In this short series of two sermons we want to follow Jesus up into the mountains where we will see Him resist temptations, and teach as no man ever taught, and pray all night to His Father in Heaven, and perform miracles, and suffer with great agony, and finally die the cruel death of the cross. We will climb up seven mountains with Jesus whereupon He trod during His earthly ministry. Upon some of these mountains Jesus led His disciples, while others He had to tread alone. But we hope that our Lord’s mountain top experiences will bless our hearts, and help us to climb the mountains He has placed in our lives. Now let us climb the mountains with Jesus, in the order that He climber them.
1. First, we want to climb the mountain of temptation with Jesus (Matthew 4:8-11):
Here in this chapter Jesus resisted all the temptations that Satan could offer Him. When He was at His weakest point in His humanity, after He had gone without food and drink for forty days and forty nights. We see that by His temptations:
He proved His love and faithful obedience to His Heavenly Father. He proved that He truly was the Son of God, just like He said He was. He also taught us by example, how to resist the devil and his temptations with the Word of God (…it is written, it is written, it is written, Jesus said…). He taught us that all the kingdoms and wealth of this world are nothing compared to the kingdom of God and the wealth of that world to come.
May Jesus help us, to follow His example, and resist temptation with the Word of God.
2. Secondly, we want to climb the mountain of learning (Matthew 5:1-2):
Here in Matthew chapters 5-7 Jesus taught His disciples concerning the kingdom of God.
In chapter 5 Jesus taught them about the blessed life of believers (contrary to the world). He taught them the right interpretation of the law (ye have heard…but I say…). He taught them that He wasn’t come to destroy the law of God, but to fulfill it. He taught them not only to obey the law, but also to teach others to obey it. He taught them to love not only their friends, but also their enemies.
In chapter 6 He taught them to be humble, and not to boast and brag about their works. He taught them not to sound a trumpet before them when they give their alms. He taught them how to pray; not as the hypocrites or as the heathen. He taught them how to fast, so as not to appear to fast before men. He taught them not to love this world, and not to lay up treasures on earth. He taught them that they cannot serve two masters (money and God, etc.). He taught them to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and He would add all the things of this life unto them. He taught them to trust in God, and God would provide all their needs. He taught them not to worry or be anxious about tomorrow.
In chapter 7 He taught them to judge with righteous judgment (the speck and the beam). He taught them to ask, seek, and knock, and they would receive what they asked. He taught them to beware of false prophets. He taught them that not everyone that “saith Lord, Lord, will enter into Heaven.” He taught them to be wise and build their lives on the Rock, and not on the sand.
And many, many more things did Jesus teach His disciples the mountain that day. And not only this, but He taught as no man ever taught. He taught as One having authority, and not as the Scribes. Do you know why He taught as one having authority? It is because He did have authority. He had all the power and authority of Heaven with Him. Beloved, because Jesus has all authority of Heaven, all men of all ages would do well to listen to His Words carefully, and then obey them to the best of their ability.
But what a special time that must have been, sitting there at Jesus’ feet, and hearing him teach the pure, powerful, and precious Word of God.
3. Thirdly, we want to climb the Mountain of Prayer with Jesus (Luke 6:12-13):
Now we tread up into one of those mountains where Jesus went all alone. We only know what He did up there on the mountain all night by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. But we want to consider five thoughts from our Lord’s all-night prayer on the mountain.
1. First, He prayed to His Father. Likewise we pray directly to the Father; not to saints, or to angels, or to Mary. What a blessed privilege we have in prayer!
2. Secondly, He prayed all night. How often have we persevered a whole night in prayer?
3. Thirdly, it seems that He prayed about His Church, and who He would appoint to be the 12 apostles, which was the material for His first church. Do we pray for our church?
4. Fourthly, His prayers were answered. I believe God still answers prayers for His Church.
5. Fifthly, Jesus put His prayers into action – He built His Church.
4. Fourthly, we want to climb the mountain of glory with Jesus (Matthew 17:1-5):
I would compare this experience to those special, Spirit filled times in our lives when the Lord reveals Himself to us in a very special way, and shows us a glimpse of His glory, as it were. We see in our text that only Peter, James, and John were there. This was a special experience to them alone. We want to notice three things from their glorious mountain top experience this morning:
1. First, they got to see what no other mortal men were so privileged to see. They got to see a glimpse of the glory of the Lord Jesus (describe).
2. Secondly, they also got to see Moses and Elijah, two of the great saints of old time. This may seem small compared to seeing Jesus in His glory, which it was, but to an Israelite especially, the glory of seeing those great saints of old would have thrilled their souls with joy.
3. Thirdly, they got to hear the voice from the excellent glory speak to them personally, which said “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”.
No beloved, we will never see such a magnificent sight in this life. We will not see the glorified Lord Jesus Christ; we will not see the great prophets of God standing along side of Jesus; and we will not hear the Father speak audibly to us. But the Lord is pleased to reveal Himself to us in special ways. He appears to us from time to time on our mountain tops, and shows us a glimpse of His glory through some miracle, or some special answer to our prayers. Or perhaps He may speak to us from the excellent glory, and illuminate our hearts to some special truth in His precious Word by His Holy Spirit.
