Victory in the garden


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Harold Shank

March 31, 2002 (LLC)
Main Text: "Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, 'Sit here, while I go yonder and pray.' And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, 'My soul is very sorrowful, ever to death; remain here, and watch with me. And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, 'My father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt." Matthew 26:36-39
"Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulchre. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was light lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angle said to the women, Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where le lay." Matthew 28:1-6

  1. On February 2, 2002 our preaching message was focused on prayer

a. We handed out prayer cards and asked 2 questions
b. What do we need to be asking God?

  1. What hinders us from being people of Prayer?

  2. Over 1100 cards were turned in and some had several issues

  1. Listening to church at Prayer is a moving experience
  1. It involves spirituality and has a spiritual focus

  2. There is a wide variety of spiritual issues we think about

  3. This is evidence that God is alive and well

  1. Major concerns were raised

  1. There was burdens expressed and responsibility for the lost

  2. Concerns for more diversity and racial tolerance

  3. Concern for children, teens and college students

  4. Concern for urban ministry, Highland Street Church of Christ and missions

  5. Concern about the poor in society

  1. Many of the people struggled with God's will and your own will

  1. Do we understand what God's will is?

  2. How can we make God's will our will?

  1. I keep a spiritual journal and have written down prayers for the past 6 years

  1. I was struggling with this issue in January 2002

  2. I started to write something and then became distracted

  3. I came back to the journal and wrote this prayer

  4. "Not your will be done, but my will be done"

  5. It was the most honest prayer I have ever prayed

  1. Jesus prayed the opposite in the Garden of Gethsemane

  1. 8 disciples were in the distance and 3 disciples were close by

  2. 3 times Jesus prayed. 3 times he asked his disciples to pray

  3. From his heart Jesus prayed, "Not my will by your will"

  4. Why did Jesus pray this prayer?

  1. Matthew 26:37-38 demonstrates Jesus humanity

  1. He was filled with sorrow and in trouble

  2. His soul was sorrowful unto death

  3. The message was that "sorrow is crushing my life out."

  4. Sorrow and Trouble were an issue of desire

  5. What Jesus wanted was not the same as what God wanted

  1. Matthew 26:39 Centers on the cup

  1. "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me"

  2. What was the cup?

  3. Jesus never tells us exactly, but we assume it is the cross

  4. God's plan for redemption involved pain and suffering for Jesus

  5. Now that he is facing that within hours, his desire is different

  1. Gethsemane is a difficult time for Jesus

  1. His disciples can't stay awake

  2. The cross comes the next day

  3. But perhaps most difficult is that his desire does not match God's desire

  4. He wants the cup to pass

  5. God wants the cup to come

  1. Prayer is easy when what Jesus wants is what God wants. JESUS WANTS

  1. The world to be saved….that's what God wants

  2. To show mercy to the hurting….that's what God wants

  3. The word of God to be preached…..that's what God wants

  4. The followers to be one…..that's what God wants

  5. All men to repent……that's what God wants

  1. Then comes Gethsemane and what Jesus wants is not what God wants
  1. Jesus does not want to be betrayed, but that is what God has planned

  2. Jesus does not want to be beaten, but that is what God has planned

  3. Jesus does not want to be tried, but that is what God has planned

  4. Jesus does not want to be crucified, but that is what God has planned

  5. Jesus does not want to be separated, but that is what God has planned

  6. Jesus does not want to be burdened with the sins of the world, but that is what God has planned

  1. It reminds us about our problem with prayer

  1. We have no problem with prayer, when our desires are God's desires

  2. Our problem with prayer is when our desires are not God's desires

  1. Many of our desires are God's desires

  1. We want all people to be saved, that's what God wants

  2. We want all children blessed, that's what God wants

  3. We want the church to give glory to God, that's what God wants

  4. We want the sick healed, that's what God wants

  1. It is a different prayer when what we want is not what God wants

  1. We know about these times

  2. When God wants us to give up something we don't want to give up

  3. When God's word contradicts our life

  1. I'm not sure I want to pray God's will. WHAT IF GOD'S

  1. Desire for my kids is different than my desire

  2. Plan for my spouse is not my plan

  3. Program for Highland Street church is something that the elders didn't vote for

  4. Vision for our spiritual community makes me uncomfortable

  1. What if God's will is not the same as my will?

  1. What if God's educational plan for my child is not mine?

  2. What if God wants my child in a different career than I dreamed?

  3. I have raised and mentored my boys in a certain direction

  4. If God leads them a different way will they get my blessing or brakes?

  1. Maybe a purchase

  1. Our society, our affluence, our advertising tells us to buy it….buy it

  2. But scripture, what we know about God says…..don't buy it

  3. Greed, selfishness and stinginess says buy it

  4. All that God teaches says…..don't buy it

  1. Maybe a relationship

  1. Society and group moral standards say….pursue it, pursue it

  2. Scripture, Christian friends, reach group and church say, don't pursue it

  3. Hormones, feelings, drives say pursue it, pursue it

  4. Faith and conscience say, don't pursue it

  1. Maybe a child's schedule

  1. Schools, peer groups, an image all say……do it, do it, do it

  2. Scripture, family, and Christian friends all say…don't do it, don't do it

  3. Pride, ambition and the media say….do it, do it

  4. A sense of propriety and judgement say….don't do it, don't do it

  1. We have a hard time praying about those things

  1. Our desire is on one side

  2. God's desire is on the other side

  3. The last thing we want to do is to pray

  1. God has made it clear what he desire. He says, "I DESIRE THAT YOU
  1. Take up your cross, deny yourself daily, hunger and thirst for righteousness

