I’ve long believed that REGRET is the strongest of all of the emotions.
It’s an emotion that we feel with an uttermost intensity
And if you think back to some of your biggest mistakes in life
You might find yourself saying, “If I had only known…”
If I had only known I would get in a car accident after drinking that night…or going home that way…
If I had only known that relationship was going to fall apart after I said that…
If I had only known that job was going to be such a nightmare, I never would have taken it in the first place…
Today, as we continue to study the book of Luke, Jesus is going to talk about that kind of regret…
But, He’s going to go even deeper…
…Into a spiritual regret that many will one day feel.
Before we start reading it, let me remind you of the context
We jumped ahead in Luke last week to read the Easter Passage on Easter, but now we’re back chronologically to where we left off the week before Easter
We were in Luke 19, talking about Palm Sunday, where Jesus was riding into Jerusalem, humbly on a donkey…
Today’s passage takes place on that same afternoon.
In fact, Jesus is still on the donkey when he utters these next words…
He hasn’t even made it to the city gates of Jerusalem yet.
Let’s take a look, page 717 (verse 41…bottom right)
(Luke 19:41-44) – NIV
41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
If you had only known…
So King Jesus, whom the crowds (only minutes ago) were just cheering on as the King of Kings…
…begins to weep
And He doesn’t just cry, or shed A tear.
The Word of God says that He weeps…
He cries freely and profusely over the city.
Saying, “If You Had Only Known”
And before we begin to apply this to ourselves, we must ask, “Why? What is it that would bring the King of Kings to weep?”
Is it because they’re going to kill him in 5 days?
No, you might think that’s it, but it’s not.
He’s weeping for what the people of Jerusalem are going to suffer (here on earth…and in eternity)
If you still have it in front of you, and I hope you do, look at verse 43…
Jesus says that the days are coming when enemies will come and destroy Jerusalem
Not one stone will be left upon another.
And this literally happened
You can look it up on Wikipedia later if you want…it’s called the Siege of Jerusalem
About 40 years or so after Jesus said these words, when many of those to whom he spoke these words were still alive, Jesus words were fulfilled.
In the Year 70 AD, the Romans decided to put down a Jewish revolt and attacked the city of Jerusalem
The siege started just days before Passover, so there was an enormous number of out-of-towners already in the city.
The Roman Commander Titus (who would eventually become the Roman Emperor) encircled the city (just like Jesus predicted he would)
…and began to starve it out for almost 5 months.
Hundreds of thousands most likely died from famine alone
Titus then built embankments (just like Jesus said) and eventually, the Romans got into the city and completed leveled it.
“not leaving one stone on another” as Jesus said
Even the temple itself was burned and destroyed.
Josephus, the famous Jewish historian estimates that 1.1 million people died inside Jerusalem during the siege and attack
And Jesus predicted all of this would happen.
The book of Luke, today’s passage, was written BEFORE the siege on Jerusalem happened
As we say often, the Bible is history, not a fairy tale.
And what’s crazier yet, and perhaps more difficult for our modern minds to understand, Jesus even tells us WHY it was going to happen.
Look at verse 44 again
(Luke 19:44) – NIV
44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
Think about this: the most important moment of human history was occurring in their midst.
The maker of HEAVEN & EARTH…the maker of US…had come to our planet…our home.
God was walking among then!
He was walking in THEIR city…right in front of their eyes!
And not only did they not recognize Him, but they put Him on a cross!
And murdered Him.
And in not recognizing God’s coming, they will instead suffer the consequences of choosing sin.
Sin always has its consequences, both individually and collectively
Instead of experiencing spiritual revival and joy (like they should have), they experience destruction.
TO THE CHRISTIANS: TEARS FOR YOUR CITY
But 40 years before Jerusalem is destroyed, as Jesus is riding in on that donkey, He doesn’t scream out judgment to the people…
He doesn’t say, “And YOU Jerusalem…YOU will get what you deserve!”
No, He weeps.
He says, “If You Had Only Known” what would bring you peace
Listen, just because God is just doesn’t mean that God delivers justice with a wicked smile.
Don’t miss this: We see the face of God here, and it’s a face that is saying, “YES, Judgment will indeed come…it is real…”
But it is a face full of tears…
And let me speak to two groups of people about this today…
Firstly, let me speak to my fellow Christians in the room
Christians, in applying this passage, we must ask, do we wear the face of Christ when it comes to how we look at the people in our city?
For too many of us, when we think of unbelievers, our faces are not faces full of tears…
Almost anything but.
In fact, I’ll give you 3 facial expressions, or dispositions, I see often in Christians that in no way reflect the facial expression (and more importantly) the heart of Christ.
#1, for far too many of us, our eyes our more likely to roll than they are to shed tears when we think about unbelievers.
