Sunday, June 28, 2015

When the LORD Interrupts Us

II Chronicles 5. 11-14

2 Chronicles 5:12-14 All the Levites who were musicians—Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun and their sons and relatives—stood on the east side of the altar, dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres. They were accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets. The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang:“He is good; His love endures forever.”Then the temple of the LORD was filled with the cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God. 

The extreme presence of the glory of God made normal service impossible. The sense of the presence of God was so intense that  it was impossible for the priests to stay in the building.

"As soon as the temple is opened for business, all the carefully planned ceremonies and services have to be suspended because God takes over the entire building for Himself. The temple is to be for God's glory, not for that of human beings." (Selman)

"The glory of God had filled the house, and the priests were set aside. Where God is, man is forgotten. You will think little of the minister save for his work's sake - you will talk the less of the man when you shall see the Master." (Spurgeon)

God is showing ownership of His House.

Hebrews 9:23 It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 

The temple was a copy of heaven. God filled this man made temple with His glory and for that time it resembled heaven even more.

Clouds have been associated with God's Presence throughout the Bible and up to this very day.

Cloud of Glory.
Pillar of Cloud 
Exodus 13:21-22 By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. 

A cloud hid Him from their sight when He ascended. Acts 1.9

He is coming on the clouds.
Matthew 24:30-31 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And He will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. 

Psalm 104:3 He makes the clouds His chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. 

Matthew 12:6-7 I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. 

So there they are prepared for a day of worship, all Israel around this magnificent structure, one of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World and the LORD comes in power and fills the temple with His Presence so much that even the priests had to stop their work.

When the LORD interrupts us He is showing us that...

1. God is more interested in us acknowledging His Presence than we can imagine!

Asbury Revival-
Movement of God's Spirit where work has been suspended. 

Suspending classes at Bible College.

A week of prayer that turned into months of daily prayer here.

We need something like this again! An awareness of His Presence.

Always be aware.
Genesis 28:16-17 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the House of God; this is the gate of heaven.” 

We have plans, then the LORD interrupts. Flight delays, traffic, waiting in all forms are many times His interruptions. 

When the LORD interrupts us He is showing us that...

2. The LORD is desiring to show Himself Mighty on our behalf.

He wants to reveal Himself to us.
John 14:21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” 

Revelation 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If any man hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with Me. 

He wants to show us His Glory.

Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. 

Isaiah 40:5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” 
 We need to be confident of His Presence  when we are not conscious of it we need to be conscious of it too.

When the LORD interrupts us He is showing us that
3. Never let your service for the LORD take away your love and adoration of Him.

*Getting bitter as we serve... unseemly.

*Working for His Approval
Fine line. We work because we love Him. My grandson, Tristan.

*Working for the Applause of man
While we do not start out that way we must be careful of this trap. People's appreciation and applause are not  good motivators. We need to watch out for them. We need to guard our hearts against taking them in.

Working for the Glory- all the glory goes to Him! It belongs to Him. That is one of the things happening in this passage this morning.
Psalm 115:1 Not to us,  O LORD, not to us but to Your Name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness. 

United in Humility and Praise... we have become so individualistic. There is a combined collective conscience that the church ought to have. One in heart and mind. 

Once again, we need to be careful in our walk with the LORD. We have seen Him work. We have watched Him provide. We must be careful not to allow extraordinary experiences to become common place.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Wise Request

II Chronicles 1:7-12 That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. Now, LORD God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for You have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of Yours?” God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.” 

Quite a defining moment in this man's life. He did not ascend to the throne of Israel with the drama that his father David did. Solomon grew up as the son of a king. Nor is there any record of suffering in his life. There is a very interesting verse: 1 Peter 4:1-2 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 

David suffered greatly. He was the object of scorn of his brothers.

He was hunted as a wild animal by Saul, living in caves and holes in the ground.

Solomon knew no such struggles. It would appear that before he became king he did not serve, rather had servants waiting on him.

Please do not compliment young pastors who have not suffered. Pray for them.

So a man, who had no felt needs in his life, who inherited the throne...
And yet
From this request...

1.We have a Gift in the Proverbs God gave Solomon.

Learn and Live

Read a chapter each day and you will got through the entire book 12 times a year. But more than that the LORD will fill you with wisdom and discernment.
If you read the Proverbs regularly in an organized manner you will gain a heart of wisdom. 
Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. 
Everyone is thinking they are going to be here forever... or indefinitely.
Proverbs shows us otherwise.

Proverbs 22:24-25 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person,do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their waysand get yourself ensnared. 

The Proverbs are a collection of sayings of the wise, mostly written by Solomon. They deal with all kinds of aspects of life but center in on our relationship to money, sex and power. He also addresses human relationships- Husband and Wife, Children and Parents, friendship, and work.

