John 12:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
To the Jews who lived under Rome, death was a horrible reality at every turn. Crucifixion was common; the path into Jerusalem was lined with crucified Jews.
Jesus was talking about the day that He would be “lifted up” from the earth.
John 12:32-22 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die.
Everyone thought that a new day had arrived with people being healed and even the dead being raised. But what they thought was “glorified” was far from the image Jesus painted.
John 12:24-26 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.
Crucifixion was the method of death the Romans preferred for anyone who was not Roman, Jews in particular.
– Come die with me.
– Pick up your cross.
– In this way the Father will be glorified.
When trouble comes, how do you respond?
Definition of suffering: Suffering is having what you don’t want, and not having what you do want.
– Do you lash out? Use denial? Have self pity? Ignore the pain?
1) Recognize God in the Trial
Your problems do not baffle the One that brings flowers from thorns.
Job 1:22 Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.
Job lost all his possessions, servants, children, his wife, and support. His health was stripped from him.
Job 2:10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
Job believed that God was somehow engaged in all of this.
Job 42:2 I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
2) Purpose that God will be glorified in all you go through.
John 12:28 Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
Are you willing to be used by God to glorify His name?
Then die to self! Die to your right to have to be right. Die to the right you have to be comfortable.
Take Habakkuk 3:17-19 as your banner:
Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.
3) The third lesson is found in the pages that follow, the history of the church.
– The faith camp = if you’ve got enough faith…
– The liturgical camp = stick to the script
– The Word camp = believe and receive
– The social camp = go out and change the world
– The missions camp = spread it all over
– The worship camp = just worship Him
I just want to be found in the camp where Jesus is. Jesus invites me to come and die with Him. That’s where I want to be.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Philippians 3:7-11 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone.”
Love your life, your wants, your time, your needs, and you will bear little fruit.
Forsake your attachments to this world. Die to self and find the glory of living in Jesus.
You will not find a single life story that serves God with humility and joy that didn’t begin with picking up a cross and dying to self and following Jesus.
From the thorns of this life come the blooms of God’s glory.
– What do you need to lay down today to fully die to self?
– When trouble comes, how do you respond? What do you need to change in your response to follow Jesus more fully?