This is one of the consequences of Christians immersing themselves in political blogs & political TV instead of the Word of God
And what I’m seeing is many who call themselves Christians are so immersed in the political world, that their heart is learning to hate those who think differently than them.
They’re learning to roll their eyes at the so-called ignorance and stupidity of those who are politically different than them.
And it’s not the heart of Christ
Especially as you look at people who don’t even know Him!
In Luke 19, Jesus is looking to the future judgment of Jerusalem and He’s weeping, saying, “If You Had Only Known” what would bring you peace.
And these aren’t just people He disagrees with (like the people we roll our eyes at), these are the very people who are going to murder Him!
Their ignorance and foolishness is 10 times worse than that of your political opponents.
They’re going to kill the son of God on a cross!
And yet, he WEEPS for them.
“If they had only known!!
Is that your face, is that your heart, for those who don’t know Christ?
Secondly, I see many Christians, not with tears down their face for those who don’t know Christ and are approaching an eternity without Him, but instead their faces are full of apathy…or self-interest.
American Christians today are so interested in themselves, and their schedules, their kids schedules, and their evening entertainment…
That they no longer make time to build relationships with those who don’t know Christ.
Our very neighbors who live 100 feet from us…are continuing to walk towards an eternity of suffering…all while we, knowing what can save them, waste our time amusing ourselves with pointless information and entertainment
Our neighbors are drowning in the sea…and we’re watching TV
“God, give me boldness…I need it.”
You need it. We all need it.
May there be no neighbor in front of me on judgment day that could turn around and say to me, “If You had Only told me”
Thirdly, instead of a face of tears for those who don’t know Christ, I nowadays often see a face of disgust when Christians talk about non-believers.
So many Christians today, as they think about the ever-evolving morals of people in our culture…
And how every day, the people around us seem to move further and further away from Biblical truth…especially when it comes to things sex, gender, relationships, marriage, you name it…
Too often nowadays, what I see on the faces of Christians is disgust.
And it’s not even a disgust of sin, it’s an actual disgust of the people themselves.
It’s a feeling of moral superiority over the people of the world today.
Meanwhile, our Jesus looks on at these people just like He did at the prostitutes and tax collectors of his day, through tears, and says, “If You Had Only Known”
My friend, never look on someone who doesn’t know Christ with hatred or disgust
They don’t know!
They don’t know how the truth…or how to find it.
How can they know without someone telling them?
And how would we have known without someone telling us?
And my friend, when Jesus sees your sin, I assure you it’s just as heinous and vile as theirs.
Jesus doesn’t invent different categories for sin like we do, so we can feel better about ourselves
And yet Jesus still loved you and offered you forgiveness.
And his desire is that they know it too.
He weeps that they would know
Tears run down his face.
What is the look on your face for those who don’t know Christ?
If you could look into the future (like Jesus could when he was sitting on that donkey)
…and you could see the future judgment of people.
…I promise you that you would weep too
We would weep for days.
If we could see our friends…our co-workers…in hell…in agony…
Saying, like the rich man who went to hell in Luke chapter 16, “If only someone could come back from the dead and warn them about what’s coming!”
If we could see it, we would WEEP
And so I pray that you begin to reshape your heart as you think about those who are different from you and don’t know Christ.
One of the things you can do about this right away, to help reshape your heart, is to come to our prayer meetings and pray for the lost with us.
Praying for the lost will soften your face towards the lost.
Our Prayer Meetings are 15 minutes before every service in the meeting room.
The prayer meeting is the Engine Room of the church.
Pray with us.
And the next time one of your friends starts talking about all of the “foolish” people out there, instead of joining in with them, I want you to say, “If Only they knew Jesus”
That’s the face of Christ.
TO THE UNBELIEVER: IF YOU HAD ONLY KNOWN
I said I wanted to speak to 2 groups of people today, so now I want to turn my attention, just for a few minutes, to those of you who are not yet true followers of Jesus.
You have not yet fully surrendered your life to Him.
You may be new to church, or you may have attended your entire life, but you haven’t truly believed in Jesus as your Savior and turned your life fully over to Him
I want you also, to notice a few things about this passage from God’s Word
Look again at what Jesus says through his tears:
(Luke 19:42b) – NIV
42“If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.
He wants people to KNOW peace. Real peace.
That’s not “world peace” or anything cheesy like that.
He wants you to know peace in your heart.
And by the way, this is what people are chasing today, in our day…PEACE
But they lack it.
They’re looking for peace and contentment, so they chase it in pleasure
Thinking the next trip or vacation will give it to them
Or the next relationship or the next marriage.
But they still don’t find it…
So they think maybe a new job, or a promotion will do it
But that doesn’t do it
So they think, if I just use my new money to get a better car or a bigger house, so I can feel better than those around me…
But that still doesn’t bring peace to their heart
So they try therapy, they try drugs, they try meditation, they try everything they can think of…
But they cannot find peace.