  2. Mourn over the sins of the world, believe in my son and put him on in baptism

  3. Remember the cross through the Lord's supper every first day of the week

  4. Not forsake the assembly of Christians

  5. One man and one woman married for life

  6. Be holy, as I am holy

  1. We have a reluctance to pray some of those prayers

  1. If we pray for those things, it will disrupt our lives

  2. If God has his way, we can't have our way

  1. If I ask God to make me holy, I WILL HAVE TO

  1. Give up the unholy things, give up movies I want to watch

  2. Not buy things I want to buy, not talk the way I want to talk

  1. We are reluctant to pray that God would revive us, and fan the flame

  1. Revival means prayer meetings every night

  2. If there is a prayer meeting every night, I can't watch NYPD Blues


  1. I have to go on Wednesday night and I'll miss West Wing

  2. Changes in school, sports, shopping, hobbies

  3. I'll have to evangelize and pray every morning

  4. Get close to people in Sunday School class and own up to hidden sins

  1. The core of prayer is to ask God to do his will

  1. The Lord's Prayer is "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven"

  2. In Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, "Not my will but your will be done."

  1. It comes down to this

a. Do I want God to do my plan MORE THAN I want God to do his plan

  1. Am I saying to God, "My will be done on earth, as it is in heaven, or your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven?

  1. Prayer is like a sandcastle on the beach

  1. The sandcastle is the way we want life

  2. A tower here, a bridge there, a dungeon over there

  3. Prayer is like a wave

  4. If we pray this prayer of Jesus, "not my will but your will"

  5. Then God sends a wave and washes away the tower, bridge and dungeon

  1. This takes us back to Gethsemane

  1. We understand Jesus anguish. He wants his desires over God's desires

  2. But Jesus gives up his desires and accepts God's desires

  3. Almost as soon as he says, "Your will be done"……things happen

  4. Police and the betrayer came to the garden and the disciples flee

  5. There are trials with Caiphais, Annas, Pilate and Herod

  6. There is mockery: Taunts, purple robe, thorns, scourged

  7. A march, nails, the cross, a sign and pain

  8. Death, the tomb, the cold, a stone rolled in place

  1. Jesus said, "Your will be done, not mine"

  1. As soon as he said that life got ugly

  2. The cup he feared became the cup he endured

  3. God's will was not what Jesus desired

  1. But what begins in the Garden of Gethsemane ends in garden of the tomb

  1. When the sun came, the stone was rolled away

  2. A powerful force enters the tomb and surrounds his dead body
  3. Life is forced back into this crucified man

  4. He walks out of the tomb resurrected

  5. He never dies again, but lives new with God

  1. Jesus said, "your will be done, not mine"

  1. This took Jesus through the valley of the shadow of death

  2. But he ended living in the Lord's house forever

  1. The New Testament affirms that same story for us

  1. Romans 8:11

  2. 2 Corinthians 4:14

  3. 1 Peter 1:21

  1. The resurrection is the reason we can pray the Gethsemane Prayer

  1. I can give my boys, because I know the last word is Resurrection

  2. I can give my wife, because I know the last word is Resurrection

  3. I can give my schedule, because I know that last word is Resurrection

  4. I can give my career, because I know that the last word is Resurrection

  5. I can give my finances, because I know that the last word is Resurrection

  6. I can give my future, because I know that the last word is Resurrection

  1. Resurrection is affirmation that God's way is the best way

  1. Jesus was dead, God raised him, He lives forever

  2. Nothing that I want or desire comes close to the promise contained in those facts

  1. Lord bet the shepherd of my children

  1. Make my child to lie down in green pastures
  2. Lead my child beside still waters

  3. Restore the soul of each child

  4. Lead them in paths of righteousness

  5. When they come to the valley of the shadow of death, be with them

  6. Use your rod and staff even if it hurts

  7. When my children meet an enemy

  8. Prepare a table before them

  9. When they are hurt, anoint them with oil

  10. God, let your mercy and goodness follow them all their lives

  11. May my 2 sons dwell in your house forever

  1. Lord, I pray for my wife and best friend

  1. I pray your kingdom would come into her life

  2. I pray your will be done with her as it is in heaven

  3. Give her this day her daily bread

  4. Forgive her sins and lead her to forgive those who sin against her

  5. Lead her not into temptation

  6. Whenever she is faced with evil, deliver her

  7. Let her soul say that your is the Kingdom, Power and Glory forever and ever

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