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 You Never Walk Alone

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PostSubject: You Never Walk Alone   Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:42 pm

You'll never walk alone

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. – John 15:13-15

Many of us walk through one valley or another in the course of our lives. The valleys come and they go. But we always have a friend. A friend who is there with us no matter what we are going through.

A Friend for Dark Places
I’m sure most of us have heard of a woman named Helen Keller. She was a woman that was born blind, but made the most of her life that she could. Helen Keller’s blindness seems to have enabled her to make many astute, inspiring observations about spiritual vision. This quotation contrasts “the dark” with “the light.”
Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light. – Helen Keller
We’ll I’m here this morning , “Just to let you know…you are not alone.”

I am reminded of the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel. The words are:

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark.
At the end of the storm is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.
Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Tho’ your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone,
You’ll never walk alone.

In the 50s and 60s "You’ll Never Walk Alone" was a popular piece performed at high school graduations, normally as a choral number. But the lyrics also became well known through solo “cover” versions (a re-recording of a song originally introduced by another artist). Many singers sang this song. Some were, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, July Garland, The Lettermen, The Righteous Brothers, Elvis Presley and Gerry and the Pacemakers.

The song is beautiful, with words that sink into your heart. Elvis Presley’s version was my favorite. Those words were also given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Walking With Jesus
While not directly biblical, the lyrics to "You’ll Never Walk Alone" have meaning to us today because we view them through a Christ-centered lens.
I hear the voice of God telling you and me that we will never walk alone, that Jesus is walking with us, always.
When Jesus tells us that our relationship with him is as his friend – not as a servant – he is telling you and me that we will never walk alone. Even though we walk in dark places, even the valley of the shadow of death, we will never be alone.
I am going to tell you a story now.

A girl went to her friend’s house and she ended up staying longer than planned, and had to walk home alone
She wasn't afraid because it was a small COMMUNITY and she lived only a few blocks away. As she walked along under the bike trail Diane asked God to keep her safe from harm and danger.

When she reached the alley, which was a shortcut to her house, she decided to take it. However, halfway down the alley she noticed a man standing at the end as though he were waiting for her. She became uneasy and began to pray, asking for God's protection.

Instantly a comforting feeling of quietness and security wrapped round her, she felt as though someone was walking with her. When she reached the end of the alley, she walked right past the man and arrived
home safely.

The following day, she read in the newspaper that a young girl had been raped in the same alley just twenty minutes after she had been there.

Feeling overwhelmed by this tragedy and the fact that it could have been her, she began to weep. Thanking the Lord for her safety and to help this young woman, she decided to go to the police station. She felt she could recognize the man, so she told them her story.

The police asked her if she would be willing to look at a lineup to see if she could identify him. She agreed and immediately pointed out the man she had seen in the alley the night before.

When the man was told he had been identified, he immediately broke down and confessed. The officer thanked Diane for her bravery and asked if there was anything they could do for her. She asked if they would ask the man one question.

You see, Diane was curious as to why he had not attacked her.

When the policeman asked him, he answered, 'Because she wasn't alone. She had two tall men walking on either side of her. Amazingly, whether you believe or not, you're not alone.
That we need not walk alone is attested to by David in Ps 23:4. “Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.” in Psalm 139:7-11 David says, “Whither shalt I go from they Spirit, or whither shalt I flee from thy Presence.” David gives us some possible escape routes, saying, “If I ascend up into heaven, though art there. If I make my bed in Hades, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.” If I say “Sure, by the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. The darkness and the light are both alike to Thee.” He couldn’t think of one place where he could go to escape the presence of the Lord.
B. Isaiah the Prophet (43:1-2) wrote:
But now, saith the Lord that created thee O Jacob, and He that formed thee O Israel, fear not, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by name, thou art mine, when thou passest through the waters I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee, when you walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee, for I am the Lord thy God, the Holy one of Israel, thy Savior.”

C. In Acts 17:27-28 the Apostle Paul wrote: “He is not far from everyone of us, for in Him we live and move, and have our being.”

