Questions Jesus Asked: Week #6

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June 20, 2020 • Raul Latoni

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In the Gospels, Jesus asks many more questions than he answers. To be precise, Jesus asked 307 questions. Asking questions was central to Jesus’ life and teachings — that’s how we discover for ourselves that He is the way, the Truth and the Life.

This weekend Raúl Latoni discusses a question that Jesus asked, "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?" Mark 8:36.

Message Transcript

Hi, my name is Randy Wilhelm and I'm the Director of Vineyard's business leader ministry called One Life. Happy Father's Day weekend to all of you. There are nine of us in our family; my wife and I have five kids. Then we added a daughter in law and last year my oldest son became a father. How cool is that? As we celebrate dads this weekend, we recognize that Father's Day can be complicated. For some of you, you're super excited about this weekend, but for others, you're much less so, for a variety of probably good reasons, but we know that our heavenly father encourages men to keep on trying to be the very best and to be generous in their love. In 1Corinthians 16: 13-14, it says this, " Watch and keep awake. Stand true to the Lord. Keep on acting like men and be strong.

Everything you do should be done in love." I'm so fortunate that I still have my father. So, Happy Father's Day, Dad. I've watched him throughout my life be generous with his love and his time for others. And as we now give financially through this offering, let's reflect on the idea of generosity as we celebrate our earthly dads this weekend, remembering sacrifices made, love shared, time spent and even good attempts to provide in the face of a challenge or adversity. Through that we embrace gratitude and grace, and the ways that our heavenly father who encourages us and is generous to us. To give now, go to the website you see or text the number on your screen and thank you for continuing to be so generous as part of Vineyard Cincinnati's calling to serve our city. Please pray with me over our offering. Father God, thank you for the fathers in our midst and the fathers that have gone before us. We're so grateful. We ask that you shower blessings over all of them on this special day. And as for this offering, Lord, we just ask that you come together with us as we serve our city in ways that are generous and through love that represent you and show the world who you are. Thank you, Jesus. In your name we pray. Amen.

Hello. I'm Adrian Wiley, serving as Director of Operations at the Healing Center, right here on the campus of Vineyard Cincinnati Church. I'm so glad you've chosen to worship with us today, and I hope you've been encouraged. Getting back together as a church has been a slow and steady process, guided by wisdom and safety. We can't wait until the weekend of July 18th and 19th, when we reopen and return for worship together. In the meantime, you're invited to the Vineyard Cincinnati campus for an outdoor event we are calling Songs and Stories. On Saturday, June 27th, we're going to gather in the parking lot for worship and to hear from God's word. Local food trucks will also be onsite. Health and safety precautions will be paramount, and you can be sure that a great deal of prep and planning will go into this event for the sake of your wellbeing and peace of mind.

Feel free to bring a lawn chair and visit our website for complete details. But we do ask you to RSVP so we can plan for your arrival. Serve Saturday is back, and calling us all together to love our city. On Saturday, June 27th, after the Songs and Stories event, you'll be sent out on a Cincy Prayer Adventure. From your cars, you'll be guided through our great city with instructions for key destinations and what to pray for. Bring the kids! It's in times like these that we need to unite and be the Church. Let's be a City on a hill, seven hills actually, and love Cincinnati by covering with prayer every single neighborhood. See you on the 27th. If you'd like to know more about the heart of Vineyard Cincinnati Church, visit our website at or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Happy Father's Day to you all. I want to pray a special blessing over you as we celebrate Father's Day today. It is my prayer that God will grant you the wisdom as you instruct your children in the ways of the Lord, the integrity to model what it means to walk with Jesus for your children, the courage and the conviction to stand in difficult times. I also pray that God may reward your efforts and grant you the joy of seeing your children, and your children's children, knowing and walking in fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. And I pray these things in the powerful name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Hey Vineyard, it is great to be with you once again, sharing from the word of God. Today, we go on with our series on the Questions that Jesus Asks and we are focusing on the question, "What will it benefit someone if he gains the whole world yet loses his life?".