Just one tiny glimpse of His glory is all it takes, and we suddenly find ourselves revived back to life again. Isn’t that all it takes to have revival in our hearts and lives. Just one slight glimpse of His glory; just one touch – just to graze the hem of His garment! Isn’t this all is takes to impart the mighty power of God into our very souls? Isn’t this how Jesus revives His children, and gives us renewed life and vigor, and restores our joy, and renews our strength to serve Him faithfully? Yes, beloved, how we need a glimpse of Jesus this morning. How we need a glorious mountaintop experience of spiritual revival!
Have we been taken to the mountain top of temptation with Jesus, where we were tempted of the devil? Were we carried to the heights of temptation where we had the opportunity to forsake to Lord for the kingdoms and riches of this world. I hope we passed the test. I hope resisted Satan with the Word of God and won the victory. I hope we gave God the glory in our temptations.
Have we climbed up the mountain top of learning with Jesus, and sat at His feet, and heard Him speak the wonderful truths of God as one having authority and power? Have we taught of Him this morning. If so, we will have the true knowledge of God, and we will know all things, and be able to discern all things.
Have we climbed up the mountain of prayer to alone with Jesus, and prayed all night about such important matters as His Church, and the work of His church? Have we spent the night agonizing in prayer for the salvation of souls, and for the growth of our church.
Have we climbed the mountain of His glory lately? Have we been upon the mountain with Jesus and seen wonderful sights, and heard glorious words from the Holy Spirit? Has Jesus shown us some miraculous work of God in our lives lately – such as an answer to some special prayer; or some enlightenment of truth that has changed our lives forever; or some special revelation of His will and purpose for our lives; or some special work of His divine favor and blessing upon our lives that could have only come from Him?
Has Jesus revealed Himself to you lately? Beloved, how we need those special times in our lives when Jesus reveals just the slightest glimpse of His glory to our hearts. How just the faintest glimpse of His glory refreshes our souls, and stirs up our spirits to serve the Lord. I pray that the Lord will show each of us a glimpse of His glory this morning, and grant each of us a revival, that we might see a great work of the Lord in our church.
Has Jesus ever revealed His glory to you in salvation? Have you ever repented of your sins, and believed in the Son of God? If not, repent and believe in your heart that Jesus is the virgin born Son of God sent down from Heaven; that He was God manifested in the flesh; that He went to the cross to lay down His life for your sins; that He was buried in the tomb; and that He rose again from the dead the third day to save you from your sins. Believe that Jesus did all of this for you, and He will save you this very moment.
I pray that Jesus will reveal the glory of the cross to some poor lost sinner this morning.
1. First, we want to climb the mountain of agony with Jesus (Luke 22:39-44):
Upon this mountain Jesus was in most severe agony. We want to consider the word “agony” for a moment. Agony was used only one time in the Bible; hear in Luke 22:44.
According to Easton’s Bible dictionary, agony means:
Wrestling or severe struggling with pain and suffering. Agony is the struggle with a present evil. The verb from which the noun "agony" is derived is used to denote an earnest endeavor or striving, as "Strive [or agonize] to enter in at the straight gate…" (Luke 13:24) "Then would my servants fight" [or agonize] (John 18:36) The same Greek word is also translated "striveth," "labour," "conflict," "fight," in other places in the New Testament.
In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus was in a battle or conflict. He was in a fight with the forces of evil that desired to keep Him from His eternal purpose of saving His people from their sins. Jesus labored and struggled in the garden over the work that He was about to face that next day. He said “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” In other words, “Father, if there is any other way, may I not have to suffer and die on the cross.” But there was no other way to save His people than to go to that cross for them. His agony was so great that He “sweat as it were great drops of blood.” Physicians have said that it is possible to literally sweat blood under such intense mental agony. But weather it was actually blood, or just a figurative way of expressing His extreme suffering, either way, Jesus suffered in the garden like none of us will ever begin to comprehend.
Why did Jesus suffer such agony?
1. First, because He was facing the cruel and painful death of the cross (Phil. 2:8). This was the shameful and painful death of a malefactor; of a common criminal. Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, was to suffer and die as a common criminal.
2. Secondly, because He was going to become sin for His people (2 Corinthians 5:21). This was the greatest exchange in all eternity. Jesus knew no sin. He never committed a single sin in all his life, but now He was going to become sin, that is, he was going to become the suffering sacrifice for sin. All the sins of all of God’s people would be placed upon Jesus, and then He would pay the eternal punishment for them on the cross, so that we would go free.
Notice also Hebrews 12:2-4. What contradiction, or that is opposition and rebellion, of sinners that Jesus took upon Himself! That is what sin is – rebellion, and opposition against God and His holy law. And Jesus took all of our rebellion upon Himself in order to save us from our sins.
3. Thirdly, because He was facing separation from His Heavenly Father (Matthew 27:46). Why did God forsake His Son? Because of our sins that were placed upon Jesus. Jesus had never been separated from His Father before, but this once He must be separated from His Father, to pay the eternal separation that we would have faced.