John 14:15-20
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Helper, that he may be with you for evermore, 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world is not able to receive, because it does not see him nor know him; you surely know him, for he abides with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you surely will see me; because I live, you also will surely live. 20 In that day you will indeed know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”
Sermon:
When spring arrives, do you enjoy seeing the robins once again? I do. Last spring and this spring we have had robins build nests in the flower planter, and on top of electric post. We saw the robins hatch their little brood and feed them. When we returned we saw that the little robins had left the nest.
Did you know that watching the robins can be a learning experience? From them we can learn how to live in this world. They teach us not to worry about having the necessities of life but to take each day one day at a time and to trust in our heavenly Father to provide for us. In Matthew 6:26 Jesus tells us, “Look at the birds of the sky; they do not sow nor reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth more than they?” Surely our heavenly Father will feed us, for we are much more valuable than the birds are.
From watching the robins we can also gain an insight into our own weaknesses, uncertainties, and fears as we walk through life. Sometimes there can be just one little robin left in the nest. The rest had left, flown out to find new adventures. But this one just did not want to leave the nest. He was content to just sit there. It was a big world out there with lots of dangers and unknowns. It appeared he was afraid to leave the nest to venture out into that world alone.
Sometimes they will fall out of the nest, even though they are content to stay there. You will notice that immediately they will try to find some nook or cranny to hide in. They are usually scared to death and feel helpless, deserted and alone, defenseless. But eventually they will decide it is best to move on. They will flutter around in an attempt to get somewhere, and eventually they will start hopping around. But if you really pay attention you will see first one, then the other, of the parent robins swooping down as he is trying to get somewhere. The little robin is scared in his big new world and thought he was all alone. He was not all alone, however. His parent robins where right there keeping their eyes on him the whole time.
Like that little robin, there are times in our lives when we feel alone, uncertain, helpless, and afraid in a great big hostile world. Yet like that little robin, we never walk alone. We gain this assurance from Jesus’ words in John 14:15-20.
The scene of our text was the upper room on Maundy Thursday evening. Jesus was delivering his farewell discourse to his disciples before going out to the Garden of Gethsemane. The disciples’ hearts were troubled by the news of his coming departure. They could no longer be with Jesus as they had been with him in the past. They had to struggle with their fears of separation and of being left to themselves. The Jesus, whom they had followed, stayed with, loved, looked to for instruction and guidance, would not be with them anymore. It no doubt seemed to them that in the future they would have to walk life’s path alone without the presence and strength of Jesus to lean on.
In this sermon text we learn how Jesus comforted them. We discover that their fears had no foundation or basis of fact. They would not be left alone, nor would they be left to their own resources and strength.
In verse 15 Jesus said to them, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
A relationship with Jesus is founded on love. The relationship is founded on Jesus’ love for his believing disciple who reciprocates with a love for Jesus. The believer expresses his love for Jesus by obeying Jesus’ command. Jesus’ command is first to hold to his Word and to believe in him. Jesus says in John 6:29, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the One whom he sent.” Jesus’ command also includes living a godly life as a fruit of faith in him, loving one another, and taking his gospel to the world.
Jesus loves us. He showed his love for us: first, in living a perfect life for us so we would be righteous in the sight of God; and second, in giving his innocent life as the payment for our sins. We will reciprocate with a love for him that keeps his commandments.
Being the sinful people that we are, however, we flutter and fall and fail to live a godly life, to love one another, and to spread his gospel, as we should. Because of our many sins, which deserve the punishment of God, we above all need to keep Jesus’ command to hold to his Word and to do the greatest work of all--to believe in him whom the Father has sent into the world to save us all. Through faith in Jesus we possess the forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation that he obtained for us by his redeeming us.
Having this relationship of love with Jesus, in verse 16 and 17 Jesus told his disciples, “And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Helper, that he may be with you for evermore, the Spirit of truth." Jesus promised his disciples that in response to his prayer for them the Father would give them the Holy Spirit to be with them. Note for how long Jesus said the Holy Spirit would be with them. Jesus said for evermore. The disciples would never walk through life alone. The Holy Spirit would be with them always.
Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Helper, or Counselor, who is the Spirit of truth. By the truth of the Word the Spirit would lead the disciples into the knowledge of the truth. The Spirit would strengthen them to believe the truth of the gospel that Jesus had saved them, to stand fast in that gospel, and to do what Jesus had commanded them to do as God’s people and his witnesses in the world.
In the remainder of verse 17 Jesus said regarding the Spirit of truth, “The world is not able to receive him, because it does not see him nor know him; you surely know him, for he abides with you and will be in you.” The unbelievers of this world cannot accept the Holy Spirit. Their hardened, unbelieving hearts cannot see him. They therefore do not know him or his divine works. Believers like the disciples, however, do receive the Holy Spirit. The Spirit lives with them and in them.
Jesus’ promise of sending the Holy Spirit to his disciples was fulfilled on Pentecost. As the Holy Spirit came to the disciples on Pentecost, so he comes to all believers in Jesus through the Word and Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion. We do not have Jesus’ visibly present with us so we can follow him by sight. But we are not alone. Jesus asks the Father in our behalf and the Father gives us the Holy Spirit, the Helper and Counselor, the Spirit of truth, to be with us for evermore. When we were brought to faith, we received the Spirit. He came to us, remains with us, and lives in us. He is with us always to guide us by the truth of God’s Word. He strengthens us in believing it, holding fast to it, living according to it, and spreading it. We believers in Jesus never walk through life alone. We therefore need not feel uncertain, helpless, or afraid, like that little robin felt. As the little robin’s parents were with him, so the Holy Spirit is with us always.
We never walk alone for another reason. In verses 18 and 19 Jesus told his disciples, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. Soon the world will no longer see me, but you surely will see me; because I live, you also will surely live.” Note what promise Jesus made to his disciples. He promised that he would not leave them as orphans but would come to them.
You know the situation orphans face. They are deprived of their parents’ presence, help, support, and guidance. They are like that helpless, defenseless, scared, little robin was, when he finally left the nest and knew not where to turn or to go. Jesus promised his disciples he would not leave them as such orphans. He would come to them. He did so visibly a number of times after his resurrection from the dead to show them he was alive and that he had not abandoned them. As Jesus said, the world would not see him anymore, because he would ascend into heaven. But the disciples would see him, for they, too, in time would join him in heaven. Because Jesus lived eternally, they also would live eternally.
So it is with us. We believers never walk alone through life. Jesus has not left us as orphans. He has not abandoned us to this big world to find our own way alone in it through the dangers and adversities of life, any more than those parent robins abandoned their little chick to find its own way without their help or guidance or protection.
Jesus came to his disciples visibly after his resurrection. Today he comes to us as our risen Lord through his Word and the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion. Through his Word he reveals himself to us, so we then see him clearly as the Son of God and our only Savior from the devil, sin, death, and hell. He comes to us in the Sacrament of Holy Communion repeatedly to give us his body and blood to assure us of our forgiveness and eternal salvation. What is more, Jesus is present with us at all times in his invisible state. He assures us in Matthew 28:20, “Behold, I am with you always until the end of the age.” He remains with us always until we join him in heaven. Because he lives, we also will surely live.
We are strangers and aliens in this world. We are pilgrims and travelers journeying through life to our heavenly home. But we never walk alone. The Spirit is with us always. And Jesus comes to us. We have nothing to fear. Amen
If I have the language perfectly, and speak like a native, and have not His love for them, I am nothing.
If I have diplomas and degrees, and know all the up to date methods and have not His touch of understanding love, I am nothing.
If I am able to argue successfully against the religion of the people, and make fools of them, and have not His wooing note, I am nothing.
If I have all faith and great ideals, and magnificent plans, and not His love that sweats and bleeds and weeps and prays and pleads, I am nothing.
If I give my clothes and money to others, and have not His love for them, I am nothing.
If I surrender all prospects, leave home and friends, make sacrifices of a missionary career, and turn sour and selfish amid the daily annoyances and slights of a missionary live, and have not the love that yields its rights, its leisure’s, its plans, virtue has ceased to go out of me and I am nothing.
If I can heal all manner of sickness and disease, but wound hearts and hurt feelings for want of His love that is kind, I am nothing.
If I can write articles or published books that win applause, but fail to transcribe the word of the cross into the language of His love, I am nothing.