One of the most popular phrases appearing in tattoos is the phrase "carpe diem". The meaning of this Latin phrases, "seize the day". The last part of the complete phrase is "carpe diem, tempus fugit", which means that "time flies". It might mean for some of them just live it up, get yours. And while to some, this might be an expression that properly inspires individuals to live life to its fullest, for followers of Jesus Christ, it is insufficient and potentially misleading. This question gets to the root of the matter of the proper stewardship of life. Not all endeavors in life and human causes are equally worthy of our pursuit. The immediate context of this question provides for us with God's perspective on living a rich life or a life well invested. The God sanctioned way of investing our lives and the gift of time. Someone has calculated that a person living to the age of 70 spends time in the following manner: They sleep for 23 years.

They work for 16 years. They watch TV for eight years. They eat for six years. They travel for six years. Leisure four and a half years. In illness, they spend four years. Dressing, two years. Religion, half a year. In total, 70 years. The scriptures highlight for us the importance of gaining wisdom and the stewardship of our time of our lives. Scripture says in James 4:14, "For what is your life? We're just a mist that appears for a little time, and then we vanish." Psalm 90:12 says, "Teach us, oh Lord, to number our days that we may grow a heart or develop a heart of wisdom." Ephesians 5:15-16 tells us to look carefully then how we live or how we walk, "not as unwise, but as wise making the best use of the time, because the days are evil". In this portion of the scripture, we're going to see that there's three basic principles that can guide us in our stewardship of the time and talent that God gives to us.

Someone once said to me, Raúl, your life is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to God. Verse 21 in in Matthew 16, says "From then on, Jesus began to point out to his disciples that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, the chief priests and scribes; be killed and raised on the third day". The first point that I want to make today is that a life well invested, a truly rich life, requires a proper orientation or a God orientation. In the wake of the previous acknowledgement by Peter in the preceding verses of Jesus as Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus now proceeds to give them instructions about what kind of Messiah he is. He uses his own life example because he's going to challenge them to use their lives and to use the time a lot to them while they live to live, following in his footsteps.

So he rectifies for them that he's not the type of Messiah that at that time is coming to rule, to throw away the rule of the Romans and to deliver them from the Roman empire, but that he is a suffering servant. And then it says in verse 22, that Peter took him aside and he began to rebuke Jesus. He says, "Oh no, Lord, this will never happen to you!" Jesus didn't even finish letting him talk. And he turned and he told Peter, he says, "Get behind me, Satan, you are a hindrance to me because you're not thinking about God's concerns, but human concerns." And as I have just stated, a live we'll invest, it requires a proper orientation or a God orientation. And we ask ourselves, isn't it amazing how often and how quickly, as human beings, we can go from illuminated thoughts and words to foolish thoughts and words?

One moment, Peter is here affirming the revelation of God, supernatural revelation, and Jesus is affirming him for having supernatural insight into who he is as a person. And the next minute, Peter is standing in opposition to the revelation of God. Jesus had already said that he did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. And here is Peter, well-intentioned Peter, trying to impede Jesus Christ from fulfilling his destiny of dying on the cross for humanity. While we all know that Peter and I sometimes I'm like Peter, right? We suffer from foot and mouth disease. As my therapist clearly pointed out to me one time that not every thought that comes to my mind is coming from God and not every thought is worth sharing. We will be well served if we, as we try to orient our lives towards serving God and allow God to come into our lives and be the orientation, the main, the primary orientation of our lives, understanding that our perspective is not infallible.

