Sermon:  3 Envelopes

Summary:  Even though Jesus had warned that there would be tremendous difficulties 
and sorrow, possibly from suffering, weakness, failure, etc., he also tells us that this 
is temporary because he has done what we cannot do, which is overcome the world 
through his death and resurrection.  As a result of this promise and assurance, we 
can take our sorrow to God in prayer, knowing Jesus has already overcome the world, 
and can therefore find peace, strength and encouragement in Christ.  

Know:  Jesus has guaranteed to see us through any difficulty in life and has already 
procured success and victory for us.

Feel:  Courage and peace, even in shortcomings and failure

Do:  Reflect on your disposition, faith, and attitude in your daily life and in your prayer 
life.  Rate how well it fits in with the perspective of victory that Christ gives in this text.  
Identify ways to shape your disposition, faith, and attitude to be in line with what is in 
this text. 

Text:  John 16:16-33

Scripture Reading:  Rom 8:37-39

1.  CEO of large corporation being let go, his replacement came in, they met
	a.  Said - This job can be tough, here are 3 envelopes, only open them if you 
	     get into a bind in this job
	b.  Things okay for 6 months, then sales took a dive
		- Remembered the envelopes
		- Opened the first one - Said - "Blame your predecessor"
		- He did that, shareholders accepted it, business got better
	c.  A year later, they began to be in the read with expeneses
		- Remember the envelopes
		- Opened the second one, - Said "Re-Organize"
		- From top to bottom, realigned the company
		- Income shot up, and things better again
	d.  Six months later, things were worse than they had ever been
		- Opened the third envelope
		- It began with, "Prepare three envelopes…"
		- Sometimes it seems we just do not have enough
2.  Context:  Jesus is getting ready to depart
	a.  Spent years with these disciples
	b.  He leaves better envelopes than these 
		- First, he promises them a "helper," the Spirit
		- The Spirit will strengthen, seal, identify them as Christ's
		- Spirit will convict the world and glorify Christ
4.  Now Jesus leaves 3 envelopes for difficult times
	a.  Not like the 3 from the story
	b.  Text:  Jn 16:16-33 
	c.  When (not "if") you run into hardship, open these envelopes…

I.  Sorrow is temporary
	A.  The disciples were grieved
	B.  There were several things they would grieve over
		1.  Loss of a loved one 
			a.  They grew to love Jesus
			b.  Jesus has been warning his disciples that he would die
			c.  They did not want this to happen, ready to fight
			d.  But Jesus moved resolutely toward it
		2.  Persecution
			a.  Authorities hated Jesus and all he stood for
			b.  Christians stoned, in prison, property seized, etc.
			c.  Were marginalized by their culture
			d.  Imagine if this were happening now
				- Tommy is in Jail, Cindy had her house seized, 
				   Michelle lost her job, Gang beat up Justin, etc.
				- Not a thing you can do about it legally
				- Would there be sorrow?
		3.  Failure 
			a.  Judas Betrayed Jesus
				- Overcome by guilt
				- Could he be forgiven?  Of course!
			b.  Peter denied Jesus, not once, but three times
				- Even cursed and sword the third time
				- Went off an wept bitterly
			c.  There were Christians in future generations that caved to 
			     the pressure
				- They denied Christ as well
				- Can you imagine the sorrow, disappointment, etc.?
		4.  Sorrow on so many different possible levels
	C.  ILL:  But it is like the pain of labor - nothing like that experience
		1.  Lots of pain
			a.  Carol Brunette said take your bottom lip and stretch it 
			     over your head, that is what it is like
			b.  I as a man, cannot imagine going through 24 hours of it
		2.  Put this pain is different than other pains
			a.  It is temporary, not last forever
			b.  It is expectant
		3.  I remember sitting with my wife
			a.  There is a lot of emotion when in labor
			b.  Say things you never might say otherwise
		4.  But, it all goes away when you hear "smack!…Cry!"
			a.  When you hear that cry, rush of emotion
			b.  Forget about all that pain
			c.  Grief is replaced with joy of new, beautiful, LIFE
	D.  Jesus said no one would take away our joy.  Why?
		1.  v.16 - A little while and you will no longer see me
			a.  Arrested, led away, tortured
			b.  Crucified on a cross
			c.  Buried him….that's that….so they thought
		2.  And again in a little while you will see me
			a.  The Spirit raised him from the dead!
			b.  Jesus came back!
		3.  ***Powerful enemy is death, Jesus defeated death!…

