Going Further In
May 2, 2020

Going Further In
Matthew 26:36-46

{You can watch today’s message at Living Water’s YouTube channel: Mesquite NV Living Waters Fellowship}
{Or listen at https://mega.nz/file/iZ9zHIrb#jssSJ6xQLPevlzCMKaBXH5t2mnNH2Jq2s1Bdk7GmZX0}

Several weeks back, in the message on the Calvary Road, the road of sacrifice Jesus took for the forgiveness of our sins, and the sacrifice He asks for all of us to make saying, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23 NKJV). In that message, we looked at where it all began, and that which gave Jesus the strength to endure hell’s fury poured out upon Him as He was mocked, beaten, and crucified.

What gave Him the strength to endure is because he went further in and prayed. And it says in Luke’s gospel that an angel appeared and strengthened Him. Yet even then, Jesus went further into prayer as it says, “He prayed more earnestly,” and as He did, His sweat became like great drops of blood (Luke 22:43-44).

So, let’s take a moment are read our story from Matthew’s gospel.

Read Matthew 26:36-46

What I see from our story are two types of Christians when it comes to following Jesus.

1. Sit On The Sidelines

“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, ‘Sit here while I go and pray over there.’” (Matthew 26:36 NKJV)

Now, I know that Jesus was the one who told them to wait at a distance, or on the sidelines, and not to go further in with Him, but there may have been reasons for this, in that he only chose the inner three to go further.

Now, trying to figure out why Jesus did this is like trying to figure out the mind of God, Oh, that’s right, Jesus is God. So it would be highly presumptuous of me to make any sort of generalizations.

But what I do see, and what I have seen in my over 25 years of being a senior pastor, and my over 40 years of being a Christian, is that there are many who sit on the sidelines, that is, they come to church, pray, or read their Bible when it is convenient. But they don’t go any further in their relationship with God than to come on Sunday morning, and that if there isn’t anything else that they would rather be doing.

They are like that soldier from the civil war I mentioned last week. Not wanting to stand out or take sides, he wore Yankee pants and a Confederate shirt, only to get shot by both sides when he went outside.

I believe Jesus addresses these Christians in the Parable of the Two Sons.

Speaking to the Pharisees, he said that a man had two sons. He asked the first to go and work in the vineyard, but the son said he wouldn’t, but later changed his mind and went. The father asked the same thing of his second son, and his second son replied that he would go, but didn’t. Then Jesus asked, “Who did the will of the father,” and they answered, “The first.” Jesus then told them that the tax collectors and prostitutes would enter into heaven before them, because they believed in the message and went further in, that is, they believed and repented.

The second type of Christian revealed in this scene from the Garden of Gethsemane are those who…

2. Don’t Go All The Way

That is, they go further in, but not all the way in.

“He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee” (Matthew 26:37a NKJV)

Peter, James, and John were Jesus’s inner three. And while He left the others outside, Jesus did take these three further in, but they still didn’t go all the way with Jesus.

This I believe describes many of us, in that while we enter into a deeper relationship with God, there are some things that are holding us back from going all the way.

In Revelation chapter 22 there was something that expanded my understanding of the Holy Spirit and power to live this life for Jesus and to go further in with Him.

“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” (Revelation 22:1 NKJV)

This is a picture of the heavenly Temple, and what we see is the throne room of God, and sitting upon the throne are the Father and the Son, the Lamb, or Jesus Christ. But where’s the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is none other than that pure river of the water of life flowing out from the throne. How can I be sure? Because the same word structure used here to describe the river is the same word structure Jesus uses describing the working of the Holy Spirit when He said that out of those who believe will flow rivers of living waters (John 7:37-39).

I was then drawn to another river described by the prophet Ezekiel. It’s the river that will flow from the Millennium Temple, which is a copy of the God’s heavenly temple (Hebrews 9:24). And what Ezekiel records for us is that wherever the river flows there’s healing and new life (Ezekiel 47).

What I also found interesting about this river are its degrees of depth. First it’s ankle deep, then it comes to the knees, the waist, and finally it’s over a person’s head. But what we don’t see is that as people wade into the river, we never see them coming out on the other side, and that’s because once they reach the middle, the current is so strong it sweeps them away.

But while these Christians go further in, like these three disciples, they don’t go all the way, allowing the Holy Spirit to sweep them along into the deeper and more profound relationship with God, and that’s because they’ve tied themselves to an anchor back upon the shoreline, afraid to go all the way with God.

What is that anchor in our lives? Well it’s everything we’re unwilling to give up. And each one of us has these areas in our lives, and unless we’re willing to untether ourselves to them, we’ll remain just outside, and will not follow Jesus further in.

And, while He never called His disciples to come further in with Him, I do believe that now He is. Jesus is calling His people, His church to go further in, especially at this time, but also beyond this time as well.

Why do I say we need to continue going deeper in with Jesus, is that three times Jesus went further in, until He received God the Father’s perspective, guidance, strength, and peace. And if we want the same for our lives, we need to go further in with Jesus.

Follow along as we follow Jesus further in and see the results.

1. We Get God’s Perspective

When Jesus began to pray, it was for the Father to listen to what His desire was. Look at what Jesus began to pray.

