En junio 15, 2012 Nik Wallenda puso el pie en el alambre. Había estado soñando, planificación, y preparando durante años para el paseo histórico a través de las Cataratas del Niágara. El alambre se estiró algunos 1,800 metros de ancho y 180 pies sobre las cataratas. Decenas de miles de personas se reunieron en los lados canadienses y estadounidenses de las cataratas para ver el paseo histórico.
Nik comenzó su pie de Terrapin Point en el lado americano y la niebla era tan espesa que los que miran desde el lado canadiense coulldn't lo ven hasta en su caminar diez minutos. Durante treinta y cinco minutos en el alambre Nik oró, hablado con su padre en un auricular, y se utiliza un poste de cuarenta pies para mantener el equilibrio hasta que vio la línea de meta de la plataforma en Table Rock en el lado canadiense. Nik corrió los pocos pasos finales como a su familia aplaudió más fuerte que el estruendo de las cataratas. Una vez que puso un pie en el lado canadiense, Nik tenía que mostrar su pasaporte a la patrulla de frontera con Canadá. Cuando leí que yo me tuve que reír. ¿No puedes imaginar Nik saliendo por la puerta de su habitación del hotel y su esposa diciendo, "Cariño, no se olvide de su pasaporte. "Demasiado divertido!
One hundred and fifty years before Nik Wallenda walked across Niagara Falls on a high wire, there was a man named Charles Blondin who first made that walk. It was June 30, 1859 when Blondin, un 31 year old Frenchman, became the first man in history to ever walk across Niagara Falls on a wire. I bet he didn’t have to show the Canadian Border Patrol his passport. Blondin hung around for the next few days and crossed the falls many more times. He laid down on the wire halfway across, he walked across on stilts, he carried a stove and a chair and sat down about halfway across and cooked an omelet, he gave his manager a piggyback ride, and he pushed a wheelbarrow loaded with 350 lbs of cement across the wire. One time he asked the crowd, “Do you think I could push a man sitting in a wheelbarrow across the falls?” The crowd cheered and shouted, "Sí! Lo puedes hacer!” Charles Blondin noticed one of the men who was most enthusiastic and asked him, "Señor, do you think I could push you across the falls in this wheelbarrow?” The man said, "Absolutamente!” as he clapped and smiled. Blondin said, “Get in.” The man became white as a ghost, the smile on his face vanished, and his heart raced. He refused.
Do You Believe Enough to Get In?
What a great illustration for our time in God’s Word this morning. It is one thing to believe that Blondin can safely push you across Niagara Falls. It is an altogether different reality to get in the wheelbarrow and make the journey. It’s one thing to lift your hands, raise your voice, and praise Jesus for who He is. “Getting in” and trusting Jesus on the “wire” of life—through its twists and turns, hills and valleys, and the glory and gore of life is an altogether different reality. Vamos a echar un vistazo a nuestra escritura para esta mañana y ver que podemos aprender. Venga conmigo a John 8:30-36.
30 Mientras hablaba, muchos creyeron en él. 31 Para los Judios que habían creído, Jesús dijo:, «Si permanecéis en mi palabra, seréis verdaderamente mis discípulos. 32 Entonces usted sabrá la verdad, y la verdad os hará libres.» 33 Ellos le respondieron:, «Somos descendientes de Abraham y nunca hemos sido esclavos de nadie. ¿Cómo puedes decir que seremos liberados?» 34 Jesús le respondió:, «Muy verdaderamente te digo, todo el que peca es esclavo del pecado. 35 Ahora, un esclavo no se queda en la casa, sino hijo pertenece a ella para siempre. 36 Así que si el Hijo los libera, que seréis realmente libres. (Juan 8:30-36 NIV)
John tells us that as the crowd listened and watched Jesus, “many believed in him.” Like the adoring, cheering crowd who “believed in” Charles Blondin as he made trip after trip across the falls, the people cheered for Jesus and urged Him on…but would they get in and make the journey? That’s the question before us this morning. Are you a fan, an admirer, someone who has a massive amount of respect for Jesus or are you someone who is “in Christ” and making the journey wherever He takes you, whatever He takes you through in this life? This wasn’t the first time that Jesus had encountered those who believed in Him, but were unwilling to commit to Him. Volvamos a John 2:23-25. John writes about Jesus at the Feast of Passover. Lean conmigo.