II.  Jesus has overcome the world
	A.  For awhile it looks like the world overcame him, but that is wrong
		1.  Jn 12:31 - Ruler of this world will be cast out
		2.  Jn 16:11 - Ruler of this world has been judged 
		3.  Jn 16:23 - We can bring our requests to God in the name of 
		     Christ and he hears us
	B.  What can the world try to do to us?
		1.  Entice?
			a.  Jesus granted us the Spirit to strengthen us
			b.  Transforms us inwardly
			c.  Rom 8:13 - Have the power to put to death deeds of the 
		2.  Deceive?
			a.  Jn 15:26 - Jesus grants the Spirit of "Truth"
				- Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God
				- Guides us into all truth
			b.  Transforms our Mind
			c.  Helps to protect us against false philosophies and such
			d.  1 Cor 2:15 - By the Spirit, we can appraise and evaluate 
			      all things 
		3.  Intimidate?
			a.  Gal 5:22 - Part of the Fruit of the Spirit is "faithfulness"
			b.  No matter what, we can remain faithful
			c.  Great is he that is in you, than he that is in the world
		4.  Persecute?
			a.  What is the worst thing they can do to you?  Kill you?
			b.  What happens if you are killed?
				- Go to be with God
				- Nothing can truly touch you
	C.  We don't want to get the wrong idea
		1.  What Jesus did not say - I have overcome, and so can you
			- Not saying that we need to overcome the world too
		2.  What would you think if…?
			a.  7 ft basketball player telling 4 ft man he can dunk too
				- He did it, shouldn't anyone be able to?
			b.  Gifted student telling learning disabled he can ace all his 
			     tests too because the gifted student did it.
				- He did it, shouldn't anyone be able to?
			c.  Like an athlete telling paraplegic he can win race too
				- He did it, shouldn't anyone be able to?
			d.  Some things are simply not going to happen, not possible
		3.  We were not able to do what Christ did
			a.  Some things are simply not possible
			b.  We could not forgive ourselves - Jesus did it for us
			c.  We could not win the battle - Jesus did it for us
		4.  Jesus did not tell us that he has overcome, and so can we
	D.  What Jesus did say:  Simply - I have overcome the world
		1.  It is already done, we do not have to do it again
		2.  Everything Jesus did, he did once
			a.  Was born once
			b.  Died once for all for forgiveness of sins
			c.  He overcame the world  
				- This was also once for all
		3.  He said this right after he told them they would all fail, v.31f
			a.  They claimed they believed and understood
			b.  Jesus said they would abandon him
			c.  But he told them that he has already overcome the world
			d.  Therefore, they need to take heart and not be overcome 
			      with despair even when they "fail"
				- Even when they fall short, they are not defeated
				- Jesus has already determined the ultimate outcome
		4.  ***You fight a defeated enemy…