“O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me.” (Matthew 26:39b NKJV)

Jesus knew what lay before Him, how He would be tried, beaten, scourged, and crucified. He even told this to His disciples before He even stepped into Jerusalem. He told His disciples exactly what to expect saying, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed…and…condemned to death, and (be) delivered to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.” (Matthew 20:18-29 NKJV)

Jesus knew what to expect, and this was something that He really didn’t want, but He went further in, and as He continued to pray He knew that God’s perspective was different than His, as He said,

“Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39c NKJV)

You see, Jesus went further in to pray, but not so much to get His way as it was to find out the Father’s perspective as to what He was now going to face. And what was the Father’s perspective? It was for Jesus to be crucified, but for the distinct purpose of becoming the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world as John the Baptist prophesied (John 1:29).

When we follow Jesus further in, taking serious time in both God’s word and prayer we’ll begin seeing what is going on around us, not through our own perspective, or the perspective of man, but rather from God’s perspective.

2. We Get God’s Guidance

This aspect is seen in what Jesus initially prayed in getting the Father’s perspective.

He said, “If it is possible.” (Matthew 26:39b NKJV)

Jesus was seeking God’s guidance in what He was about to face. And while He didn’t want to face it, He knew God’s will, and God’s direction in what lay before Him.

Such a request for the Lord to reveal His way and will can be seen in King David’s request for deliverance.

“Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.” (Psalm 25:4-5 NKJV)

King David goes on to say in this Psalm that God then guides the humble in justice and teaches them His ways (Psalm 25:9).

And so, when we go further and deeper in and pray for God to guide us, that is exactly what He does.

This is what we see in the story of King Jehoshaphat when Israel was being attacked by a great multitude. Jehoshaphat called for the people to go further in with God, calling them together to seek the Lord through fasting and prayer. And God gave them directions and guidance as to how they were to fight this battle, and a great victory was won (1 Chronicles 20).

3. We Get God’s Strength

This is seen in Luke’s gospel as the Father sent an angel to help strengthen Jesus, not only in this time of prayer where He was in agony Luke records, but also the angel strengthened Him in what He was about to face.

“Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.” (Luke 22:43 NKJV)

When we take time to be with God, like when Jesus went further in, agonizing in prayer, God sent an angel to strengthen Him, and in like manner He will strengthen us. Now, it’s not about the angels, but it’s about the Lord God strengthening us in our time of need when we take the time and go further in with Jesus.

When escaping from King Saul, David wrote these words, “It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect” (Psalm 18:32). And in Psalm 28:7 he said, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped.”

And so, as Jesus went further in, God the Father strengthened Him for what He was about to face, and in the same way, when we go further in with Jesus, God will give us the strength to accomplish His plans and purposes, even through the trials and tribulations that come in this life.

4. We Get God’s Peace

After His third time in, when He came out, there was no more agony or even anxiety on the part of Jesus on what He was now about to face. Rather a peace came over Him, the peace of and with God. And we see this in how he addressed his disciples.

Prior Jesus rebuked the disciples as they fell asleep instead of praying. He said, “Could you not watch with Me one hour. Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:40-41 NKJV). And after the second time He once again found them sleeping, but didn’t say anything but left them and went back to pray.

But after He finished His third time in prayer, while He chastened them for sleeping, He told them that His hour was now at hand.

He said, “Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.” (Matthew 26:45b-46 NKJV)

And so, when the Temple guard came to arrest Jesus, there was no anxiety, no fear, only a conscious recognition of God’s plan being fulfilled, and in this declaration Jesus made to His disciples, we see God’s prevalent peace.

This is the promise that God gives to all of us, and how we can, by going further in, in our time of prayer with Jesus, and in His word; that we can gain that same peace.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV)


Since we see such wonderful benefits when we go further in with Jesus, how can we do this in the world we live in?

We go further in with Jesus in our service to Him, His church, and to this world. Jesus even said that when we have done these things for His people, we were actually doing them for Him (Matthew 25:40).

We are called to serve. Notice how the three were called to serve by watching and praying. But they were unable, as Jesus pointed out, that while the spirit is willing the flesh is weak.

So we are called to go deeper, to go further in and serve the Lord, not only through the ministries He calls us to, but also in our time of prayer.

This leads me into the second area that we are to go deeper and further in with Jesus, and that is through prayer. This takes a concerted effort, and dedicated time of prayer to seek God’s will and way.

This is one thing I believe the Lord is calling for His church, both now and beyond. That we can come together corporately, no matter where we are, in different cities, countries, and in different homes and churches, and pray for God to send a revival in our day and in our time.

And so I am calling the church to pray on Thursdays, between 6 and 7 p.m. If we want to see God move and deliver, then we have to go further in in our time of prayer.

And finally, it’s time for God’s people to go further into His word, the Bible. If we want to know God’s will and way for our lives and for the church, it is given to us in the Bible. Therefore, we need to take time in God’s word, which means going further in with our study of God’s word.

No longer can we be satisfied with a morning devotional, or what someone else may say. This is the milk of God’s word, and while it helps us grow, God is calling us to go further in saying that we need to start partaking of the meat of God’s word so that we can discern good from evil, right from wrong, and the way that God has called for us to take.

And so, it is my belief that God has caused this time to stop our sitting on the sidelines, or going part way in our relationship with Him. I think God has allowed all this to happen to get His church, His people to come even further into their relationship with Jesus, and further into His will and way especially for the time we now find ourselves in.

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