III. You Never Walk Alone

“You never walk alone.” This is the essence of the good news that came into history 2000 years ago. It is still good news today. Hear it without a surge of joy if you can! How can we help but rejoice to know that He whose spirit reaches over an eternity, walks beside us. Who would not be strengthened and calmed by such fellowship? Who can remain lonely in such company?
Fear not folks, for He is with thee always.

We need to remember that Jesus is the Light of the world. He is the Great Physician. He is the Good Shepherd. He is the Resurrection and the Life. In Christ we have the ultimate victory because he has triumphed over death and the grave. And God, by his grace, gives us the same victory.

Through times of darkness our Friend Jesus reminds us of his undiminished, abiding love to us. Many times he uses our friends, our people we know to show His love through the thoughts and kindnesses that many show us in our dark hours.

But most of all we need to thank our Friend Jesus, because it is Jesus whom we see and feel in the many expressions of hope, faith and grace.

In Christ, none of us will ever walk alone – that’s as absolute as the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening. We abide with and in Jesus – he is our Life. Jesus is our Friend – thank God for his incredible love and staggering grace!

I say 'AMEN'

Most people will not stand up for God. How about you? Will you deny Him?

God is always there in your heart and loves you no matter what. Remember His words: If you deny me in front of your friends, I shall deny you in front of my Father'

Take the leap of faith. You have heard the Good News, you have heard the truth. He is with you always. Are you there for Him, or will you once again deny Him? Once again walk out these doors knowing today should have been the day.?

It’s time to give up and let Jesus take over. Trust in Him. Give Him all your cares. Give Him your life completely. Feel His incredible love. Let His grace wash you white as snow. Don’t wait, the time is now


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PostSubject: I'm Not Alone   Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:11 am

So comforting, so true!
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