Solomon asked for wisdom, wrote down what God gave him and it would be to our advantage to study them regularly. It is a wise thing to seek wisdom. 

In fact Solomon writes about this pursuit:
Proverbs 4:5-9 Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.” 

So here is a gift. You have heard the saying, "That would take the wisdom of Solomon." Well here it is before us, ours for the taking. In the same generous spirit the LORD gave Solomon his request so He offers to wisdom, understanding and discernment.

It bothers me to see unwise believers. People who know Christ shooting themselves in the foot, making poor decisions, which harm their reputations and bring the Name of the LORD into it. I have heard some say that God told them to do something and then go against the Proverbs.

Ephesians 5:15-18 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the LORD's will is. Do not get drunk on wine, wherein is excess Instead, be filled with the Spirit...
Excess is foolish. The only excess that the LORD commends is giving to Him (Mary and the perfume) and being overflowing with His Spirit. We must be on our guard. We live an excessive culture where even believers load themselves with all kinds of things that wear them out and do very little to advance the kingdom.

Colossians 4:5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 

2. We have the Promise God gave us in the New Testament.
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 

This means several things:
*God may point us to a Proverb or portion of His Word where the particualr need for wisdom is addressed. Get into them!
*God may give us special insight for the time we are in.
*God may use a Christian brother or sister to counsel us. Many times.

We all need wisdom in these times.
We need to aspire to be like (1 Chronicles 12:32) the men from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.

We need to be people of prayer. God give me wisdom.

3. We have the Example of Solomon's Life Choices.

He began out right. v.8
Acknowledging the Past- His father, David
Realizing he had been placed in this royal position by God.
Recognizing that he needed God's help in governing.
All these things this nation of ours is failing in today.

There is no record of thanksgiving to God after the LORD tells him he will be wealthy and honored and victorious and the wisest man on earth.

The beginning of Solomon's moral failure is recorded in vs. 14-17
He went in direct opposition to something he read each day:
Deuteronomy 17.14-20
How did this happen?
Appears to be greed /lust in his heart. Guard your hearts! Ask the LORD to search it.
He had great wisdom for others but acted foolishly himself. 

Proverbs 21:3 To do what is right and justis more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice. 

What should we do?
Study the Proverbs
Pray for wisdom each day
Know Christ Colossians 2:3 in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 
Walk humbly with God
Trust in Him with all your heart. do not lean on your own understanding. In all you do acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.

It has amazed me how the LORD has provided so wonderfully for the work being accomplished in Haiti. Three times this week He tangibly reminded me of that. This morning there is a roof on Pastor Joes' home, doors have been hung and that family is getting closer to moving in. a little girl named Betchina has gone to school this year supported by Good Shepherd Nursery School. The retaining wall is being built for the Evangelical Church of God in that beautiful village of Bellevue. Precious folks here have signed up for the mission trips we are taking in September. They are paying their own way. God bless them!

No wonder my heart is so full this day for all these blessings God has provided!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Words of Encouragement As We Obey the LORD

1 Chronicles 28:19-20 “All this,” David said, “I have in writing as a result of the LORD's Hand on me, and He enabled me to understand all the details of the plan.” David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished."

The monumental task in building the temple. -v.2
The position of the Temple Mount... Great Wall of China- very difficult to even get materials there.
The problem of getting the workers.
The length of time it would take.

1 Chronicles 29:1 Then King David said to the whole assembly: “My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is young and inexperienced. The task is great, because this palatial structure is not for man but for the LORD God. 

There are similarities with Nehemiah. v.20
Nehemiah 2:8 And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the royal park, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests. 
v.18 I also told them about the gracious Hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work. 

The good Hand of the LORD was upon David and Nehemiah.

There are similarities between David's words and Joshua's (1.5-7)
Joshua 1:5-7 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.

These things David told Solomon to be were from the LORD. The LORD does not give us commands that are impossible to obey. He does gives us things that are only possible with Him. After He gives these directions He adds blessings. 
Solomon was building a physical temple. The LORD is building His church.

1 Peter 2:4-5 As you come to Him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 

Let's look at what we are called to be:

1. Be Strong.

Matthew, Mark and Luke's Gospels all record the words of Jesus in reference to our posture when He returns:
Stand firm ( Matthew 24.13  , Mark 13.13, Luke 21.19)
1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the LORD is not in vain. 

Ephesians 6:13-14 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place...

Our strength comes from the LORD.
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 

Purpose to follow the LORD

Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. 
Jesus promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church.

2. Be Courageous.
Brave, Stout, Bold, Hard, Solid, Alert

Brave because of the Captain of our faith.

Alert because of the times.

