Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:
‘A Few of the Hat Tricks in Christ’s Gospel’
© September 20, 2015 by Steve Mickelson
Responsive Reading #635 (Comfort from Christ – John 14); Prayer
Opening Hymn #365: I Am Weak but Thou Art Strong; Choruses
Tithing and Prayer Requests: Hymn #572: Praise God; Prayers
Today’s Scriptures: John 18:15-27, John 21:14-19, 2 Corinthians 12:1-18
John 18:15-27 (ESV) Peter Denies Jesus
15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the servants[a] and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
The High Priest Questions Jesus
19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22 When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” 24 Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
Peter Denies Jesus Again
25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.
Footnotes: a. John 18:18 Greek bondservants; also verse 26
John 21:14-19 (ESV) Jesus and Peter
14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
Footnotes: a. John 21:8 Greek two hundred cubits; a cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters
2 Corinthians 12:1-18 (ESV) Paul’s Visions and His Thorn
12 I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. 3 And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. 5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses— 6 though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. 7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,[a] a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Concern for the Corinthian Church
11 I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing. 12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works. 13 For in what were you less favored than the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!
14 Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16 But granting that I myself did not burden you, I was crafty, you say, and got the better of you by deceit. 17 Did I take advantage of you through any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus to go, and sent the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not act in the same spirit? Did we not take the same steps?
Footnotes: a. 2 Corinthians 12:7 Or hears from me, even because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations. So to keep me from becoming conceited
Let us pray…
Welcome to Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship’s Praise and Worship Service. Our lesson today is entitled: ‘A Few of the Hat Tricks in Christ’s Gospel’
For those of you who do not follow sports, particularly hockey, a hat trick is a term that refers to when a player scores three goals during the course of a game. The fans of the player’s team will mark this rather rare event by throwing their hats onto the ice; hence the term “hat trick.” This hockey tradition has recently found its way to other sports. Those who follow baseball, and the Blue Jays quest to return to the post season after a draught of some 22 years, may recall recently that Toronto slugger Edwin Encarnación recently achieved the milestone of three home runs in one home game. The Canadian Blue Jay fan’s showed their appreciation by throwing hats onto the playing field. Encarnación, who hails from the Dominican Republic, could be excused for being puzzled by the hat trick accolade. But his team mates, familiar with hockey, filled Edwin in with the significance of the rain of hats. Later, the media posted a photo of Edwin proudly posing with a huge bag full of hats.
Back to today’s lesson, in which I hope to talk about a few of the trios found in the gospel of Christ, by referring to the Scripture verses listed in today’s Bulletin. But, let me first direct you to the verses at the bottom inside of the Bulletin, just below the order of service:
John 13:36-14:4 (ESV) Jesus Foretells Peter’s Denial
36 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” 37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.
In John 13:36-14, we read the Lord’s response to his disciple, Peter’s promise to lay his life for Jesus, in verse 38: 38 Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.
In the second part of the Scripture passage, Jesus tries to assuage his disciples’ concern his prophecy of betrayal and absence, with a promise to return to them, in John 14:1-4, with the sub-heading, I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life:
14 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;[a] believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[b] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”[c]
Footnotes: a. John 14:1 Or You believe in God b. John 14:2 Or In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you c. John 14:4 Some manuscripts Where I am going you know, and the way you know
The Scriptures read today began with John’s Gospel account where Simon Peter denies knowing Jesus, not once or twice, but three times, (John 18:15-27). This illustrates, how well the Lord understands each of his children’s failings, even in the realm of our faith. In Matthew’s account (Matthew 26:75) we see Peter’s visceral reaction to how accurately the Lord perceived Peter’s weakness: And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
Fortunately, Jesus loves us in spite of our weaknesses and failings, which is why he surrendered to the cross, to remove our judgement and to forgive us. We see this illustrated in our next Scripture passage, John 21:14-19, where Jesus revealed himself for a third time to the disciples, following his resurrection. The first time was in the Upper Room on the evening of his resurrection and the second was eight days later in the same Upper Room, for the benefit of the disciple, Thomas. And just as in the two prior revelations, Jesus revealed himself with the breaking of bread.
After eating together, Jesus had a conversation with Peter, where the Lord asked the disciple three times whether Peter loved him. And three times, Peter affirmed his love for Jesus. It was as if the Lord forgave his disciple for each of the three occasions that Peter denied Jesus. And after each affirmation, the Lord gave an instruction to the disciple:
First the Lord said: “Feed my lambs”, followed by: “Tend my sheep”, and then: “Feed my sheep”; all references to his flock who comprised the body of Christ’s Church. Christ concluded by telling Peter to “Follow me”, indicating that Peter would end up following Jesus and surrendering his life for the Lord, as prophesized in John 13:36-37:
36 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” 37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
Our third triad in the scriptures is found in the third of today’s Scriptures, 2 Corinthians 12:1-18, which occurs after Pentecost; the Apostle Paul shares, in his letter to the Corinthian Church, his visions and his thorn. His vision speaks of a third heaven, a reference to Genesis 1:7-8, which you may find a graphic representation on the front of today’s Bulletin. The earth’s atmosphere is the First Heaven; above this is the vacuum of space, being the Second Heaven; then above this are the waters above the firmament; and finally above all is the Third Heaven, where God’s Throne is located. In addition to the privilege of having a vision of to harass the apostle and to keep him humble and not conceited by the importance of the revelation.
Three times Paul pleaded with Jesus to remove this affliction and we see the Lord’s answer in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10:
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
As Christians, we are consoled that not only is the lord’s grace sufficient for our needs, but Christ’s power is made perfect in our weakness. Paul states when we are afflicted with the thorns of weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamites, we are strong in Christ.
Paul shares that he will return to the Corinthian Church, for the sake of the people, willing to surrender himself to save their souls.
From Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, we understand the Lord’s expectation that his messengers have the same agape, or unconditional love, as Jesus had demonstrated for others. In return, the Lord promised never to leave or forsake us. This is faith’s reward to his flock that follows the Lord, in spite of the obstacles that are given to us, when we heed the calling of the Lord to follow him.
Let us pray…
Closing Hymn #232: I Hear the Savior Say
Benediction (2 Corinthians 13:14): The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.