23 Mientras estaba en Jerusalén durante la fiesta de la Pascua, muchas personas vieron los signos que hacía y creyeron en su nombre. 24 Pero Jesús no se confiaba a ellos, porque él conocía a todos,. 25 Él no necesita ningún testimonio sobre la humanidad, porque él sabía lo que había en cada persona. (Juan 2:23-25 NIV)
They saw what Jesus did and “believed in his name," but Jesus knew their hearts so He wouldn’t give Himself to them, Él “would not entrust Himself to them.” Is that confusing to you? We read that they believed in His name. Isn’t that enough? Isn’t that what Jesus asks of us—to believe in Him? Absolutamente, but believing isn’t merely checking the boxes on the right doctrines. Believing is trusting to the point of totally surrendering our lives to Jesus. "Señor, wherever you want me to go, I’ll go. Señor, whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it. Señor, my one aim in life is to be what you’ve called me to be. Señor, my one ambition in life is to bring glory to Your Holy Name by living this life you’ve given me to live. Úsame Señor. You can even use me up! I’m Yours Lord…I’m Yours.”
You’re My Only Option!
The kind of belief, the kind of commitment that Jesus longs for in His followers is the same of commitment that Simon Peter spoke about in John 6:68. Déjeme darle un poco de historia. Jesus was teaching the people at the synagogue in Capernaum. It wasn’t a motivational speech, not a Tony Robbins kind of talk; it was challenging and tough for the people to hear. Jesus said He was the Bread of Life. El dijo, "Quien come mi carne y bebe mi sangre tienen vida eterna, and I will raise them up on the last day.” (Juan 6:54 NIV) En el versículo 60, Juan escribió, “On hearing it, muchos de sus discípulos, dijo, «Esta es una enseñanza dura. ¿Quién puede aceptarlo?» (Juan 6:60 NIV) Jesus knew what they were thinking, but He didn’t change His message to draw His hearers in, Él no dijo, “Let me clarify what I meant.” He kept on. Continuó. Jesús dijo:, “…No one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” (Juan 6:65 NIV) And then it happened. They had had all they could stand. Amaban a Jesús. They really liked all of the good things He did for people. They liked most of His sermons, but this one, this one was more than they could stand. They drew the line and began to leave—one by one. John records the moment like this.
66 Desde entonces muchos de sus discípulos volvieron atrás y ya no andaban con él. (Juan 6:66 NIV)
As you read the next few verses you get the idea that everyone had left Jesus except for the twelve disciples. La semana pasada, as I was spending time with the Scripture I stopped what I was doing and imagined what that scene must have looked like. I could see Jesus standing tall, speaking to the crowd and their hanging on His every word. The longer He talked the more they fidgeted. One would turn to the other with “that” look on their face. You know the look. It’s the one you have when I say something that doesn’t sit well with you. Jesus just kept on. He wouldn’t let up. Finalmente, someone gots the courage to get up and walk away. Entonces otro, y otro. Then groups of people got up all at once and left together. Finalmente, Jesus was alone with the group He walked to the synagogue with—His disciples. It was a heartbreaking exercise for me. I don’t mean that I was brokenhearted for Jesus. I seriously doubt that He thought «I’m losing members. I need to get my PR team together and figure out how to get them back.» The sorrow that I felt as I imagined the scene wasn’t for Jesus…it was for those who walked away. They walked away from the Bread of Life, from the Light of the World, from the Good Shepherd, from the Redeemer of Life, the Sustainer of Life, the One who gives meaning and purpose to life…they walked away from the One who was their Savior. Jesus turned to those who were left, Sus discípulos, y dijo,
67 «tu no quieras dejarlo tampoco, verdad?» Jesús preguntó a los doce. 68Simon Pedro le respondió:, «Señor, a quien iremos? Tú tienes palabras de vida eterna. 69 Hemos llegado a creer y saber que tú eres el Santo de Dios.» (Juan 6:67-69 NIV)
That’s what I’m talking about right there! Pedro dijo:, “Where else would we go? Tú tienes palabras de vida eterna". Me encanta el verso 69 where Peter finished his statement by saying, “We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (Juan 6:69 NIV) The word “believe” is the same Greek word that is used to describe those in John 8:30 who “believed” in Jesus. La palabra es"???????" (pisteuo) y significa, “To think to be true, to be persuaded, to place confidence in.” Peter and the disciples didn’t stop with simply being persuaded or placing confidence in Jesus. Pedro dice, “We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” The word translated “know,” “???????" (ginosko) en griego, es una palabra interesante. Esto significa, "para aprender a conocer, come to know” or “to understand.” James uses the word to remind his readers of the purpose of trials in our life. He writes in James 1:2-3,
2 Tened por sumo gozo, mis hermanos y hermanas, cuando tengan que enfrentarse con diversas pruebas, 3 Porque tú sabes que la prueba de vuestra fe produce perseverancia. (Santiago 1:2-3 NIV)
¿Notó algo? James didn’t say “Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because we are hoping it turns out well for you, or because you will make it through it.” If that was all we had to hold onto when we go through the troubles and trials of life that wouldn’t be enough for me. La verdad es que, oftentimes when we go through trials things don’t work out for the best, as we define «mejor,» y para muchos, they don’t make it through it. James doesn’t base his exhortation on such flimsy faith. Dice, “Consider it pure joy when you go through trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Pido, “how do I know that?” Ah, you ask such great questions! We know beyond a shadow of doubt that our trials develop perseverance because God’s Word teaches us this truth over and over again. The lives of God’s people teach us this as we read and learn from the trials of Joseph, Moisés, Queen Esther, el apóstol Pablo, and our most valuable lessons are learned at the feet of Jesus.