Reading the book about praying during troubled times has encouraged me to pray over the news, to look at the terror ploys as prayer requests.  

Take the offense. Too long we have been on the defense. Defense holds ground, offense takes new ground.

3. Do Not Be Afraid or Discouraged.
They are definitely twin sisters, arrows in the enemy's arsenal. 

How easy it is to lose perspective. All we need to do is to focus on the problem or challenge and lean on our own understanding and we will be afraid. 
The temptation to leave God out of the equation is one we often stumble into and then we are terrified. Conjuring up ridiculous things in our minds (like the righteous being forsaken) doesn't help us.

Shattered, Broken, Scared
When discouragement comes we feel like things are falling apart. We panic. We have feelings like all is lost. Its all over.

Shattered dreams can discourage us then we remember David and Joseph who both had shattered dreams and yet saw them fulfilled supernaturally.

4. Jesus Never Fails.
To let you drop
"Trust me I'll catch you."
Aunt Vivian swimming in the ocean with us.
My grandkids- hold me Poppa, in the bay- Maddie this week

5. He Will Never Forsake You.
Leave, loose, depart, desert, abandon 

Where are You, LORD?
Psalm 10:1 Why, Lord, do you stand far off?Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? 
Why are You Not Answering my prayers?
Habakkuk 1:2 How long, Lord, must I call for help,but you do not listen?Or cry out to you, “Violence!”but you do not save? 

Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 
Don't worry- trust in Him!
We are never alone.
We are never without help. He is all powerful.
We are never without hope.
Proverbs 18:24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. 

He will complete the work He has begun in you and through you.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

To The Uttermost Parts of the Earth

Acts 2.1-21

Matthew 28.18-20
Acts 1.8

Acts 2:6-11 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome both Jews and converts to Judaism; Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 

On the Day of Pentecost (Leviticus 23.15-21) the Holy Spirit was outpoured from heaven and the disciples were baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Even John the Baptist spoke of this
Mark 1:7-8 And this was his message: “After me comes the One more powerful than I, the straps of Whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” 

Jesus promised this.  

The prophets predicted it.

The Father sent Him.

1. The Power of the Holy Spirit enabled these men to speak in languages they had never studied. 2.6-11

*To touch the hearts of the listeners.
When you hear something in your native tongue something happens. It hits home. It is heartwarming. Katrina to the Christmas service at the Lutheran Church (German).
Samuel's family from Africa Art and I picked up at the airport and brought to Pastor Kuidio's house.

*To teach the church at its onset that it needs the power of the Holy Spirit to do the work of God. (It is actually God working through us)
They proclaimed the Word of God boldly for the first time.
Peter preached under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. It is a wonderful thing for both the listeners and  the one who is sharing the Word.

We all need this Baptism with the Holy Spirit. We need it to serve in all areas. It enables us do His work. It is what Jesus meant when He said that without Him we could do nothing. ( John 15.5) It gives it greater purpose- eternal purpose.  Jesus set the example by washing the feet of His disciples in the upper room. We cannot do the work of God in our own strength or with our own abilities. 

*To reach the world for Christ.
The language barrier was solved. This had to be somewhat of a concern for these men- how could they be witnesses to the uttermost parts of the world if they were ignorant and unlearned. They were not world travelers. My daughter just found out that Pastor Joes does not speak English1 Yet through the gift of Adly's translating ability we have communicated. But Adly speaks French. The congregation there speaks Creole. I remember him telling me that he had to speak Creole to them and he did very well. God with us.

The racial/socio-economic barrier was coming down on Pentecost.
Prejudices that were built up over centuries came to an end as the whole world heard that day. Missions sends people from one culture/language group to another. The Spirit bridges that gap and makes us one in Christ.

It is interesting to me how we are one in Christ. We respect the cultural differences and even adhere to them out of respect. But the differences no longer divide us as Christ unites us. Hudson Taylor.

Truly Spirit Filled Men are going to be caught up with the theme of Jesus Christ and the Resurrection. This brings up our next point...

2.  The Power of the Holy Spirit enabled them to speak the Word with great boldness. 

Acts 2:14-16 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel...

Speaking the Word of God with great boldness was a prayer of the early church. Acts 4.8-31

Acts 8:25 After they had further proclaimed the word of the Lord and testified about Jesus, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages. 

3. The Power of the Holy Spirit convicted people of their sins- 2.37-39 
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 

The church in Jerusalem did not grow to 3,000 from just residents of Jerusalem. That was how many were baptized after they believed. They were from  at least 15 different world areas. Say  200 from each and there  were many cities among those areas. So the mass amount of people who came into the church were from places other than Israel. Jews from all over the world. It appears they stayed there...until Acts 8...

The infant church had a simple, childlike faith along with a freshness of the resurrection. New Christians have this. We need them!

