Facing your Jerusalem – Say Amen show 161
This is a transcript of a sermon preached by Pastor Don Moore. What is in [brackets] is what the congregation says. The transcript is slightly edited for readability.
FACING YOUR JERUSALEM
Some things may seem like wasted effort but they’re part of our training. Some things seem like bad decisions, but they’re part of our training. [hallelujah] Sometimes the mountain is tall and we would choose to go around rather than over just to take the shortcut. But, Lord God, in the Mighty Name of Jesus, give us some backbone. Give us some understanding. Father, give us some perseverance. [yes, Lord] That we will go the distance for You, in Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen [amen]
Sometimes the Lord gives me a Word and it’s only for a few people. And sometimes it’s for people that are going through a certain thing at a particular moment. But today’s message is for each and every one of you in this building. It’s for each and every one of us. The Lord Jesus Christ came to the earth, divine in all of His great Deity, but also human in all of His humanness. And He had to go through things as a human, even though He was divine. [amen] The Bible tells us that He had to set aside His glory, and operate by the Gifts of the Holy Spirit just like you and I.
Jesus displays a certain aspect of character that applies to each and every one of us. No matter how old you are, here today. No matter how young or old, no matter what your circumstances are, you need this characteristic trait. You need to be like Jesus in this way, if you are going to live a good life, serve the Lord, and arrive at your Jerusalem.
Look at verse 51. Luke, Chapter 9:51…. “Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem,…” The Word of the Lord. “Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.”
I want you to go to Matthew, Chapter 16… In Matthew He gives us a little bit more detail about what Jesus is grappling with here…. Matthew 16, verse 21. “From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.“” …
Look up here for a moment. These two passages of Scripture tell us that Jesus had an appointment to go to Jerusalem. Peter loves Him very much, but in his love, Peter’s advice to Him is don’t even talk about it. That there is a different plan that I, Peter, have for You, God. Kind of comical isn’t it? That Peter’s going to rebuke the King of kings, and the Lord of lords and tell Him to shut up. I don’t have that boldness yet, and I’m sure Peter regretted that he had it. [laughter, oh, yeah]
So, in his humanness, he’s looking at the circumstances and the outcome of what Jesus is saying is going to happen because He’s going to Jerusalem. That Peter is trying to, and this is why Jesus calls him “satan”, the spirit that spoke to Peter’s ear, was the suggestion of satan to alter the difficulty He was facing, to take an easier path. [that's right]
We have challenges in our lives. All of them are not wonderful, blessed, beautiful, wonderful things to happen. But there are some things that have to happen if we are going to ever arrive at the fullness of what God has called us to be. If we’re ever going to arrive at the point where God can really use us and make us into what He wants us to be. We’re gonna have to face Jerusalem.
In this verse, Jesus says, that He, the Scripture says that He has set Himself fastly, or steadfastly. He has set His face to go to Jerusalem. There’s a passage in the King James, the way the King James translates this is a little more helpful to us. Here’s what it says in the King James. It says that He set His face like flint to go to Jerusalem. Did you get that? [yes] He set His face like flint to go to Jerusalem.
Some of the translators of the newer translations wanted to communicate an idea to us, but sometimes when we translate or interpret Scripture we have to be careful that sometimes they change the word’s meaning to give us meaning of the passage, but in the process will give us a disconnect from the prophetic. [yeah] Let me explain.
It says that He set His face like flint. Meaning, He set Himself like a hard rock, like a hard rock, that I’m going in this direction. He said, He’s determined. He is what? He has perseverance. He’s going to persevere no matter what it takes to keep His appointment with Jerusalem. He set His face like flinty rock.
When the interpreters of the Scriptures said He set Himself, set His face steadfastly, that little twist there gave us a disconnect from what Jesus was describing Himself as. He’s telling us that He is the Messiah, and He’s going to fulfill Old Testament Scripture. He’s going to fulfill the writings of the prophets concerning Him. We have to be careful about words. God said what He meant to say.
Now, let’s go to the book of Isaiah, in the 50th Chapter of what? [Isaiah] Of Isaiah. The 50th Chapter of Isaiah…. Let’s see if we can see the interconnect that Jesus wanted to have fulfilled in Scripture. So, in the beginning of Isaiah, Chapter 50, God Himself, He is giving a divorcement. He is putting Israel away because Israel doesn’t want Him. Then He goes down a little bit further, and in the fourth verse He says, “The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary….” That’s what I’m going to give you today. We’re talking about perseverance. I’m going to give all you all weary folk a word of in season. “…He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to hear as the learned.” He’s talking to you. He wants you to hear as the learned. “The Lord GOD has opened My ear;…” Say, “He’s opened my ear.” [He's opened my ear] “I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away.”
