Sermon #54                                                                                                                          John’s Gospel

 

      Title:                                 Where is He?

      Text:                                 John 7:11

      Subject:               The Places Where Christ is Found

      Date:                                Sunday Evening — June 21, 2009

      Tape:                    John #54

      Readings:           Lindsay Campbell and Ron wood

      Introduction:

 

(John 7:11) Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he?

 

Some sought to take him and kill Him. Others sought to take Him and make Him a king. Some sought to see His miracles. Others sought to hear His doctrine. Some sought Him out of curiosity. Others sought Him out of need. Everyone knew that the Lord Jesus would be in Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles. It was both His custom and His duty as an Israelite to come at this time to the house of God to worship God. Therefore everyone one expected Him to be there. Throughout the days of the feast, there was a murmuring about Him. It seems that everyone at the feast was asking one question — Where is He?That is the question I want to address in this message. I hope you have come here seeking Christ. I hope it is the desire of your heart to meet Him, hear Him speak, see His glory, experience His grace and worship Him.

 

When Elisha took up Elijah’s mantle, he cried, “Where is the God of Elijah?” (2 Kings 2:14). In his time of great trial, in the midst of his groaning and heaviness of heart, Job cried, “Oh that I knew where I might find him! That I might come even to his seat!” (Job 23:3).

 

We have come together once more to worship our beloved Redeemer. May God the Holy Spirit give us grace to put out of our minds the cares of this world and set our hearts and minds on our blessed Savior. — Where is he? May God the Holy Spirit cause us to both know where to find our Savior and give us grace to do so.

 

Proposition: There are appointed places where the Lord Jesus Christ may be found by those who seek him with all their hearts. — In other words, If you really want to find Him, there are places where He may be found.

 

Divisions:

1.    A Question from Many People.

2.    An Answer from the Word of God.

3.    An Answer of Experienced Faith.

4.    A Matter of Personal Examination.

 

The Question of Many

 

First, this is a question asked by many people, from different circumstances, and for different reasons. Our text specifically tells us that the Jews asked, “Where is He?” But this is a question that has often been asked by numerous people throughout the ages of Christianity. In the days of His manhood upon this earth, many frequently asked where He was because they hated Him and wanted to kill Him.

 

You will remember that King Herod asked this question of the wise men, when our Savior first came into the world. He pretended that he wanted to worship him; but he really wanted to destroy him (Matthew 2:1-13).

 

There have been multitudes, like Herod, who have sought to destroy Christ, that is to destroy His people, His Gospel and His cause in this world, while pretending that they worship him. Opposition and persecution arises from many quarters; but it is never so dangerous as when it comes from those who pretend that they are the Lord’s disciples.

Š      The Persecutions of the Papists.

Š      The Heresies of Freewillers and Work-Mongers.

Š      The Slanders of False Brethren.

 

Infidels, who sneeringly denying our Lord’s very existence, taunt and deride his people, saying, “Where is He?

 

(2 Peter 3:3-4) They are “scoffers, walking after their own lusts, (4) And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”

 

This is a question that is sometimes asked by fearful, trembling believers. God’s saints are sometimes so overcome with trials and troubles, with heartache and grief, that they question His presence, His power, His promises and His providence. In such times of weakness, our hearts cry, “Where is He?

 

  • Job certainly did.

 

(Job 23:8-9) “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: (9) On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:”

 

  • So did David.

 

(Psalms 22:1) “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?”

 

We ought never to doubt our God and Savior. He is worthy of implicit trust and confidence. But we are often like the disciples in their little boat on the storm tossed sea, crying, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:38).

 

Penitent sinners humbly seek the Lord Jesus Christ, asking, “Where is He?” that they may come to Him, confess their sin to Him and obtain mercy from Him.

 

(Psalms 27:8) “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.”

 

(Isaiah 26:9) “With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.”

 

All who trust Christ seek him with all their hearts. Believers are men and women who live in the pursuit of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:9; Philippians 3:7-14)

 

(2 Corinthians 5:9) Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

 

(Philippians 3:7-14) But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. (8) Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, (9) And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (10) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; (11) If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. (12) Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. (13) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, (14) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

 

Those who love the Lord earnestly seek Him.

 

(Song of Songs 3:3) “The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?”

 

When our Beloved has withdrawn Himself from us and hides His face from us because of our sinful neglect of Him or disobedience to Him, once we are made to bitterly lament our sin and His absence, we crave His return. Our hearts pine for communion with Him. And we ache for His manifest presence with us.

 

Return, beloved Lord, return!

My straying heart arrest!

If you will make Your presence known,

Then shall my soul be blessed.

 

And we know, we are graciously made to know that we pine for our Beloved only because He graciously causes us to pine for Him (Song 5:2-8).

 

(Song of Songs 5:2-8) I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night. (3) I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them? (4) My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him. (5) I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock. (6) I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. (7) The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me. (8) I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love.

 

The soul that thirsts for Christ’s, longing to behold His glory, anxiously looking for His second coming, cries “Where is He?When we hear our Savior say, “Surely I come quickly. Amen,” our hearts respond, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).

 

“When by His grace I shall look on His face,

That will be glory, yes glory, for me!”

 

Answered by Scripture

 

Second, this question, — (“Where is He?”), — is answered plainly in the Book of God. This is not something about which God leaves us to guess. Where is Christ to be found? If we turn to the pages of Holy Scripture to discover the answer to this question we will find that it is answered very clearly. Do you ask, Where is He?Listen to the Word of God, and I will show you.

