Jeff Ditton - Continuing with Christ in His Temptations - Maroota, New South Wales, Australia - 2018

Luke 22:28, "Ye are they which have continued with Me in My temptations." John 17:24, "Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world." Revelation 3:21, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne." It really meant something to Jesus that His disciples had continued with Him. The words, with Me, are great reassurance that Jesus would have us with Him.

We think of our journey and we are glad that we have come this far with Him and that He also has continued with us. Jesus took that feeling to His Father, that we would be with Him where He is. When Jesus was praying that prayer, I don't think He was just praying for those who were physically with Him at that time. He was looking to the future. We have felt an atmosphere these days that softens and settles us, and it is a foretaste of what God has prepared for us for all eternity.

 

Glory is hard to explain. It amazes us and fills us with wonder to behold the Lamb of God. We are very grateful that the love that exists between Jesus and His Father extends to us. I like to link these verses in John 17 and Revelation 3 together because it gives us an understanding of Jesus' desire. When we think of being gathered in Heaven, we can picture that we might not be alone but we could be among a multitude.

 

Jesus wants us to be there with Him, not just as spectators but as participators in all that God has provided for us and all that Jesus has opened the way for us to have access to. I appreciated the testimony of a brother who said that we are here more because we have failed than because we have had victory. An overcomer may stumble and fall but he gets up and tries again. We love Jesus and we will love to be with Him, and wouldn't that inspire us to get on our feet again? When we trip, we are glad that He lifts us up and we want to continue and finish this journey with Him.

 

There are three words that came to mind: victory, life and joy. They are three words that are linked with journeying with Jesus. The Scriptural references are in Joshua 11, Hebrews 11 and 12. Joshua 11:6, "And the LORD said unto Joshua, 'Be not afraid because of them for tomorrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel; thou shalt hough (hamstring)  their horses, and burn their chariots with fire.'" This was the promise of victory. Verse 9, "And Joshua did unto them as the LORD bade him." We can be reassured that there will be victory, but there is no by-passing the battle. We still need to go and face the fight. For Joshua, the enemy was large and he would have felt he would rather not face it but there was no by-passing the battle. God had promised victory but it was not by standing back as spectators. They were encouraged by the thought of victory. The Lord gave them strength to put the enemy down with every blow. Maybe we can be overwhelmed by what lies ahead of us and by what lies within us sometimes, but we have to keep at it and there will be victory. As we purpose in our hearts, strength will come and we will get victory in the Lord's strength, not in our own.

 

I was thinking of the word life. Hebrews 11:17, "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, 'That in Isaac shall thy seed be called.'" We heard of the understanding Abraham had of the resurrection and the thought of life. One thing I appreciate often when I think of Abraham going to offer Isaac - he knew that if he was to sacrifice his son as God was asking him, that God would be able to raise him again. He still took the knife with him; he was conscious that in doing what God asked him to do, it would hurt. When we cut ourselves it hurts, and it would have been something Abraham was very conscious of, but he could see that in spite of the hurt and pain there would be life after it. Maybe there is something God is asking us to do and all we can see is the pain, but the Lord can give us the same reassurance that He gave Abraham, that there will be life after it. Abraham and Isaac saw God's provision that day in the lamb. They saw a clear picture of God's provision in His Son. I love to think of Isaac being very conscious of what that lamb meant to him. It took his place, it died for him and it would have been a very special thought for Isaac as he journeyed home with his father that day.


Hebrews 12:2, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Looking unto Jesus is a great place for inspiration when we have to face something that we fear. There is a link to the joy that we find at God's right hand, and it is by the way of the cross. That is what Jesus gave Himself for. I appreciated what Lyle shared with us this morning of our responsibility to bear our own cross. It is a very real thought. Luke 9:23, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." Self denial really is not doing what we would do by nature, and taking up our cross is doing what we would not do by nature. That is our responsibility and the joy that is before us at God's right hand is the way of the cross.

 

Jesus endured the cross and despised the shame and He wants to share a place with us in His Father's Kingdom. So we are glad that God in His love has prepared a place for us and we are thankful that Jesus has gone before us to open the way that we might be there with Him. May we go from here and journey all the way with our Redeemer to the end.