Now, when we get to the fifth verse, it becomes a Messianic passage. He’s talking about He’s divorcing Israel because they didn’t trust. He’s divorcing Israel because they turned their back on Him. He’s divorcing Israel because Israel has rejected Him, and doesn’t want Him anymore.
God is never the first to break a covenant. Say it. [God is never the first to break a covenant] God is not a covenant breaking God. But if you destroy the covenant, walk away from it, He can put His “Amen” to it. If that’s so what you choose, then you won’t have Me.
And so Israel walked away from Him, turned to idols, didn’t want Him. But guess what? God’s always, always, has an elevator in the building or an escape, fire escape on the outside of the building, or a helicopter is gonna come on the roof to take you away. [amen! applause] He’s always got a plan to help you recover from your mess. [yes]
The answer to this one is, He has a Messiah, He has a Messiah who is the answer to the rescue plan for even Israel. He’s gonna get her back. But the Messiah is introduced here in the fifth verse in the Book of Isaiah 600 years before He even appears. So, let’s see what the Messiah is saying here. Here’s what the Messiah’s saying. He said, “The Lord God has opened My ear; and I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away.” Verse 6. ” I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard;…. [my God] Lord have mercy. Is Isaiah prophesying what’s to come? [yes] And look what He says. “…I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.” You know they spit in the Lord’s face? [yes, they did] And He took it. [yes]
He had 600 years to prepare for that moment of shame and not strike back. Cause He could have just called on angels to destroy all of them. [that's right] You know, the test of how much of a Christian you are is, can you take the abuse and not respond. [hmmm] That’s the answer. The answer isn’t can you call fire down from Heaven and destroy everybody, or can you take it into your own hands to go on the warpath, but can ‘ya stand there honey and take it? Can you put a smile on your face and say, “Though you rebuke me, or offend me. Though your whole attitude stinks and is terrible, I forgive you in the Name of Jesus and I’ll not respond to your insanity.” [amen] Somebody say, “Amen.” [Amen]
That’s the test of your Christian walk. It’s not – stop them from doing it. It’s – can you take it after they’ve done it? Can you throw back your shoulders, lift up your head, and keep yourself from reciprocating the evil that is being done unto you? Can you walk in the love of Jesus Christ, when they tore out His beard and spit in His face, when they hit Him and slapped Him. Can you still say, “Father! Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” [amen]
What is your position today? What is your position today? Can you set your face with determination to walk the Christian walk, realizing there is a greater reward for those who are offended but do not respond to it, than it is for those who are offensive and then do respond to it… Hallelujah. [hallelujah]
What makes you think everybody’s got to treat you nice? … They didn’t treat Jesus nice. [no they didn't] But He looked at them with great dignity, cried tears for them. And still honored His Father by being able to take the abuse that the world was going to pour out on Him. Somebody say, “Thank you Jesus.” [Thank you Jesus] Let’s read a little further if you can stand it. You ok? [yes] Everybody alright? [yes]
Look what He says in verse 7. ” For the Lord GOD will help Me;…” [hallelujah] hallelujah… In other words, after they strike Me, after they beat Me, after they rip out My beard, He has the confidence to know, I will persevere through this because the Lord GOD will help Me. [amen] “Therefore I will not be disgraced;…” [That's right]
Listen Child of God, your honor is not tied to the opinions of others. [that's right, amen] Let me say it again. Your honor is not tied to the opinions of others. [amen] … I mean I hope you like Pastor Don… [amen] I hope, I really hope you do. But when I step down from this pulpit I just want to know that I’ve served the Lord right. I just want to know that, in here, I have the peace of God to know that even though I may not have said everything right, I said enough right that it put a smile on My Jesus’ face. [amen]
People’s opinions of you cannot be your standard of acceptability and your standard of grace. [that's right, amen] You can’t please everybody. You’re never going to please everybody. You wear a red dress, somebody’s gonna tell you, “What are you wearing a red dress, you should wear a green dress.” You wear a green dress somebody’s gonna tell you you should have worn black. You wear a black dress, somebody’s gonna get racial about it. [laughter]
What are you talking about? We have to learn to live in the love of Christ, that if I’m living right, He’s pleased with me and that’s enough. [amen] Let everything else fall by the wayside. [amen, preach it] Thank you. I’m trying to. [laughter] …
Look at the second half of the verse, it ties us back to Luke. “…Therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed.” [Thank you Lord.] … Why not? Because, “He is near who justifies Me; who will contend with Me?” Let us stand together. Who is My adversary? Let him come near Me. Surely the Lord GOD will help Me; who is he who will condemn Me? Indeed they will all grow old like a garment; the moth will eat them up.” Lord, hallelujah. Hallelujah.