Let me show you one more place where this interesting word is used. Venga conmigo a 1 Juan 2:3 donde Juan escribe, “This is how we know what love is: Jesucristo entregó su vida por nosotros. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (1 Juan 3:16 NIV) How do we know what love is? Bien, if you are like the young couples that meet with me for premarital counseling, most of them know that they are in love because of how they feel. It’s not just glassy-eyed young lovers who use the barometer of emotions to gauge the depth, amplitud, and reality of love. Emotions and feelings have become the norm for most people in describing the love they have for everything from ice cream to their favorite team to their family members. Aun así, Juan dice, “This is how we know what love is:" El amor es un verbo. Love acts. El amor no hace.
Knowing Yet Not Following
Así, as we’ve been taking a look at our Scripture for this morning we’ve learned that there were those, like the crowd in John 6, que cree en Jesús, but they walked away. There were others, like the disciples in John 6, who “believed” and “learned.” So, it would be easy for us to conclude that what we must do is first of all believe, second of all know, or learn about Jesus, and we can call it a morning. Not so fast, believing and knowing will not get us to the finish line of faith. Te voy a mostrar lo que estoy diciendo. Volvamos a romanos 1:21 y leamos juntos. Pablo escribió,
21 Pues habiendo conocido a Dios, no le glorificaron como a Dios ni le dieron gracias, pero su pensamiento se convirtió en inútil y su necio corazón fue entenebrecido. (Romanos 1:21 NIV)
When you read, “For although they knew God…” you are reading the same Greek word for “know” that we’ve been looking at for the past several minutes. These folks knew God. They could recite the Ten Commandments, they knew the Apostles Creed, they could pass your test of orthodoxy with flying colors, but something was missing because they didn’t do anything with the knowledge they possessed. Habiendo conocido a Dios, but they desired to live their life more than they desired to walk in His ways. Como resultado, their thinking became empty and their hearts darkened. Tal ves, there is something more than believing and knowing, but what is it? Venga conmigo a John 8:30-32 dice.
30 Mientras hablaba, muchos creyeron en él. 31 Para los Judios que habían creído, Jesús dijo:, «Si permanecéis en mi palabra, seréis verdaderamente mis discípulos. 32 Entonces usted sabrá la verdad, y la verdad os hará libres.» (Juan 8:30-32 NIV)
Stay The Course
Here we can find the key to genuine faith. Jesús dice, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” La palabra, “hold,” doesn’t mean go to church on Sunday or read the Bible now and then. It means remain in, continua, stay with Me, walk with Me, go where I lead you, do what I call you to do, and stay on the Potter’s wheel so I can shape and mold you into the man or woman I’m fashioning for my purposes. Let me show you the enduring nature of this word Jesus used. Turn over to John 15:4 dice. Jesús dijo:,
4 Permanece en mí, como también permanezco en ti. Ninguna rama puede llevar fruto por sí mismo; debe permanecer en la vid. Tampoco puede usted llevar fruto si no permanecen en mí. (Juan 15:4 NIV)
The writer of Hebrews uses the same Greek word when he writes, “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.” (Hebreos 13:1 NIV) Ahora, can you understand what Jesus meant when He said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” The mark of a genuine follower of Jesus is a persevering faith in the face of every kind of distraction, ensayo, and adverse circumstance you can imagine. The mark of a genuine follower of Jesus is a reliance upon God’s grace for every moment, cada decisión, and every predicament of life. It’s the faith that Peter expressed when the crowd walked away and Jesus asked if His disciples wanted to leave also? Pedro dijo:, "Señor, no hay ningún lugar más para que vayamos. Tú tienes palabras de vida eterna. You are the Holy One of God.” The circumstance or situation is irrelevant, the teaching may be tough to hear, but Lord I’m not going anywhere.
