Blog-post-headers04-24

This Sunday, April 24th, 2016, at The Bridge Church in Denton, Texas, our special guest speaker, Pastor Louis Kotze from Hatfield Christian Church in South Africa, continued our current series, REencounter: 40 Days With the Resurrected Jesus.

REencounter: 40 Days With the Resurrected Jesus

In this week’s message, our special guest speaker, Pastor Louis Kotze from Hatfield Christian Church in South Africa, unpacked an amazing message continuing with our series, REencounter: 40 Days With the Resurrected Jesus.

Pastor Louis started off his message by giving us the definition of entropy, and how it is involved in our lives. In science the term entropy is used to describe how in the natural world everything tends toward decay. It is the second law of thermodynamics, and it means that “in a closed system, the quality of matter or energy deteriorates over time.” Without outside influence things will move from order to disorder.

As followers of Christ we need to guard against spiritual entropy. Without the constant influence of the Holy Spirit, we will slip away from our position of faith and strength. Pastor Louis illustrated this point by looking at the disciples after the death of Christ. They were in a free fall of entropy. After reaching the lofty heights and the excitement of the triumphant entry into Jerusalem, things quickly degenerated and in John 20, we find them locked behind closed doors filled with fear.

“That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! ‘Peace be with you’ He said. As He spoke, He showed them the wounds in His hands and His side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again He said, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, so I am sending you,’ Then He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.'” (John 20:19, NLT)

Imagine the atmosphere in that room – the fear, guilt and shame that filled that place. The disciples in hushed voices discussing, even arguing about what had happened and what to do next. Perhaps they were planning their escape from Jerusalem; but whatever they were talking about, it was not a room filled with faith.

I am sure you can think of times when you were locked into a place of fear and disillusionment – a place where your actions may have contributed to the promise and hope for good completely vanishing, but suddenly Jesus appeared in their midst. Isn’t it great that when we see no options other than to flee, Jesus appears?

When Jesus appears to the disciples, their first response was fear. But Jesus speaks, “Peace be with you.” Is it possible that Jesus wanted them to understand something about peace in the light of the fact that He was about to send them out into the world?

“Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ.” – Sheila Walsh

We must be clear that we are not seeking the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ in every trouble. If you are looking for the peace in the absence of trouble, you will always have reason to be locked in, but if peace for you is the presence of Christ, you will always be able to go out.

Jesus’ presence brings us into the Shalom of God which is peace on three levels:

  1. Eternal Peace – Because Jesus paid the price for our sins, we have eternal peace with God.
  2. Internal Peace – We are at peace with ourselves knowing that our sin and brokenness are forgiven and made whole.
  3. External Peace – We become peace makers to others.

Jesus gives the disciples two more gifts (in addition to peace):

  1. Joy – After speaking peace to them, Jesus showed them His wounds which brought them great joy. His resurrection is our hope because however we have been wounded, we will also be resurrected in Christ. Death is no longer the final reality because we have eternal life. No matter how real and close death may be, in Jesus we have a sure hope for life. This hope causes us to overflow with joy.
  2. Purpose – The continuing mission of the Father, first through His Son and now through His Church, is the good news of God’s saving, redeeming and restoring love to the world both in word and deed. What an amazing thing that we who were sinners and have all been part of the problem can be called out and sent on this mission. We are called to live not for ourselves but to give ourselves for His purpose.

Jesus wants you to not only have the joy of your salvation but also the joy of bearing fruit.

“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11)

 

Link to full video message coming soon. Thanks for your patience.

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