Sometimes we’re too tied to our time. We’re too tied to the clock. We’re too tied to the circumstances. We’re too tied to the event that is on our plate and on our table and in our face. Sometimes we need to disconnect from that and remember that we are a child of eternity. [yes, amen] The day will end, the week will end, the month will end, but we are praying for eternity. I’m not here for tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. I’m here for ever and ever. I’ve got a long time to get it right. And Jesus is not going to abandon me in the process. [amen] So if you slap me and spit on me on Monday, no problem baby. [laughter] No problem. It’s not gonna be a game breaker with me. [amen] …
Jesus is saying in the Old Testament, that when I come as the Messiah I’m going to persevere. I’m coming with determination. I’m going to set my face like a hard rock and I’m going to Jerusalem no matter what it costs, no matter how long it takes, no matter who opposes me, or no matter how difficult it may be… I’m gonna set my face. I’m going to Jerusalem.
Well, you might ask yourself what does the word persevere mean? What do you think, did I look it up? [yes] To be earnest toward something. To be earnest toward something. To be constantly diligent. How? [constantly diligent] Constantly diligent. To attend to something. To attend to all the exercise of something. To adhere closely to. To give yourself continually to. To continue in it instant after instant after instant. And to wait on something continually as you go toward it you persevere.
Persevere means you don’t stop. It says continually. Continually means I just keep going toward where I’m supposed to be going to. I just keep moving in that direction. I’m just constant in my effort. I’m not giving up. I’m not even getting distracted. I’m not looking behind and always reminding myself of where I came from. Because why? I’m so busy looking at the scenery along where I’m going. [whooo] I’m continually persevering. How? Like Jesus persevered. He set His face like steadfastly, firmly, continually looking to where He was going.
Sometimes people can be a drag. I know you don’t know that, but people can, people can be a drag. Peter didn’t mean to be a drag. But guess what? Peter was trying to pull Jesus, stop Him from persevering. Trying to get Him off His course. You know sometimes, it’s the people closest to you that are the biggest drags. [yes] You have friends and family that you tell them, I’m going to get, I’m setting my face for this. I’m going for this. And they’ll be the ones saying, “What makes you think you can make it?” [laughter] “Why in the world you want to go for that?” … [laughter] “You don’t got the money, you ain’t got the looks, and it ain’t even your idea.”
You need to tell them, “Yeah, it’s a God idea, and I’m continually set goin’ for it.” [applause, yeah] Not moving off to the left or the right. I’m goin’ for it. [hallelujah]
We’re in hard times. Oh yeah, we’re pressed in hard times. It was no harder now than it’s really ever been. It’s just, it’s always been hard. It’s just that sometimes you have a better outlook than you used to have. Sometimes circumstances will profit better for you, but guess what, if you set yourself with some perseverance you’ll get past that and on to the next thing. Persevere past that and get on to the next thing. [amen] The perseverance that I’m talking about is to adhere closely to. Give yourself continually to it.
Do you ever think what would’ve happened if Jesus had taken Peter’s advice? [oooh] … [big trouble] What if He had listened to His friend? And said, “You know, Peter, I never thought…let’s skip Jerusalem.” …
Do you realize the reason that Scripture, and you can look it up in the other passages, but I just want to share it with you. In the other books we get a little clearer picture. The reason that they wanted to talk Jesus out of going, and the reason they had trouble with His decision, was because Jesus had decided, I’m going… Listen to me carefully now – I’m gonna pass through Samaria and take a direct route to get to Jerusalem… I’m gonna pass through Samaria and take a direct route.
For example, if I was in New York City – No, no let me take it the other way around. I’m up here in the Catskill Mountains and I decided to go to New York City. And if I said to you, I’m going to go to New York City via way of Connecticut. You would say, “What are you doing?… What’s wrong with you boy? It’s 90 miles straight down the Thruway, put the pedal to the metal and get there.” Right? How many of you would tell me that? [yes, that's right] That’s what you’d tell me.
But here’s what. What if, straight between here and New York on Route 90 I had to go through Samaria. Well, what would that mean? It would mean that Samaria was a place, watch this now – Samaria was a place where all the rejected people lived. Samaria is a place where Jews had no contact with Samaritans. Jews considered Samaritans low class, other class, called them dogs. They called them dogs right to their faces. They didn’t even talk to them.