The coming of Holy Spirit on the Day Of Pentecost was a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Twenty four generations had passed between Joel's prophecy and
the Day of Pentecost but He kept his promise.

4. The Power of the Holy Spirit was among the new church in their daily lives. v.40-47

The original signs subsided but the work of God, the words of Jesus, "I will build My Church," continued to this day.

Our dependence upon the Holy Spirit shows up in our prayers and how we live.
Do we look to Him to work wonderfully? Are we thankful for answers to prayer?

The Gospel has spread through the power of the Holy Spirit. The work of God in the world today is through Spirit filled believers. The Good News has spread and so has the church and its work... to the uttermost parts of the earth.

He wants it to spread today up and down your street and this community and Island and around the world.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Jesus' Prayer for Us

John 17.20-26

There was a lot of prayer going on in those hours before the arrest of Jesus by Jesus.

The Garden of Gethsemane 

John 17 The High Priestly Prayer

Luke 22:31-32 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”  This was before they left for the Garden. Jesus was pastoral. He was a shepherd at heart.

A number of years ago my youngest daughter, Tina, bought me a book for my birthday.  It had an intriguing title, "Jesus, The Pastor'. The LORD is my shepherd/ The LORD is my pastor.

Each ordination service we hear about the pastor, he must be an example in prayer.

Jesus prayed often.

Satan was working hard that night. He had entered Judas and was asking for Peter. Prayer was necessary. Jesus told to watch and pray. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. (Mark 14.38)                                                                                                                                                                                    

He told them to watch and pray in reference to His Second Coming. Each of you need to be part of a prayer group which meets regularly. Our weekly Bible Studies provide that. With what is coming you need to be in prayer. With what is here now you need to be in prayer.

We are told in Romans 8:34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 

Jesus is praying for us now! It appears that He entered that ministry of intercession as He prayed this prayer.

Not that He had not interceded before- I love this story:
Mark 6:45-51 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified.Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 

He said that He would build His church. He prays for His church.

He prayed for us 2,000 years ago:

1. That We Would Be One with other Believers.- v.21
Like the Father and He- indescribable oneness.

This includes all here in Bay Shore- we are not competing! We are on the same team!

This is all across our country and around the world! Haiti- banner- God loves this stuff!

This includes mystically all who have died. 

Yet she on earth hath union with God the Three in One,
and mystic sweet communion with those whose rest is won.

The Church Triumphant
The Church Militant 
v.11 As to their spirit and purpose, they are out of the world, but as to their bodily presence and influence they are still in the world.
Giving out light, sent out into the world v.18

It includes every language, nation, tongue and tribe.
Revelation 14:6-7 Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come. Worship Him  Who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” 

2. This Oneness is in part so that the world would believe Jesus is God's Son and was sent by Him -v.22-23

Unity in the church reflects the unity of God. 

The essence of God is to be the essence of the church.

Jesus prayed for our unity. We are His representatives in the world. 

When your personal opinions bring disunity to the body (I'm not talking about essentials) you need to keep your mouth shut. Knowledge puffs up.
1 Corinthians 8:1-3 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God.  
If you are putting yourself in a special class of people who know more than others you are really behind others who love fully. Love is the greatest!

To the Jew first- letting them see that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Also to the Greek (non-Jew) Letting them experience the church. We are the Body of Christ.
The church brought these two groups together. Jesus brings people together throughout the world that would never have been united if not for Him.

The unity in diversity is a strong witness to the world. I love the fact there right here in this fellowship we have many nations represented. Many whose first language was not English. We have come from the Caribbean, from Europe, from the East, from South America. 

3. Jesus is praying for us to come to heaven. v.24
He wants to get us there. He is longing for us
We are part of his bride.

We often think of when we get to heaven. It has been a longing of mine as far back as I can remember but far greater than any longing we have is our LORD's longing to have us there.

Want= resolved or being determined, delight or taking pleasure in
The LORD Jesus is determined to get us to heaven.
It is something He will get pleasure from.
We seldom think of the LORD delighting in us, but He does.

Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior Who saves.He will take great delight in you; in His love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” 

Jesus desires for us to be with Him.
Here on earth with other believers in fellowship.

From heaven He came and sought her
To be His holy Bride;
With His own blood He bought her,
And for her life He died.

Christ will soon appear to catch His Bride away
Marriage will be between Christ and His Church. 
Mark 12:25 When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 
Matthew 22:30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 

The LORD sets an example in prayer for us. We often pray for those who are ill and that is right but not enough. Our prayers ought reflect the heart of God for His church. Jesus' prayer in this chapter gives us some insight on how to pray that way.

The closer we grow to the LORD the more our prayers will be reflective of His desire for His church.