4. Fourthly, Because He was going to bear the wrath of God for our sins (Isaiah 53:10). “It pleased the Lord to bruise Him, He (the Father) hath put Him (Jesus) to grief.” Jesus would take the punishment and the wrath of God upon Himself, that we rightfully deserved.
Beloved, this is another mountain that Jesus had to go alone. His disciples went most of the way with Him, but those final steps of bitter agony Jesus could only tread alone!
So when we face the bitter trials in life, whether it be agony over our own suffering and death, or for that of a loved one, remember Jesus and what agony He suffered for us. Remember that it was for the joy that was set before Him that He was able to endure such agony. If we are saved, may we also be able, for the joy set before us in the glory of Heaven, to suffer the agony that we are likely to face in this life.
2. Secondly, we want to consider the mountain of sacrifice (Luke 23:33):
Calvary, which is one and the same as Golgotha and means the skull, was really not a mountain at all. In fact it was no more than a very, very small hill where malefactors were crucified by the Roman government outside the city gate for their crimes against society.
But beloved, for Jesus, this very small hill was perhaps the greatest mountain of all that He would have to climb. This mountain, beloved, was the mount of sacrifice. This Sacrifice was the one in which 4,000 years of animal sacrifices in the Old testament typified, and pointed to. None of those sacrifices could take away sins. They could only cover sins, as it were, until Jesus Christ the anti-type, which is the only true Lamb of God, would “come in the end of the world to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” This was the Sacrifice that all the prophets of God spoke about and wrote about in His Holy Word.
Yes, beloved, He carried that heavy old cross upon his back up Calvary’s hill. He had been bruised and beaten. He was mocked, and scorned, and spat upon. His beard was plucked from off His face. His back was given “to the smiters.” It was torn to shreds with a Roman cat-of-nine-tails. Yet Jesus bear His cross up Calvary’s hill for you and me.
There on Calvary’s hill the Roman soldiers nailed His hands and His feet to that old cross, and then they hung the Son of God between Heaven and earth to suffer the greatest of all suffering the any man ever suffered or will suffer. There on that cross Jesus not only suffered the cruelest, and most painful death that could be inflicted on the human body, but far much worse than that, between the 6th and 9th hours of the day, when God caused a great darkness to come over the land, Jesus suffered the eternal wrath of God upon Him to pay for the sins of His people.
Beloved, although their were people around Him; the cruel “bulls of Bashan” had beset Him around, and a few of His friends and family were there looking on in tears, yet beloved, Jesus trod Calvary’s hill all alone. Yes, there were soldiers there. There were mockers there who said “he saved others, but himself he cannot save. If he be the Christ, let him come down from the cross.” But Jesus died there alone. His disciples forsook Him, and not only that, but His Father in Heaven forsook Him. You see, the Sacrifice for sins must bear those sins alone. All the sins of all His people must all be placed on Him alone. All the wrath of God for sins, and eternal separation from God because of sins, must be placed upon the Sacrifice alone. Yes, Jesus trod Calvary’s mountain alone for all who believe that He became the Sacrifice for their sins. Do you believe in Jesus this evening, that He died on Calvary’s hill for your sins?
3. Thirdly we want to climb the mountain of commission (Matthew 28:16-20):
This is the mountain where Jesus met His disciples, to give them the commission. In Luke chapter 6 Jesus went up into the mountain to pray about His Church. He next day He gathered the material for His first church.
Now in this text, Jesus lineed out the work that His Church was to do in the world. Yes, Jesus gave His Church a work to do. Beloved, not many people want to climb this mountain with Jesus. Not many Christians want to hear about their responsibility to spread the Gospel throughout the world. We would much rather stay in these lower plains of worldly pleasure, at ease in Zion.
Upon this mountain, Jesus told His Church to go into all the world and make disciples through the preaching of the cross, to Baptize them, and to teach them all things whatsoever He has commanded in His Word. This is an age long work. It wasn’t intended only for this first church, but for all churches unto all generations in this dispensation, until the end of the world, or that is, the end of the age. We at Calvary Baptist Church, are just as much responsible for carrying out this commission as that first church was.
We often call this the “great commission,” when in truth, we might better call it the “great omission” today.
Have we ever been up to the mountain of commission? Have we ever heard our responsibility to evangelize the world. Beloved, evangelism begins here at home. Have we seen our place and taken our part in this great work of salvation of sinners. May we go to the mountain of commission, and find what the Lord would have us to do.
We want to conclude our message with one more mountain. It wasn’t a mountain that Jesus climbed, but it is a mountain that stands in the way of God’s people. It is a mountain that must be removed in order for us do the work of the Lord. We will call this the mountain difficulty.
Mt 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
This mountain must be moved by faith. Beloved, there are mountains that we can’t climb. There are cliffs that we can’t scale. The only way to the other side of these mountains must be to remove them by faith.
What mountain is in your way this evening? What mountain is hindering you from going on to serve the Lord? Is it the mountain of fear; or the mountain of pride? What keeps you from following on to know the Lord and from serving Him in His Church?
May God give us the faith of a mustard seed, that we might remove these mountains of difficulty, so that we can get on with serving the Lord.