Easter 2021 Luke 7:11-17 Jesus is the Son of Man: Jesus raises the dead.

Easter 2021

Luke 7:11-17

Jesus is the Son of Man

Jesus raises the dead.

 

 

All right! Let’s go ahead and open up our Bibles to Luke chapter 7! As I say on an almost weekly basis, if you do not have a Bible, if you need one, please see me after the service and I will get one into your hands as our gift to you.

So, we have been walking the Gospel of Luke the last few months and seeing who Jesus is and what He came to accomplish. Luke gives his reason for writing this Gospel in Chapter 1, verses 3 & 4, writing: it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.

          So, Luke has been investigation, interviewing witnesses and generally verifying the life and stories of Jesus as true and passing them along so that we may know that they are true.

We got to Chapter 7 a few weeks ago and we kind of took Chapter 7 out of order so that we could look at this morning’s story here in Easter Morning.

Leading up to this point, Jesus was putting his words into action. As he was teaching, preaching truth; grace, mercy, holiness, repentance, he was basically being asked, “Who are you to tell us…” This is a reaction we all have, when people tell us things we don’t want to hear or things that are hard to hear, our first inclination is to reject it and usually that is done by discrediting the one telling us the hard thing.

Jesus essentially responds, “Who am I to say? Ill show you who I am…” He says this is who I am, and this is the evidence of my power and authority. He showed so far in Luke’s Gospel that He had authority over sin by forgiving sins. He showed he had authority over sickness and disease by healing people. He showed his authority over weather and nature by calming storms and the wind. He showed his authority over the Scriptures by teaching and preaching a right understanding of the Word of God. And finally, as we see this morning, he shows his authority over life and death itself, by raising the dead.

So, lets go ahead and read this morning’s passage, Luke chapter 7, verses 11-17. I will be reading out of the English Standard Version, buy please read along for yourself in your preferred translation. We look at Luke’s account, inspired by the Holy Spirit as he records:

Soon afterward[c] he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. 12 As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus[d] gave him to his mother. 16 Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” 17 And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.

 

          Thus, says the Holy Word of God.

 

So, at the beginning of Luke 7, we saw that Jesus was in Capernaum. He and his followers went down to a town called Nain. Nain was about 25 miles from Nain, or about a day’s journey. As usual, he had great crowds and followers going with him. They had heard stories; they had heard his teachings and they wanted to see and hear more.

As the came to Nain, they “just so happened,” they “coincidently,” came upon a funeral procession. Remember, this was directly after he healed the Roman centurion’s servant who was, according to Luke, who was a Dr, “sick unto death.”

The man who died, the man whose funeral this was, was the only son of his mother. His mother had already lost her husband, she was a widow. This son of hers was all she had. In that time and in that culture, there was no retirement funds, there was no social security, there were no safety nets at all. There was your family and there was charity that was, by human nature, undependable.

So, this woman, had already lost her husband at some point, now lost her son, her only family and had nothing left, no on to help take care of her. She was grieving and the whole town it seems was there grieving with her.

Jesus comes across this woman and sees what’s happening. He tells here, “Do not weep.” He does not say this to rebuke her. He doesn’t sit as in, “Why are you weeping?” He says this not as a command, but because he had compassion on her. He saw her grieving and had compassion on this lady.

He went to the boy’s body. Touching a dead body would, of course, make him unclean. It was not something that was done. But Jesus was willing to do anything, he was willing to sacrifice for the sake of mercy. He touches the coffin and tells the son, “Young man, I say to you, arise!”

 

And he did!

 

Jesus gives the son to his mother. A gift she did not ask for. But out of grace, mercy, respect and compassion. This points us directly towards Jesus own death and resurrection.

Interestingly we see a similar story & miracle with Elijah back in 1 Kings 17. We are not going to read the whole thing but, in that story, we have a widowed mom who lost her son, and with mercy and compassion, Elijah, through God raised the son from the dead. The language between the two stories is very similar.

One commentator grabs on to that and points out that both the language and the results are similar. The mom in 1 Kings saw the Elijah was a man of God, a prophet. The people in Luke who saw this son raised form the dead recognized that Jesus was a man of God, they called him a great prophet. The commentator says: Jesus was much more than a great prophet. But ascribing such a title to him was the best the townspeople could do without further revelation. It was a spontaneous chorus of realization that messianic times had fallen on them.

          They were recognizing that Jesus was more than a man. Many would have recognized the allusions to the story or Elijah. But Jesus was more than a prophet. He was the fulfillment of prophets; he was the more perfect prophet.

People recognized Gods power at work through Jesus of Nazareth. They cried out in fear and worship, and this is key, they said, “God has visited his people.”