The Bible even says that, you know, my ways are not your ways. My thoughts are not your thoughts. I want to highlight also that the rebuke to Peter highlights the fact that good intentions do not always guarantee success. Furthermore, Jesus seems to highlight that in his rebuke to Peter, that the words of Peter, and he is being satanically inspired. It is clear that the teaching of Jesus Christ about himself clearly contradicts it. The ideas that Peter had about him, Peter was well-meaning. He wanted to save him from the turmoil of being crucified and suffering at the hands of a lawless man. But Jesus knew that he was not to compromise. And that's why he speaks to them, to him in that, in that fashion. It is also important to mention that for us in our lives, as we're seeking to live a God oriented life, nothing stands in the way of a life well invested or a truly rich life

like the self. A life that is focused on self preservation puts our human interests before the interests of God. One of my greatest growth spurts spiritually came through one of the most painful seasons of my life. I remember crying out to God to be delivered from the pain and anguish at that moment. I was just like Peter. I was trying to counsel God on how we could best accomplish his will in my life. I became even cynical since I was focused, almost exclusively, on my own pain and my wellbeing. And in retrospect, I realized the truth of the scriptures that God is always working for my greater good and his greater glory. When I choose to live life with a God orientation, when I seek first and foremost what is most profitable to God and will yield greater glory to his name, then I align myself with his will and I received the grace to endure under trial, to grow through it and to bring him the greatest glory.

Jesus did not only come to deliver us from Satan, sin and the grave. When we tend to think about spiritual warfare, we tend to think an image of Satan quickly pops into our own mind. The truth of the matter is that we have three enemies. We have two enemies from without, and we have one enemy within us. We have the world and Satan and their influence from without, but we also have a fallen nature within us, a sinful nature, a selfish inclination. And as we begin to wage spiritual warfare, we must first check ourselves before we wreck ourselves. The Bible tells us that the mind set on the flesh leads to death. This mindset, and this selfish orientation is hostile to God. As we're seeking to live with a God orientation, we know that we're going to have to face the truth and the sad truth that our own desires many times get in the way of God's desires.

The Bible even goes on to say that the mindset on the flesh or on my own desires, getting my own will, my selfish inclination does not submit to God. And it is unable to do so. That's in Romans 8:6-8. The Bible encourages us in Galatians 5:16 that we are to walk in the spirit. And as we do that, we will not fulfill the loss, the lost or excessive, selfish desires of the flesh, our sinful nature in gaining this new God orientation. It is necessary for us and clear to understand that God declares war on our selfish orientation. We must also declare war on this orientation. We're not to keep the selfish oriented impulse alive in us by artificial means. We must be committed to the ultimate demise of this clear and present danger within us.

Romans 8:13 puts it this way, "If you are living according to those selfish impulses, the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the spirit you are putting to death the misdeeds of the flesh, you will live". I need to remind myself of this truth. As I wake up in the morning, I know that at every moment of the day, I am presented with the option of living my life with a self orientation or with a God orientation. Second point that I want to make from this portion of the scripture is that a life well lived, a truly rich life or a life well invested, requires not only a God orientation, but a selfless disposition. This means that we must deal decisively and conclusively with our inner inordinate obsession with ourselves. We are addicted to ourselves. We put ourselves as the center of the universe.

And the truth of the matter is, the universe does not revolve around us. In verse 24, Jesus says to his disciples, "If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me". The first part of that phrase, let him deny himself, tells us that we must move from self centeredness to other centeredness. My dreams, my hopes, the right to my own life, the pursuit of my priorities, taking a back seat to his vision, his desires, and his will for my life. I need to consider God and his will as preeminent in the pursuit of the life that God has designed for me. 2 Corinthians 5:15, restates this truth, in this way, he says that "Jesus died for all that. Those who live should no longer live for themselves, but they should live for him who died for them and was raised again".

In addition to this, this verse tells us that we not only need to have an other orientation. We need to have a selfless disposition, but that we are also to include others and their wellbeing into our lives. This becomes critical as we attempt to follow Jesus. Jesus was not serving his own interests. He was serving the interests of humanity. And if you're a true follower of Jesus Christ, and if you are dealing a decisive blow to that self centered impulse in you, you would not only include the big Other, God, but you will include others, His creation and His children into the equation. Philippians 2:3-4 says it this way, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, consider others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look only, not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others".