 

He is in the bosom of the Father.

 

(John 1:18) “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”

 

He is the center of heaven. Here is the glory of Glory (Revelation 4 and 5).

Š      A Throne.

Š      The Lamb in the Midst of the Throne.

Š      A Rainbow about the Throne - The Covenant.

Š      The Four Living Creatures - Gospel Preachers.

Š      The Four and Twenty Elders upon the Four and Twenty Seats - The Whole Church of God’s Elect.

Š      A Book Written.

Š      In The Midst of All is THE LAMB!

 

(Revelation 5:9-13) “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; (10) And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (11) And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; (12) Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. (13) And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”

 

Where is He?” — He is seated upon the throne of universal dominion. There He sits in the serenity of total sovereignty. There He must reign until He has made all His foes His footstool. Jesus Christ is Lord of all forever!

 

(John 17:2) “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.”

 

(Romans 14:9) “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.”

 

(1 Corinthians 15:24-28) Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. (25) For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. (26) The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (27) For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. (28) And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

 

He is at the right hand of the majesty on high, in the place of representation and advocacy as our great High Priest.

 

(Romans 8:27) “He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

 

(Romans 8:34) “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”

 

(1 John 2:1-2) My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (2) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

 

The Lord Jesus Christ is on the throne of grace, dispensing mercy to helpless, guilty, needy sinners. I so much want you to see this. The Son of God is within the reach of needy sinners like you and me. He is a God accessible to all who seek him.

 

(Hebrews 4:15-16) “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (16) Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

 

Answered by Experience

 

Third, this is a question that must be answered by experience. — “Where is He?” — Let me tell you what I know by the sweet experience of His grace.

 

Some of you are yet without Christ. I pray that God has aroused an interest in your soul. I hope you are interested in the answer to this question, Where is He? If you are interested in the answer, I want you to hear the testimony of God’s saints, the testimony of experience from those to whom God has given faith. I call upon you who know God to bear me witness as I declare where I have “found him whom my soul loveth.”

 

I have found Him at the mercy-seat when, in the closet of my heart, I have cried to Him in secret prayer.

 

(Isaiah 65:24) “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”

 

I have found Him in His Word.

Š      John 5:39

Š      Luke 24:44-47

 

I have found Him in the assemblies of His people.

  • Matthew 18:20

 

I have found Him at His Table.

Š      In the Bread.

Š      In the Wine.

 

I find Him in the field of service.

Š      Matthew 28:18-20

 

As we serve the interests of His kingdom, His people, His Gospel and His glory, as we seek to do His will and honor His name, as we endeavor to serve the souls of men, as we try to serve our generation by the will of God, our Savior says, “I am with you always!” — And He is!

  • He is with us in sympathy.
  • He is with us to guide us.
  • He is with us to strengthen us.
  • He is with us to protect us.
  • He is with us to make our way prosperous and successful, according to the will of God.

 

I have found Him in every fiery furnace of trial, in every lion’s den of persecution, in every storm of difficulty and in every river of woe to which I have been exposed. I have been a lot of places. I have experienced a lot of things. I have known a few troubles along the way. But I have never been in any place of need without him who is my Rock and my Salvation (Isaiah 43:1-5).

 

(Isaiah 43:1-5) But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. (2) When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. (3) For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. (4) Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. (5) Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west.

 

I have always found the Lord Jesus Christ to be a God at hand.

 

(Philippians 4:4-7) “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. (5) Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. (6) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

 

Christ is always near us. Christ is always with us. Christ is always in us (Colossians 1:27).

 

A Personal Question

 

Fourth, I want each of us to make this a very personal question. “Where is He” in relation to me? We are about to eat the bread and drink the wine of the Lord’s Table once again. As we do, I caution you, each of you, as I caution my own soul, to examine yourselves by this question — “Where is He?” Is He in you? If Christ is in you, then you are in Him, and in Him you are worthy to come to God in this holy ordinance of worship. This is the issue to be settled — Is Jesus Christ in you?

Š      1 Corinthians 11:27-28

Š      2 Corinthians 13:5

 

  • Is Christ alone at the foundation of your hope, at the ground of your faith?
  • Is he at the root of your joys?
  • Is Jesus Christ King upon the throne of your heart?
  • Is His presence in you manifest in your spirit, attitude, words, and actions?
  • Is Christ before you as the goal of your life, the hope of your soul, the end of your journey, the prize of heaven toward whom you are pressing?

 

“WHERE IS HE?” — Our Master is always at home; but He does not always meet His family in the same room. Sometimes we meet Him in the closet of prayer. At other times He meets us in the great assembly hall of His palace. We meet him on His porch, beholding His wonders in morning and evening meditations. Reading the Bible, I meet Him in his library. As I labor in His vineyard, I commune with Him in His garden. When my heart is lively and filled with hopeful expectation, He walks with me on the housetop. When my spirits sink, He meets me in the cellar, takes me by the hand, leads me up the stairs. Every room in His house is good. Wherever He meets me, I rejoice. But the best room in the house is that in which He spreads his Table before me and makes Himself to be Bread and Wine to my soul. Let it be the ever increasing desire of our hearts, while we live in this world, to find Him and live upon Him and walk with Him!

 

AMEN.

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

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