This is who Jesus is. Immanuel. God with us. God become man to save sinners. Immanuel, the name that Isaiah gave to the long awaited and prophesied Messiah. Immanuel, the name the Matthew showed us was fulfilled in Jesus when he was born in Bethlehem. Jesus is Immanuel. God with us.

Why is this important? It is because Jesus has the power over life and death.

Yes, Jesus came as an example to us, an example of how to live. But, thankfully, that’s not all. IF we think that, we fall into one of two mistakes. First, some so called churches teach that because Jesus came as our example that means we can do all the things that Jesus did hear on earth. This passage for example. They say that, because Jesus was our example, that through God, we can raise the dead. They are wrong.

They other mistake we fall into is that when Jesus came to be our example, as long as we try to live by that example, as long as we try to be good people, then that’s all that matters. If Jesus is our example, then all that’s required of us is to try to live up to that example of love and peace and goodness. This is what most of the world thinks. They are wrong.

There have been a lot of Good Examples through out history. Billy Graham, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr, John the Baptist, David, Joshua and Caleb, Abraham. Some of our friends, family, my dad was a great example. But these people and their examples cannot save us, and Jesus’ example couldn’t save us either.

What the Bible clearly teaches, Penal Substitutionary Atonement, essentially, what we talked about last week, that our sins require the shedding of blood in order to receive forgiveness, is being rejected by may churches today. They say that Jesus didn’t actually need to die to save us. Instead, they say, we, as in humanity, killed him and his death on the cross was instead, an act of obedience. That obedience was an example to us. It wasn’t that Jesus died for our sins, but instead that our sins put him up on the cross.

Now, there is truth in that, but Jesus did not just come to be our example. He came to die for our sins. He came to give up himself, so that we might have life. All humanity has sinned. All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. This sin separates us from God. Adam and Eve were created in the Garden of Eden to walk in perfect relationship with God. But their sinned separated them form God and we inherited their sin, meaning we are sinful and separated from God. The wages of sin is death. Sin cannot be allowed to continue unabated. It couldn’t just go as is.

Sin needed to be atoned for. All sin is sin against God himself. RC Sproul calls all sin Cosmic Treason. Sin created debt to God that needed to be paid for. When Adam and Eve sinned, God instituted a sacrificial system. Blood offering offered the temporary forgiveness of sins. This, and especially the Passover that we looked at last week, were types and foreshadowing to what Jesus came for and accomplished in the cross. The sin offering, the sacrificial system called for a lamb without blemish.

Jesus of Nazareth, truly man, truly God, was born and was, as John the Baptist pointed out, the “lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.”  He lived the perfect life. He had no sin to separate him from God. He and the Father were one. He had no sin to atone for.

And so, his death, his shed blood on the cross was able and did atone for all of our sins. Big enough for all the sins of the world. Effective for those who, by grace through faith in Jesus Christ repent of their sins and trust in Christ alone for their salvation. Your sins are forgiven only through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

But the forgiveness of sins is not the only thing. God’s power of death is not the only thing. In fact, we celebrate Easter, not celebrating the death of Jesus Christ, but his resurrection. God has power of death and life.

Jesus literally physically died in the cross all those 2000 years ago. And if that was the end of the story, Paul says we are to be pitied. 1 Corinthians 15 is an incredible chapter. Not always easily understandable, but the point is this. We serve a risen God. We serve a living God.

We have the promise of life after death. We have the promise of the resurrection of the dead. Jesus is the proof of this. He is the fulfillment of this. Without that promise, none of this means anything. As Paul’s says, let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die. Without the resurrection our faith is in vain. What faith could we have if there is nothing after this?

God rose Jesus Christ from the dead, showing that there is indeed a resurrection, that there is life after death. That there is something after this life. He shows us that through Christ and in Christ, with our sins forgiven that we will also be resurrected. We will have life and life abundantly. We stand before God and give an account for our sins and our life.  Only through the grace of God and his righteousness, Christ’s righteousness covering us because of his finished work on the cross, will we gain entry into the Kingdom of God. We will receive our heavenly bodies. We will spend eternity with Christ in eternal worship and glorifying the all Holy God if the universe for ever more.

Without the resurrection, all we have is a good, moral example of how to live life. With the resurrection we have eternal life and forgiveness. Death has lost its power. It has lost its victory and it will lose its sting. All of this is available, if you chose to follow Christ and trust him alone.

Some will say that Chris is one of the ways we can get to God. Some will say that we don’t need to be reconciled to God. I say that a plain and simple look in the mirror and at the world around us says otherwise.

Joshua led the Israelites after Moses died. Moses was leading them out of slavery in Egypt and bringing them to the land the God promised. As with human nature, the Israelites doubted and wanted to go back to slavery, where at least they were comfortable. They knew that life and so they would complain to go back. In Joshua 24:14 & 15, he challenges them, saying, “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

 

          Today is the day to choose. Do you believe that you can be good enough? Do you believe that you don’t need to be reconciled to God? Do you believe that your good outweighs your bad on the cosmic scales? DO believe that there are plenty of ways back to God, that Christ is but one?