I have noticed that I am when I am not in fellowship with Jesus Christ, when I'm not spending time in the word, when I'm not spending time worshiping him or praying to him, I become overly preoccupied with myself. And I tend to have less margin to live generously towards God and towards others. As a matter of fact, this lack of fellowship, which manifests in self centeredness shows up in my life because I'm more cranky than normal. I am impatient with others that think differently from me. I am judgmental and I tend to become curt in my communication. As followers of Jesus Christ, we need to move from self-centeredness to other-centeredness. The second thing that we must do according to verse 24, there, it says that we need to take up our cross and, no, our cross is not living with your mother-in-law or being married to a nagging woman or whatever

you might describe that in your own life. What he means by that is that we need to move from self-preservation to self-sacrifice. In the time of Jesus, people who are condemned to death, they were condemned to death as criminals. They needed not only to be crucified, but they needed to carry their own crosses. The moment a person laid a cross on their shoulder, they knew for sure that this was a one way trip. There was no return from this. And Jesus is awakening the disciples, and he is challenging us to take up our cross without the prospects of being able to turn back. To getting a sober and a committed will to doing the will of the Father. We need to, as we embrace as we carry that cross it is a sober consideration that hardship and suffering is part of, not the whole, of a life well spent following Jesus. Philippians 1:21-29, restates this truth by saying that for us as believers, it has been granted onto us

not only to believe in Jesus, but also to suffer for his namesake., John 16:33, Jesus clearly states to the disciples, the truth that in this world, we will have tribulation. But that's only half of the story, right? "But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world." Lastly, from this verse 24, we not only need to kill or die to that self centered impulse move from self preservation to self sacrifice. We need to allow the God led life to inform our decisions. In other words, we need to move from the self ruled life. We need to give way to the God led life. And that's found in the last portion of this verse, see this last portion of this verse, all of those words about, you know, denying ourselves about taking up our cross and following Jesus are in the imperative. Meaning these are not suggestions.

If you want to live the life that truly matters, a life that is truly fruitful, and that counts for eternity, you need to obey this. This last part, this verb there "Follow me" is in a tense that denotes that this must be a continual, repetitive action, that we must obey. We need to continue to yield, moment by moment, day by day to the will of God. The truth of the matter is that the more yielded that I am, the greater my sensibility to know, and to follow the will of God is. It Is clear that as followers of Jesus Christ, someone has said that as followers of Christ, we aim to love God completely, love ourselves correctly, and then we're able to love others compassionately. So the whole goal, as we aim to live a God led life to let go of the self led life, God will enhance our ability to know, to walk in his will. And as a result of that, we will love him more completely, love ourselves correctly, and love others compassionately. In verse 25

Jesus says that "whoever wants to save his life will lose it. Whoever loses his life because of me will find it". It is our choice that we have to make. It is black and white. We can make a choice and we have to make a choice between the so-called "good" life or the God life. My own translation of this verse is as follows. If you wish to preserve life on your own terms, you will ultimately ruin your own life. You will miss out on the life God ordained for you. But if you give up on life on your own terms, for the sake of Jesus, you will truly find the God life or the life that God ordained for you. The truth of John 10:10, the thief has come to rob, kill, and destroy. And sometimes under the influence, we still choose to live a self led life, a life that is predicated on our desires, gaining and accumulating wealth in this world and not being rich towards God.

But he says the thief comes to rob, kill, and destroy. "I have come so that you may have life and have it to the full" or an abundant life. Jesus did not just come to give us eternal life, save us from sin, but God also came into our lives to give us a new quality of life now, even as we expect the consummation of the kingdom of God. That is the good life. That is the truly abundant life. Are we going to choose the good life? Are we going to choose the God life? My third point here is that our life well invested or a truly rich life requires an eternal perspective. We have already say that, you know, we need to a truly rich life requires a proper orientation or reorientation or God orientation. We've already spoken about the fact that, you know, a life well lived requires that we would have, you know, come to terms with our self and deal with our self conclusively and decisively so that we can allow God to live in us and through us. But a life well invested, and a truly rich life requires an eternal perspective.

