The Highest Affection

lastsupper-wideToday’s sermon at Redeemer Indy, given by Jeff Nottingham, was one of my favorite sermons in recent memory.  Based out of John 13:31-14:12, it’s a beautiful and heart-stirring message about our affections that get in the way of loving Jesus, and I commend it highly.

“The Highest Affection” was delivered on February 14, 2016, at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, IN by Jeff Nottingham.

Thesis and Outline

“We need to make Jesus our highest affection, because He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

  1. Peter’s Interruption: “I would lay down my life for you.”
    1. Affection: significance.
    2. Jesus’ response: “Will you lay your life down for me?  No, will lay my life down for you.  You will deny me.  But I will still prepare a place for you in my Father’s house.”
    3. Make Jesus your highest confession and affection.
  2. Thomas’ Interruption: “Lord, we don’t know where you are going.”
    1. Affection: knowledge.
    2. Jesus’ response: “You know the way.  Its me!”
    3. We are not those who possess Biblical truth.  We are those who are possessed by it.
    4. Thomas’ unfair nickname: “Doubting Thomas”
      1. Jesus wants to hear Thomas’ doubts!
      2. John 20: Jesus will draw Thomas close and prove Himself to Thomas – not to dismiss, but to cure Thomas’ doubts.
      3. Do not leave Jesus untested and somehow wanting.  He desires that we “taste and see.”
  3. Philip’s Interruption: “Show us the Father, and it will be enough for us.”
    1. Affection: personal experience.
      1. Experiencing God is good!  But Philip misses the fact that he has been experiencing God for the past three years.
      2. When we begin seeing the spiritual disciplines as mundane, or hold the method of experience in higher esteem than God, we are falling into the same trap as Philip.
    2. Jesus’ response: “You’ve seen me, my miracles, my love.  You’ve already seen the Father.  The love with which the Father has loved me, that is the love with which I have loved you.”
    3. The reality of the Trinity is your greatest joy.
  4. What does this do for us?
    1. “The Expulsive Power of our Highest Affection”
      1. Jesus can and does expel all lesser affections.
      2. “I don’t think I’ll ever hate my sin enough to stop sinning…Loving Jesus?  That’s another story.”
    2. Layers of tradition can desensitize us to the love and affection of Jesus.  But it’s uncomplicated!  Jesus’ love pulls me away from my evil.
    3. “Jesus does not merely point out the way, and speak the truth, and restore the life.  He is the way, the truth, and the life.”
  5. How should we respond?
    1. Meditate on and be with Jesus.
    2. Let us reacquaint ourselves with Him.  Talk about Him and His work.
    3. Take time to pray – even “one-line prayers.”

Bulletin Discussion Questions

  1. We all have too much deep affection for our own significance (like Peter), or our own understanding (like Thomas), or our own experience (like Philip).  Remember, our significance, our understanding, and our experience are in fact good, created things in and of themselves, but we take them too far; we “ultimatize” them.  The Lord Jesus can re-direct each of these deep affections towards himself.
    1. What is a specific example from your life right now where you can ask Jesus to replace your deep affection for your own significance with a deeper affection for his significance?
    2. Or, replace your deep affection for your own understanding with a deeper affection for his understanding?
    3. Or, replace your deep affection for your own experience with a deeper affection for his experience?
  2. Jesus teaches us about himself in this passage that he is the way, the truth, and the life.  Please share with your group what one of those mean to you.
  3. Jesus calls us to love other Christians with the same love with which he loved us.  Which denominations, groups, or “flavors” of Christ-followers today would you rather distance yourself from than love with that kind of love?
  4. What is a practical way that the Lord can re-direct this deep affection of yours (your significance, your understanding, or your experience) into a deeper affection for the significance, understanding, and experience of Jesus?

Children:

Jesus is the only way to live with God forever.  What kinds of things would you like to do with Jesus forever?

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