III.  We can have peace
	A.  Jesus said these things so that we can have peace in him
	B.  What does the word peace make you think of?
		1.  What other words?  Calm, quiet, stillness, silence, harmony, 
		     serenity, tranquility
		2.  What images do these words conjure up in your mind?
			a.  Poster titled "tranquility" - Quiet stream, trees, a deer
			b.  Another poster was a glassy lake, ice capped peaks
			c.  Another was of two turtles under the water
		3.  Usually we associate peace with silence, no confusion, trouble
			a.  Where in the word do you find that?
			b.  Go away to a mountain, to the woods, fishing, desert
			c.  But then you have to come back to the old grind
			d.  I don't think that is what Jesus meant
		4. v.33 - In the world you have tribulation
			a.  Greek:  Thlipsis - Crushing, affliction, squeezing, 
			     pressure, tribulation
				- Literally, to crush, as in crushing grapes in a wine 
				- Used figuratively in the New Testament for affliction
			b.  Jesus did not say the tribulation would go away
				- In the previous chapter, he said it would be harder
			c.  But, in Christ, there is peace in the midst of tribulation
	C.  ILL:  Long ago, a man sought the perfect picture of peace
		1.  Announced a contest for artists everywhere
			a.  Paintings from all over the world
			b.  Judges uncovered one peaceful scene upon another
			c.  Viewers clapped and cheered
		2.  Finally only two pictures left
			a.  Pulled away the cover from one
			b.  Hush fell over the crowd
			c.  Surely this was the winner
			d.  Smooth mirror like lake, grass, trees, sheep grazing
		3.  Uncovered the last picture, a gasp from the crowd
			a.  Sky was dark, gray, lightning, wind, thunder, lightning
			b.  Waterfall thundering into an abyss
			c.  In the crack in the rock, nest, small bird, on eggs, content
			d.  Eyes closed, wings over her little ones
		4.  This picture showed peace above all earthly turmoil
	D.  This is the kind of peace Jesus is talking about
		1.  Don't need to go to the mountain, desert, the lake, etc. for it
		2.  Where is that peace - Not in the world, but in Christ
		3.  Whether it is in mounds of paperwork, or laundry
			a.  Whether it is in the midst of bills, or homework
			b.  Whether it is in the midst of ridicule, or mocking
			c.  Whether it is in the midst of persecution or hardship
		4.  Jesus gives you peace, not as the world gives
			a.  No one can take it away
			b.  It is NOT dependent on life's circumstances
			c.  It is dependent on Christ and his promises
				- It is part of the fruit of the Spirit
			d.  Paul calls it the peace of God which surpasses all 
				- People wonder about our peace when disaster 
				   strikes, difficult times come, when most are bitter
				- People wonder about our peace when loved one die
				- People wonder about our peace when we face our 
				  own death

1.  No reason to wring hands with defeatist attitude
	a. These three envelopes are meant to give you perspective
	b.  Sorrow is temporary - Weeping last for the night, joy comes in the 
	c.  Jesus has overcome the world
	d.  We can have peace
		- Ps 46:10 - Be still and know that I am God
		- Hebrew literally:  "Cease striving and know that I am God."
2.  Like the shoe company that sent two salesman to the Congo
	a.  One wrote back - No market here, no one wears shoes
	b.  The other wrote - Huge market potential, everyone is barefoot
3.  Or like Israel when they faced Goliath
	a.  The army said, "He is so big, we could never defeat him!"
	b.  David with God on his said, said, "He is so big, I can't miss!!"
4.  Indeed with the Spirit on your side, you can't miss
	a.  Jesus has already overcome the world
	b.  You fight a guaranteed battle.  
	c.  Are you on the winning side? (invitation)

Small Group Notes:  3 Envelopes

Summary:  Even though Jesus had warned that there would be tremendous difficulties and 
sorrow, possibly from suffering, weakness, failure, etc., he also tells us that this is 
temporary because he has done what we cannot do, which is overcome the world through 
his death and resurrection.  As a result of this promise and assurance, we can take our 
sorrow to God in prayer, knowing Jesus has already overcome the world, and can therefore 
find peace, strength and encouragement in Christ.  

Open:  (choose one)
- When you were little, who was the greatest encourager or motivator for you?
- What is the most exciting victory you have experienced?

Explore (Jn 16:16-33):

1.  What did Jesus tell His disciples would happen to them?  What would be some ways 
these things would happen?

2.  What kind of reaction(s) did Jesus get from his disciples in this chapter and why?

3.  In what ways did Jesus respond to his disciples in this chapter?  In what ways did he 
encourage them or discourage them?

4.  Why was the confidence of the disciples misplaced?  What did they lack that they did 
not have as of yet?


5.  How might you have responded to Jesus if you were there?

6.  What are some ways your sorrow has/can be turned to joy?

7.  What sorts of things steal your joy, peace, and courage?

8.  Are there any sayings, promises, or other words from this passage that encourages