If as human beings, we become myopic and fall into the trap of believing that everything that we see is all that there is to see, we will probably settle for going and chasing and living in a life in accordance with that skewed perspective. We'll just chase the things of this world, right? And the Bible many times tells us, you know, set your eyes on eternity, look towards heaven. The person who lives with an eternal perspective is able to forego immediate and temporal gain for the true riches of eternal gain. In verse 26, this is clearly stated: "For what will it benefit someone if he gains the whole world yet loses his life?" Or what will anyone give in exchange for his life? So this is the question that we're dealing with today. The crux of this statement is meant to shake us to the core, waking us up to the redefinition of what true riches really are.

I asked myself this question, am I truly better off pursuing the trappings of life and earthly riches? Is it worth it to give my all to that, which is ephemeral and cannot fully satisfy? A temporal earthly existence can be lived to the fullest while still having a terminal significance. It's not that those things in and of themselves, the pursuit of these things are bad. It is that as we allow those things to become the ultimate god of our lives, as we make idols of those lives, those things then hamper us, hinder us from truly experiencing the abundant life that God has for us. I remember when I became a believer. I quit my job and my studies (I was going to school to get an MBA) in order to go train for ministry. At the time I thought I made the great decision, but I struggled while I was in Bible Institute,

as I was living this life of faith. There were times that I have abundance and there were times that I had lack, but God grew me through it. I grew in my faith and my trust in Jesus Christ. And then I think back and I said, was this for nothing? And then I wonder, where would I be today if I did not make this tough choice? What kind of legacy would my children have? I will perhaps be more affluent materially. Nonetheless, I would perhaps be bankrupt spiritually. This is not an either/or proposition. So I'm not saying that if you're rich, you know, you're foregoing eternal wealth, eternal riches. I'm saying that sometimes the Bible says, you know, money's not the root of all evil, but the love of money, wealth, can be the root of all evil. As a matter of fact, it even challenges us that we cannot serve two masters. We'll either love the one or hate the other. So it might be money in your life. It might be prestige in your life. It might be some other pursuit of your dreams and ambitions that are pursued independently of the will of God. And ultimately you cannot serve two masters.

So Jesus challenges us. "What will it benefit if he gains the whole world and loses his life"", spends his life in the process. But the last part of this verse, "What will anyone give in exchange for his life?" speaks to the impossibility of getting a do-over once our life is spent, once time has flown by. It speaks to the irreversible nature of regaining time and opportunity wants spent, no man can buy it back. In other words, he says, you know what? Once you have spent your life in this pursuit, you don't get a do-over. What can you do to purchase time back? So with all the things that God has given to us as human beings, as believers and trusted us with time, talent, and treasure. So it is possible for people to take their treasure, right? Material wealth. We've seen many people that have gone bankrupt and emerged from bankruptcy several times to rebuild their fortune.

It is possible people who are careless with a talent that they have, whether in athleticism or any other talent that they have playing an instrument, they get away from it and sometimes lose some of their ability. But then when they get into practice again, when they get their bodies back into shape, they regain the ability to exercise that talent. But those things do not hold truth for time. Because time, once gone, it is gone forever. Therefore, the admonition that we read at the beginning from Ephesians 5, we need to be wise with our time. We need to live as wise, we need to redeem and make the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. How true is that of the days in which we are living right now? Someone has stated this, that in each day, there are 24 hours, 1,440 minutes and 86,400 seconds.

And every one of them is a precious gift from God. Time is something we feel we never have enough of, yet we give it away so easily. Someone once said, time is free, but it is priceless. You cannot own it, but you can use it. You cannot keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it, you can never get it back. Verse 27 says that the Son of San is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father. And then he will reward each according to what he has done. If we look at the scriptures, the clear teaching of the scripture speaks about eternal rewards. So you got saved. It's not an eternal reward. It is a gift from God. Someone has stated it this way, what you believe in this lifetime determines your eternal destiny. What you do in this lifetime determines your eternal reward or the lack thereof. There's a clear sense from this verse, affirming that the biblical teaching of eternal rewards.