We had a special guest at AWANA on Wednesday night. Krista is a friend of our Children’s Minister, Shelby. Shelby had told us a little bit about Krista in our staff meeting and I was so thrilled to hear that our kids and teachers would get to hear about her work. Bien, Wednesday afternoon Shelby brought Krista to my office for me to meet her. She’s a beautiful young woman with a smile that could light up any room. I asked Krista when she was going back to Kenya? Ella dijo, “In March.” I asked her how long she had been there before she came home? Ella dijo, "Bueno, I was there for 18 days the first time and then I went back for 7 months.” I said, “How long will you be there this time?” Krista said, “I bought a one way ticket.” Wow! I can’t tell you the emotions that filled me at that moment. Krista understands Jesus’ call. “Abide in Me. Go where I send you. Just do what I’ve called you to do for as long as I call you to do it.” The Lord may not be calling you to go to Kenya, but He’s calling you and me to the same level of commitment right where He has placed us.
I need to point something else out for us this morning. Accepting Christ and seeking to abide in Him, to continue in His teaching doesn’t mean that we are going to be sinless saints. Did Simon Peter live a sinless life? Ni de lejos. Peter struggled with sin just like all of us struggle with sin, and yet he set his heart on walking with the Lord, sirviendo al Señor, and he served Him to the end. You and I will continue to battle sin. If you ever meet someone who says that they’ve not sinned since they gave their life to Christ, then you can know that they aren’t telling the truth. You might think that is judgmental, but I say it’s biblical. Juan escribió,
6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 Pero si andamos en la luz, como él está en la luz, tenemos comunión unos con otros, y la sangre de Jesús, su Hijo, nos purifica de todo pecado. 8 Si afirmamos estar sin pecado, nos engañamos a nosotros mismos y la verdad no está en nosotros. 9 Si confesamos nuestros pecados, él es fiel y justo para perdonar nuestros pecados y limpiarnos de toda maldad. (1 Juan 1:6-9 NIV)
“If we claim to be without sin…the truth is not in us.” Bastante sencillo no lo es? We will continue to struggle with sin, wrestle with our flesh, and stumble and fall, but those called by God, drawn by God to the cross, will stay the course by the grace of God. R. C. Sproul once said,
The faith that justifies us is not a faith that never faces doubt or that is as strong as it could be at every point in life. En lugar, justifying faith is persevering faith. It may struggle at times to hope in God but it nevertheless endures to the end. (R.C. Sproul)
Oh mi amigo, if God is calling you to surrender your life to His Son Jesus, then why hesitate? Confía en Él. Just think of the man who refused to get in the wheelbarrow when Blondin gave him the chance. What an adventure he could have experienced! What stories he could have told his children, nietos, y amigos. What an opportunity he missed! I can testify this morning that the ride the man could have had in the wheelbarrow across the mighty Niagara Falls is nothing compared to the journey of walking with Jesus through the fires and fields, the deep valleys and majestic mountaintops of life.
Just as Blondin sought the man out of the crowd so the Savior is seeking you out of the sea of humanity this very morning. We’ve not pursued Him, but He has most certainly been pursuing us. He’s been there at every turn calling your name. He’s prodded you, in the predicaments of life, para confiar en él. He’s drawn you, in the delightful times of life, to praise Him. He’s seeking you this very morning. I know you hear Him calling your name, pero se? Will you come and begin the greatest, most crazy, unpredictable journey you could ever imagine in life? I say crazy and unpredictable, but let me assure you that it is a journey in which Jesus will give you the greatest security, esperanza, and comfort that you could ever imagine. Ravi Zacharias once said,
Llegué a él porque no sé que manera de convertir. Me quedé con él porque no hay otra manera que quiero girar a la. Llegué a él anhelo de algo que no tengo. Sigo con él porque tengo algo que no negociará. Llegué a él como un extraño. Me quedo con él en lo más íntimo de amistades. Llegué a él no está seguro sobre el futuro. I remain with Him certain about my destiny. Me encontré en medio de los gritos ensordecedores de una cultura que tiene 330 millones deidades. Me quedo con él sabiendo que la verdad no puede ser todo incluida. (Ravi Zacharias, Jesús entre otros dioses: Las pretensiones absolutas del mensaje de Christian)
Come to Jesus and once you come never look back. Abide in Him. Se aferraron a él. Go where He sends you. Do what He gives you to do. Serve those He puts in your path like they were Jesus Himself. Never look back.
There’s no doubt in my mind that there are those among us this morning with a flimsy faith. What’s done is done, but what is doesn’t have to continue. Surrender your heart to Jesus this morning, confess your flimsy faith, and tell Him that you want to know and abide in Him like never before.
Britton Christian Church
922 Noroeste 91st
OKC, OK. 73114
Enero 25, 2015