Jesus violated the cultural law by talking to a woman – that was bad enough; but she was a Samaritan woman at the well. Without that conversation we could take the Book of John, Chapter 3 and chapter 4 and kinda of throw it out, and throw all you gentiles out with it. Because all you gentiles were considered to be as low as the Samaritans. A good Jew wouldn’t even go in your house. [yes, that's right] …
So between New York City and here I would have to pass through the place where all the rejected folk are. And you know, that’s all the Puerto Ricans and Nigra’s there. I’m not gonna go through there. [laughter] I can’t go through there. I’d go through Connecticut where all the nice, quiet white folks live. [laughter] Listen. We all are discriminatory. We all have somebody that we would discriminate against. We all have somebody that we’re biased to. We all have some way of excusing ourselves. I won’t go there this is the Italian neighborhood. I won’t go there. You know the Dominican Restaurant. Them guys cook good. I don’t speak much Spanish, but we went there, me and my wife, I says why shouldn’t I spend my money just cause they’re Dominicans. I went in there and spent my money. Tried to act like I didn’t understand the Spanish that I was supposed to pay the check, but they didn’t fall for that. [laughter] They still wanted to get paid.
Listen. We’re all prejudiced about something. And Jesus Christ is saying to us, He’s shouting it from the Scriptures, don’t you let anybody say that somebody is beneath you, is lower than you, that you can call them a dog and you can treat them bad. He says, I’m going right through Samaria. I’m going right through the rejected people. I’m on my way to Jerusalem. [applause] I’m going to Jerusalem.
Everybody looks the same to Jesus. [amen] Aren’t you glad. [yes] Aren’t you glad. [yes] If you’re not glad you need to join a different church. [that's right] Cause as long as I’m pastor of this church, we are not gonna be black, white, green, yellow and all like that. We’re gonna be the children and people of God, we’re gonna walk in love toward everybody. We’re gonna hug everybody. We’re going to get along and we’re going to bring the Kingdom of God as much as we can. Every time we get together because why? Jesus is Lord over us all. [yes] Over us all. [applause] …
He set His face. The question is, where’s He going? We know the direction that He’s going. He’s going to make a racial statement that He’s going to Jerusalem for all people. [amen] He’s going for the Samaritans, the gentiles, all people. But where’s He going? He’s going to Jerusalem… What is Jerusalem? … What is Jerusalem?
Jesus the Christ is going for a testing. He’s going to put His flesh to the total test. He’s going to the testing. He’s going to put Himself up against the people that hate Him, and still walk in love for them. He’s going to a place called Jerusalem where His enemies are going to come out of the woodwork to destroy Him. [that's right] When He first gets to town, everybody loves Him. But then a few minutes later, everybody hates Him. So He’s going to be tested by His friends, He’s going to be tested in His flesh, and He’s going to be subjected to His enemies…
Where else is He going? He’s going to a place of conflict. We’re waiting so much for a peace. We all want peace. We all want peace. Jesus is going to Jerusalem where He’s just going to have turmoil. But you know what? We need to want the peace that Jesus has. On the inside of Him there is the peace of knowing that He is going to persevere and get His job done.
He’s going to a place of learning. You say, well what’s Jesus gonna learn? Jesus is gonna learn what it means to be beaten, to be scourged, and He’s gonna learn what death feels like. Not the death that you and I are gonna die. Cause Jesus is going to rebuke death before it gets to His body. Lord have mercy. [yes] So Jesus is gonna learn about death but from a different way. Jesus is going to His Jerusalem.
What’s He going to face there? He’s going to face death and He has to conquer death. Before death can take His body, He has to dismiss His Spirit. Jesus is going to a place where He’s gonna learn resurrection. What is He going to learn? He’s going to learn how God Himself, by His supernatural power, can breathe life into a body and change it from head to toe. He’s going to learn the resurrection power of the Father. He’s gonna to feel the energy rush through His dead physical body and He’s going to come to life. He is gonna to experience and He’s going to learn what true victory tastes like. Not what the battle, the conflict was like.
He’s gonna momentarily in a flash, in a twinkling of an eye, he’s gonna have the victory that comes only by persevering and facing your Jerusalem. You’ve got to face your Jerusalem.
Stop whining and crying and complaining about how hard it is. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. You’ll never experience what Christ experienced and He persevered. He didn’t slow down. He didn’t give up. He didn’t get distracted. Sex had no appeal to Him. Money had no appeal to Him. Power had no appeal to Him. He set His face like a flint. He’s going for the ultimate victory and the conquering of sin and death and putting the devil underfoot. [applause and cheering] That’s His perseverance. Come on, give Him some praise in here. [applause] That’s the perseverance.