As a matter of fact, if you go to Hebrews 12, the Bible says that Jesus, for the joy set before him, he endured the cross. He scorned his shame. He was able to endure through difficult times. He was able to propel himself to endure the cross for the sake of his enemies, because he was able to envision the joy that was set before him. What was that joy? It was the joy of seeing you, seeing me redeemed, being added to the family of God, walking in fellowship with him. So even if the reward that was allotted and given to Jesus for the sacrifice that he underwent, the Bible says that his name that has been given him as a name that is above every name, but the joy of seeing you. We are able to propel ourselves in light of the truth that God is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him.

As he has said in his word "Behold, I am coming very soon, and my reward with me." Revelation 2:10 "Be faithful unto death. And I will give you the crown of righteousness." "Blessed is the man who endures temptation." James 1, "after he has overcome temptation, he will receive the crown of life". So the clear teaching of the Word is that when we live with an eternal perspective, we are able to endure through tough choices, through hard times through difficult circumstances, because we are able to see , and see the joy and see the acceptance of the Father and the words we can even envision him saying, "Well done, good and faithful servant". Jim Elliott, famous missionary who died at the hands of the people that he went to preach the gospel to as he reflected on his life.

And as he reflected on this portion of the scriptures, he remarked the following. He said that "he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose". In conclusion, the other day, I was driving by a war Memorial, which had a big plaque with the following inscription on it. "These men gave their lives". And I said to myself, what a legacy! What will be my legacy? Will my legacy be one that was my life was spent on behalf of others" A life that made room for God? A life that was lived with an eternal perspective? A life that allowed me to make the tough choices so that I can receive my eternal reward? Will it be that I lived the life that was selfish, focused on myself, orienting my whole life around the center of the universe, me, myself and I. For all of us

I believe that this question that Jesus asks is meant to be a wake up call. It's not meant to fill us with guilt and condemnation over lost time and missed opportunities. Our God is a Redeemer! In a certain way, there is no sense crying over spilled milk. Time gone is time gone. We can do nothing to change the past, but we can do something about the day that we're living right now and whatever other days the Lord, in His Grace, allots to each and every one of us. Instead, Jesus's question is meant to Rouse and inspire us to live every moment and every day for as long as God grants us life to the fullest. But in light of eternity, that is the difference, right? It's not a matter of you go get yours, live it up. No, we live every day with a God orientation. We say no to the self. We take decisive action to deny ourselves so that God can have room in our lives. We move from a self-centered, self- led life to the God-led life. We live in light of the eternal perspective and the true riches that cannot be corrupted.

The truth of the matter is that this challenge for us to live this life, a life well-invested, a truly rich life, God deserves it because he purchased our lives, right? 2 Corinthians 5:15 says "One died for all, that those who now live may no longer live for themselves, but for him who died and rose for them." God deserves it. The world needs it. Ultimately, you were made for this. What will you invest your life in? Will you accept God's challenge to live a life that is God-centered, God-led and within an eternal perspective? Let us pray: Father, we thank you that you speak to us clearly, lovingly, you rebuke us, correct us, train us, Father, that we may be able to do every good work for you. Father search our hearts, search our lives. And I pray, Father, that the light of the truth of your word.

We bring clear conviction of things that we are chasing after, relationships, dreams, and ambitions that are totally focused on the self and leave no room or make no room for you to have your way. Father, I pray that you would just also grant us, open our eyes to the truth, oh Father God, of an eternal perspective of the true riches that await each and every one of us. As we make the tough choices, as we daily, Father, take up our cross. And as we ultimately allow you to lead and we follow, Father, may the riches promised in the scripture, Father, to those that do your will (for after all, you've said that you will honor those that honor you) Father, I pray that the abundant life will be ours. And in our experience in greater measure, as we continue to yield our lives to you, moment by moment. And we pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Thanks for joining us for Vineyard Cincinnati Church where,for over 30 years, we have believed that small things done with great love will change the world. Vineyard Cincinnati is open to everyone, no matter what your thoughts are about God or church, whether you're new to church or have been around it, your whole life, you're in good company with those of us who are exploring who God is, or rediscovering what church can be. If you've enjoyed this service and want to know more about us, simply text the word VINE to 97000 to share your details, And someone will be in touch real soon. It's that easy. That's VINE to 97000.