Or, to quote RC Sproul, “OR are you convinced that Jesus Christ is Gods only so, the only one to provide atonement for our sins, the One whom God raised for our justification, the One whom God has appointed as judge of the whole world? Jesus will judge- not Muhammed, not Confucius, not the Buddha. Muhammed is dead. Confucius is dead. The Buddha is dead. Only Jesus has been raised and elevated to the right hand of God the Father, where he sits now as the King of kings and the LORD of Lords.

 

 

 

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

 

Let’s Pray.

Mark 16:1-8 Easter 2020 Jesus is Alive!

Mark 16:1-8

Easter 2020

Jesus is Alive!

Good Morning! Good Morning! Thank you for listening this morning as we celebrate the single most important event in History. Gods timing is really shining through this morning. And I just want to say that this is usually one of the biggest weekends of the year for churches and I am missing you all right now. As I talk with you all throughout the week, I know that you are all missing being here as well!  But the good news is that we celebrate the LORD Jesus Christ rising from the dead every Sunday, the LORDS Day that we do gather together in worship. And that time will come again, hopefully soon.

This morning, this Easter morning, I want to look at the Gospel of Marks account of The Resurrection. We are going to see Marks focus on the historicity, the historical facts of the Resurrection. We will see that Marks method of writing is to focus on the main points and keep moving. His writings read very quickly, and he doesn’t get down into a lot of the details that the other three Gospels share.

The section that we will look at today is in the last section in Mark, chapter 16, verses 1-8. I am reading out of the English Standard Version. I do encourage you to read through from which ever is your preferred translation.  Mark 16:1-8, inspired by the Holy Spirit, Mark writes:

When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

God Bless the Reading of his Holy and Inspired Word of God.

So, what we see previously in Mark, is that Jesus of Nazareth, the man who called himself the Christ, the Messiah, was crucified by the Roman Government and this has been historically proven. This week we see what takes place after he was buried. Jesus was buried late on a Friday afternoon, right as the Sabbath was getting ready to start. There was no time to properly take care of, to anoint and prepare the body. So, he was put in the tomb, wrapped in linen and the stone was rolled in front of the entrance to protect the body and the tomb. Here we see that, as soon as the Sabbath is over, the Sabbath lasts from Sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday, as soon as the Sabbath was over, first thing early Sunday morning, these ladies came to the tomb to properly care for the body.

We also saw, much earlier that Mary, the sister of Martha and brother of Lazarus had anointed Jesus body days before his death, by pouring a bottle of expensive perfume on him. Jesus said that this was too early but that she had done a good thing. These ladies were on their way to do the right thing, showing respect for their friend and rabbis’ dead body. Their biggest concern as they walked up to the tomb was how they were going to get in, who was going to move the stone from the entrance.

When they get close, they are amazed to see the stone is moved and they were able to get into the tomb! The stone was rolled away. They went in and saw a man dressed in a white robe. An Angel. A real live angel. How can we tell? The Bible tells us. We see the language used to describe angels in the scriptures and especially in the other Gospels. But most of all, we know because of their reactions.

Today, when someone says that they have seen an angel or encounter something like that, it tends to calm, warm, soothing, something along those lines. But we need to remember that the Truth of Scriptures trumps our experiences. Our experiences can be important and shed light on things, but our experiences can be easily misinterpreted by ourselves. It is very easy for us to lie to ourselves, to read into things what we want. But when we look at the scriptures, when we look at the Bible, we see the unfiltered truth. And the truth is that every encounter of a person with an angel we see in scriptures results in an incredible amount of fear and trembling at the sight of the angel. Most of the time, the person falls flat on their face and can barely look at the angel.

In this case, Mary Magdalene does not fall down on her face, but Mark does say that she was alarmed. Now this doesn’t sound too bad in English. “Oh, nothing wrong, I was just a little alarmed.” But what the word means in the original language is more like “to alarm thoroughly, to terrify” or “to be struck with terror.”

The Angel immediately tries to calm her down and explains a little bit about what is going on. Notice the way the angels speak. Again, it is to verify the facts and the historical truth. He identifies Jesus of Nazareth, so there is no confusion who he is referring to, or who the ladies were looking for, that it was not an impostor. Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified, confirming that he was actually dead, not just in a coma or passed out.

But if this is the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified, where is the body? Why is this angel here? His next words let us know, “He is risen!” His body is not here, this is the ledge his body was laid, and his body is gone. The other gospels tell that the linens he was wrapped up in after death were folded and set on that ledge. The body wasn’t there. And it’s not because someone moved it, or stole it, or anything like that, instead, “He is Risen!”

