WITHSeptember 5, 2021
Definition of WITH: — To be accompanied by (another person or thing):
Jesus stated at the last supper that he would not leave his disciples as orphans but come to them in the presence of his Spirit ( John 14:18 ). It is this Spirit that allows Christians to call out, “Abba, Father” ( Rom 8:15 ).
They are no longer spiritual orphans but can begin to pray, “Our Father” ( Matt 6:9 ).
Intro: — COVID has left us deeply oﬀ-kilter and ill-at-ease. It has eroded human togetherness like nothing we have seen of late. It has left us alone and isolated for each other
urch, the body of Christ, God has give us a great promise. Scripture places such powerful emphasis on God being WITH.
“They shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God WITH us.” Matthew 1:23.
– In the Garden, God walked WITH Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening.
– In Jesus, He became flesh and dwelt WITH us (John 1:14).
– In the end, He will again live WITH His people (Rev. 21:3) “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell WITH them. They will be his people, and God himself will be WITH them and be their God.”
The word WITH is an axis upon which all Scripture turns. We see this on three levels.
God WITH us — The Father
Us with others – Family
Us with Sinners — Friend
This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides WITH you, and he will be in you. I will not leave you orphaned;
God with us — Father . Sin creates a division between God and
humanity. But at the heart of the gospel is God drawing us near to him
– On earth, this Immanuel chose disciples “that they might be with Him…” (Mark 3:14)
– The scripture says, “when when saw the courage of Peter and John… they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
– Jesus’ final words to His followers was a promise that my presence was permanent. “…Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).
– In John’s Gosple we read where Jesus said, “I will not leave you orphaned.”
These words speak directly to some of our greatest fears and challenges;
abandonment and isolation, loneliness, vulnerability. They remind us that
we are not destined to walk this earth without an identity or direction. We
do not stand alone.
II.With one another.
If we would be honest we all fear becoming orphaned. That fear points to the deeper reality that by ourselves we are not enough.
We are the church. Called out and called in. Called out to the world andcall into fellowship with him to go and make disciples.
Those are the orphan’s questions. Those are the questions I imagine that
was running through the heads and hearts of the disciples.
It is the last supper. Disciples have been fed, feet have been washed, the
betrayer has left. It is night, dark, and Jesus announces he is leaving. The
one for whom they left everything to follow is now says he is leaving.
“Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how
can we know the way?” – John 14:5, 8.
Philip said, 8. “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.””
9. Jesus said I “Jesus answered: “Anyone who has seen me has seen
the Father.” John 14:9
Noone likes to think of themselves as deficient yet we were not
created to be self-sufficient.
We were not created to stand alone but to be loved and to belong,
We were created to live in relation not isolation.
God made a woman to complement Adam. This complement with an
‘e,’ has the idea of completing. The phrase “fit for him” in Genesis
2:18 literally means something like “one opposite him.” God was
going to make one like Adam and yet opposite Adam in a way.
With neighbor — Who is my neighbor?
In the Parable of The Good Samaritan, Jesus Christ taught that
1.loving your neighbor means more than loving those in your
homogenous and socially segregated neighborhood. Loving
your neighbor means more than being kind to those you meet at the
grocery store or the neighborhood park.
Who is my neighbor? — Luke 10:25-37.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan 25 On one occasion an expert in
the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do
to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied.
“How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God
with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength
and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you
will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus,
“And who is my neighbor?”
C.Us with Sinners.
Jesus told us not to judge other sinners.
Jesus clearly tells us not to judge others Matthew 7:1-2 “Do not
judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge
others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be
measured to you”.
We can’t expect non-Christians to behave like Christians. Instead, we
should focus on being a light to them and loving them.
Over and over again, the Bible tells us the importance of loving
others 1 Corinthians 16:14 Do everything in love.
1 Corinthians 13:1-6 — If I speak in the tongues [a] of men or of angels,
but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all
knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have
love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body
to hardship that I may boast, [b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
2. It is hard to love others, and show the gospel to them when we are
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not
proud. 5. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily
angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6. Love does not delight in evil but
rejoices with the truth.
angry at them or hating on them. Anger and hate are not the way of Jesus.
2. Jesus showed mercy to the sinner caught in sin.
One day Jesus was teaching crowds of people in the temple, and
religious leaders brought a woman caught in the act of adultery to him and set her in front of the crowd accusing her—asking Jesus what should be done with her.
He doesn’t respond at first … he literally stoops down and starts writing in
the dust on the floor. They kept demanding an answer, and Jesus finally
stood up and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw
the first stone.” Then he stooped down and kept writing in the dust!
One by one, the crowd began to leave. The Scripture says, “beginning with
the oldest.” The oldest likely left first because they had realized over the
years how weak and vulnerable they were to sin themselves, and how
many times they had failed throughout their life to adhere to God’s law.
What was Jesus writing in that dust? It’s almost like Jesus didn’t draw a
line in the sand for the sinner.
Instead, maybe he was writing their sins in the sand.
Maybe it was the sins of the various religious leaders or crowd
members in the dust?
Maybe he was pointing out that “all have sinned and fallen
short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23 or “if anyone claims to
“Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers?
Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus
said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
Jesus doesn’t give her a free-pass to remain in her sin. He tells her to “sin
no more.” With another man Jesus encountered, Jesus says, “Stop
sinning, or something worse may happen to you” John 5:14.
IV. Us with those in need. These first two withs rise into a third. God entered our space and pain, and now invites us to do likewise for others. The prime verb in James 1:27 shimmers with this with-ness. “To care for”, for orphans and widows carries no hint of sending aid from a safe distance. Rather, it suggests showing up, drawing near, hazarding deep personal involvement. It takes the hand of a woman who has just lost her son. Holds the drug addicted newborn all night. It welcomes into our church and home and heart the parents whose children were removed by CPS. When God’s people demonstrate this, pure and undefiled reflection of God-with-us it will change the world.
“I will not leave you orphaned.” That is the promise.
Over and over, day after day, regardless of what is happening in our lives
that is Jesus’ promise. We have not been abandoned. Do not abandon
yourselves or others to the orphanages of this world. Love with all that you
are and that you have even as the Father and Jesus love us with all that
they are and that they have.