be hated and persecuted on account of Him.  He also tell them the reason why this would happen.  The people of the world will do this to disciples because the world neither knew The Father nor Him.  “They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.” John 16:3.
Today we too will suffer persecution on account of Him because the world does not know Him. And the Bible says that we should not be surprised when that happens as if something strange were happening to us. The Word of God says, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 1Peter 4:12.  Jesus does not make false promises.  He never said there would be no troubles.  He is quite clear about what would happen. But in spite of all that may befall us we have a Hope that will last for eternity in Him. We have His presence in us by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and even though the world may throw all kinds of challenges at us we will not be moved because Jesus Himself encourages us with words of Hope and assurance and no false promises.
Beloved in Christ, if you are feeling discouraged today due to anything come to Jesus!  He alone can encourage you!  His encouragement is not like that which anyone else can give because only He can offer you real encouragement that is an eternal glorious hope and the assurance of His presence to be in you forever.

Come to Jesus for Victory
Jesus said, In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.
Jesus knew exactly what his disciples would have to go through in the world and we saw how He clearly warned His them that they would have troubles.  But He says, “...take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33.  Remember He had earlier told them that He was going to ask The Father to send them the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would lead them into all truth, He would teach them and it is He who would actually enable them to testify for Jesus.
Today we too might encounter all kinds of tribulations in the world because of Jesus.  However, for a lot of us the troubles in the world might not necessarily come exactly in the form of direct persecution.  There may be instead different other kinds of challenges we may face in the world. For example, they could be worries or attractions or distractions of the world. Jesus said, “The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.” Luke 8: 14.  Or they could be temptations: Various kinds of lust and pride. The Word of God says, “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.1John 2:16. The world is full of such temptations all around us and we all know that. Don’t we?  But no matter what so ever your struggle may be, Jesus already knows it and He can help you overcome it. How?  Let us look at a few scriptures:

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13.
So whatever is your struggle, remember that Jesus is your High Priest who not only sympathizes with you and understands you, but is able to make a way for you to overcome it. How does He do this?  The Bible tells us that "His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” 2 Peter 1:3-4.  His divine power is the Power of the Holy Spirit.  One of His precious promises is the promise of the Holy Spirit who gives us power for victory in our lives.  Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8.  The Holy Spirit gives us the power to overcome any challenge we may face. Whether it is persecution or temptation or a weakness: Whatever it is, He can help us overcome it. We just have to call on Him when in trouble.

The sad thing is that when faced with challenges or struggles we usually do not call on Him. Instead we try to figure it out on our own and in our strength and end up failing miserably. After coming to Christ I still struggled for a few years with drinking and smoking.  I tried real hard to quit it but only failed repeatedly until one day I cried out to Jesus.  I told Him that I could not kick the habits though I wanted so desparately to. I asked Him to do it for me. All of a sudden I experienced a deep peace in my heart. From that day till today which is about twenty years now, I have neithter tasted a drop of liquor nor smoked a cigarette.  I still don't say I quit those habits.  I say the habits quit me.  Because the Holy Spirit drove them out.  Hallelujah! I firmly believe that by the Power of the Holy Spirit we can be able to overcome every struggle and be God's witnesses: Witnesses of His Victory.  All we need to do is to come to Jesus when we face trouble. 

So if you have been trying hard to overcome something in your life in own strength and have been failing repeatedly and you feel you have been defeated, just give up trying and give it to Jesus. His Blood will cleanse you of all past sins and failures. the Bible says, “...if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.  8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1John 1:7-9.  Just confess that you have failed and that you are unable to do it on your own. He will not only cleanse you of your past failures by His Blood but will also help you by the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome your struggle completely. And in the very area of your weakness His strength would be made perfect so that the glory that is due to Him goes to Him.

Come To Jesus To Remain In His Love
Jesus did everything that was needed for our peace and encouragement and to enable us to be victorious in this life.  But there is one condition: The condition is that we come to Him.  He says come to me.  What does it mean to come to Jesus?
Remaining in Jesus and in His Love
Now I am not one like some of my friends who likes to hangout in the fancy Shopping Malls of the upcoming city in which I live.  I usually go there about once a month with my wife and kids to buy the groceries for the house or occasionally to pick up a gift or a greeting card for a friend. So my visits to a shopping mall are usually purely need based.  I think sometimes our coming to Jesus can be pretty much like my visits to the shopping mall. We go to Him only when we need something from Him. Once we have what we need we are off on our own again until another need arises and then we come back again. But is that how Jesus intends that we come to Him? No.  He wants us to come to come to Him to abide in Him.  He says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace…”  He wants us to come to Him and to remain in Him. He says, Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:4-5.  But what does it mean to remain in Jesus?  To remain in Jesus is to remain in His love. Jesus says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”  John 15:9.
To Remain in Jesus' Love is to obey Him
So how do we remain in His love?  He says, “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” John 15:10.  To remain in the love of Jesus we have got to listen to Him and obey His commands.  He says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27. I believe too often we get into trouble and lose our peace and we have only ourselves to blame simply because we make the wrong choices.  The reason we make wrong choices is because we do not listen to His voice and obey what He says.  Some time back I was thinking about all the times I had problems in my life because of trying to do things my own way without listening to God’s still small voice and I wrote a poem.  This poem talks about the choices we make and the consequences they can have. I would like to share this poem with you so here goes:

Choices We Make
Sometimes in life, you have many choices only till you have chosen one.
Your choice could result in what you have lost or in what you have won.
Some choices may lead to loss and some to gain,
Some to happiness and others to much pain.

The outcome of some choices could be good and some bad,
Some could make you happy but some could leave you sad.
Some choices could lead to darkness and others lead to light:
Some could lead to blindness while others give you sight.

Some choices can build you up while some could break you down;
Some could make someone smile and others make them frown.
Some choices lead to blessing while others bring a curse;
Some make things better some make them worse.

Some choices lead to life and others lead to death;
And what we sow is what we reap is what we often forget.
So how do you choose when faced with many choices?
Do you listen to God's still small voice or to a host of confusing voices?

If we would only listen to Jesus’ voice more and obey what He says we would definitely be a lot happier. 
Obeying Jesus is possible only out of love for Him
To be able to obey Jesus we must first love Him. He says, “…Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching…” John 14:23; “Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching…” John 14:24. This definitely makes a lot of practical sense. Doesn’t it?  It is very difficult to obey someone unless you love them. The only other ways I can think of that obeying someone you do not love is possible are that you either fear them or you just don’t have an option which is still a kind of fear anyway. But this kind of obedience is far from pleasant and definitely not the kind that Jesus is asking for.  Jesus wants us to obey Him because we love Him. If we truly love Him we will do what He says not only because we believe it is for our good but also we will want to do what He says.  Obeying Him will not be what we have to do but what we want to do.  This is why He says, “…Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching…” John 14:23.

Come To Jesus In Love
So Friends, come to Jesus because He loves you. He loves you with a love which is like no one else can. He says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you…” John 15:9.  He loves us so much that He gave His life for us to give us an abundant and eternal life with Him.  So great and awesome is His love for us; how can we not but love Him in return?  We ought to love Him with all our hearts, souls, mind and strength. As the Bible says, “…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30.  Jesus is Lord and He is God and He truly deserves all our love.
If we love Him we will obey Him. If we obey Him we will remain in His Love and in Him. And in Him we will have true Peace and Encouragement and Victory and everything we need for this life and the life to come as well. 
Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.
He also says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1-3
May The Lord God Bless you and may His Peace which surpasses all understanding guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Amen.

A Strange Vision I had

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