If you had only known…
There is only one who can give your heart real peace…it’s the Son of God.
It’s the one you were made for.
For those of you that have been hanging out here the past month or two, and you’ve heard a lot of the testimonies of those who are getting baptized and choosing Christ….
One of the things you cannot escape hearing as you listen to their stories is that they have found peace.
We’ve heard that they were searching for it in all sorts of different places
…at the bar, in academic success, or in relationships…
But it was only in Jesus that they found it
And I want you to notice something else in this passage…
Jesus is saying, “Jerusalem, if you had only known…”
But think about this…if there is one city in the entire world that should have “recognized the time of God’s coming” (as verse 44 says)…
It should have been Jerusalem!
He doesn’t say, “Rome, If You Had Only Known…” Or “Athens, if You Had Only Known”
He says, “Jerusalem!”
The holy city of the Jews, the one where people came to worship and study the prophecies about the Messiah!
And yet, they didn’t really know what would bring them peace.
And so this is a passage for those of you that grew up in church
And you’ve heard about Jesus all of your life
It’s for those of you growing up in church right now…that are in middle school, or high school…
And you come here with your parents
The ones who talk to you about Jesus, and yet Jesus isn’t all that personal to you…
You don’t truly know Him or have a relationship with Him.
This passage is for those of you that come here every week with your spouse…
Your spouse that seems to have all the passion in the world for Jesus, and yet you’re, well, just more neutral to it all.
If any of those descriptions describe you, Jesus is weeping over YOU right now.
Because you can know Him right now…
He is what you’re looking for.
He is what will bring you peace.
You won’t find it out in the world.
You can try, but you won’t
Jesus is saying to you, “If you had only known,” not just because He wants you to know peace, and ultimately know HIM here and now…
But because, just like Jerusalem, if you don’t let Him save you, destruction will also come upon you… “even you” as Jesus says
It will start slowly…in your heart…right here on earth…
And it’ll get worse as you live out your days without Christ as your leader
And eventually that judgement will culminate not just in a life on earth without Christ, but a life in eternity without Christ, in hell.
And if you do not turn your life over to Christ, Jesus, at your judgment will say to you, through tears, “If You Had Only Known…”
If you had only understood my terms for peace.
“They were simple.
“I did not ask you to become “good,” or turn your life around first”
“I died for you while you were still a sinner”
“And I was willing to forgive you, simply by you believing in me and inviting me into your life as Savior”
“If you had only known”
I’m telling you now, so you can KNOW…
Jesus says in verse 44 that the people of Jerusalem did not recognize the time of God’s coming to them.
This may be the time of God’s coming to you.
Young person, you may fall away from God once you get to college…
This may be your closest shot.
This may be God’s visitation to you.
To the person who’s coming each week, but your heart feels almost nothing for Jesus, don’t assume you’ll keep coming.
In fact, I doubt that you will.
This may be God’s visitation to you…today.
Do not miss it.
In fact, I want to give some of you an opportunity to turn your life over to Jesus, and be saved.
You can be saved by believing in Jesus Christ through faith
When you believe that Jesus died for your sins, in your place, He will forgive your sins, and grant you eternal life in heaven.
And you will know peace (right here and now), because as you make Him the Lord & Leader of your life…
You’ll truly know love
And so if today is the time of God’s visitation to you…and you know that today…you need to tell him for the first time that you believe…
And you want to accept Him in as your leader, to truly be saved…
I urge you to make that decision today.
Let me pray right now that you do
While I’m praying, if you’re here, and you need to invite Jesus to save you, to be your leader, to believe He died for you….
Would you just raise your hand up in the air and keep it raised?
If your hand is raised, you can put it down, but would you pray this prayer with me?
This is not a magic prayer…but just a prayer to tell God where you’re at… the Bible says, we 1) believe in our hearts and 2) confess with our mouths.
So I want you to say it out loud after me.
IN fact, there are a lot of other believers already in the room, and this is what we believe.
So, let’s all say it together with these new believers.
Repeat after me
I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.
But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place
And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.
And now I commit, to following you, with my life.
As everyone else still has their eyes closed, I want to talk to those of you who raised your hand and prayed that prayer for the first time from your heart this morning.
I need you to do one more thing for me.
It will only take a few small minutes, but I believe these are a few of the most important minutes of your life.
You’ve just made the most important decision of your life, and I believe that requires some more information…
So here’s what we’re going to do…In just a second, I’m going to pray, and when I pray, I need you to quietly sneak out of your row, and head back towards the lobby where it will be quiet.
I’m going to go meet you out there in a second with someone from our Follow-Up Team…and I want to give you some extremely important resources & next steps to get you started on the most important journey of your life.
If you’re part of this church, and your friend or family member raised their hand, or you see them getting up, PLEASE come out there with them.
All right, I’m going to pray now, so you can head out there.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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