What does that mean? Why is that important? I’m glad you asked. See, God created everything in Genesis 1. Specifically, he created this world, he created the Garden of Eden, and he created Human beings, Adam and Eve. And it was very good. It was all working just like God created it, in perfect, peaceful, shalom. In perfect rhythm. The way this was all intended to be.

Adam and Eve got to walk perfectly with God, worship him, dwell with him, talk to him anytime about anything. They had a perfect, full relationship with God. The way it was intended to be. Then it all went away. Adam and Eve sinned, brought sin into this world and we are all corrupted, all affected by it today. That perfect, full relationship with God has been broken.        

We have been removed from that walk, that dwelling with God. And we have no way of restoring that relationship. In Genesis 3, after the fall, after sin ruined things, God told Adam, Eve, and Satan what some of the consequences would be. He also promised Adam and Eve that he would make things right. That he would provide a way for the relationship would be restored.

In the Old Testament, God provided temporary restoration with the sacrificial system. An animal had to be sacrificed and his blood shed in order to cover up our sins temporarily. We do not have the power to stay sinless on our own. We are slaves to sin and we don’t have the power or the ability to restore the relationship with God on our own. We need his help. He says blood needs to be shed.

And then, Jesus of Nazareth, was born. He manifested as a man, preexistent as part of the trinity, fully God, fully man. Because of this, he was able to live a human life, be tempted, know the pain and the struggles that we go through each and every day, and yet, because he was also God, he was able to resist that temptation, able to live a life without sin, able to live a perfect life, to maintain that relationship with God the Father.

And because he had no sin to atone for, to shed blood for, to make right, because he had none of his own, he was able to offer himself as the perfect, permanent, complete sacrifice to atone for our sins, to make us right with God. But it’s not a blanket statement that everyone always everywhere ever is suddenly right with God. It is a gift designed to be accepted by faith or rejected by lack of it.

And that’s what it is, a gift. Jesus didn’t have to do this. He didn’t have to make himself human. He didn’t have to be tempted, mock, despised, beaten, betrayed, spit on, and crucified. He could have stayed up in heaven, reigning as God, with the Angels to serve him, lacking nothing, needing nothing. But God loves us. He creates us out of that love. And since he, being holy, couldn’t dwell with us, couldn’t ignore the rebellion that we are in against him, couldn’t look at us with seeing all of the sin in our lives, God wanted to do something. Jesus wanted to restore that relationship. So, this was the plan that they came up with.

We are completely dependent on this gift, on this plan to have any hope to save our relationship with God. We can’t not do anything on our own to help it along. None of our, quote, “Good Works” none of our moral behavior, none of our good feelings, none of our tolerance, none of our anything, plays any part in our salvation, plays any part in restoring our relationship with God.

This gift is called salvation because of what is does for us. It saves us. Without Jesus blood paying the price for our sin, we are destined to be apart from God for eternity. The Bible calls this Hell. It’s not a good place, it’s a place of eternal torment, and fire and every bad thing you can think of, the full, perfect, complete Wrath of God poured out on us. All that we do ourselves cannot get us out of Hell. But Jesus death and resurrection allow us to trade places, leaving a destiny of eternity in Hell, for a destiny of eternal life in Heaven with Jesus. That is our salvation. That is our gift that is offered to us. That is what you need to decide if you will accept or reject.

If you accept this gift, you become a part of Gods family, you become adopted in as one of his children. When we are one of his children, we can never be removed from that status. But that doesn’t fully change who we are, not yet any way. The Bible calls those who are saves, Christians, the Bible calls them saints. But it is also clear that we will continue to slip up, to occasionally sin, to not be perfect.

When God looks at us before the cross, before the resurrection he sees sinner. When he looks at us after the cross, after the resurrection, he sees Jesus blood, not our own righteousness, but Jesus righteousness.

We will continue to have imperfect, human moments. And nothing we do before we become saved, before we become Christians will have any effect on our salvation, won’t help it be accomplished or anything. But what we see in the Bible, after we come to know that Jesus of Nazareth is who he said he was, that he was Jesus Christ, literally, physically, truly, then he gives us commands to follow. Then we have holiness to pursue, then we have disciples to make and then we have a job, to bring the Kingdom of God to right here, and right now.

But none of that matters if we don’t know that Jesus is who he said he is and if we don’t believe he did what the Bible says he did. The crucifixion is what proved that Jesus was human. The resurrection is what proves that he was God. John Calvin said, “the resurrection of Christ is the most important article of our faith, and without it the hope of eternal life is extinguished.”

What hope do you have? Where is your hope and your faith placed? Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:14, “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” Christs resurrection, Jesus of Nazareth’s resurrection is simply put, the most important event on history. If it didn’t happen, it he stayed dead, then our hope of eternal life is extinguished, and our faith and preaching are in vain.

But, if the evidence is true, if the historical evidence holds true and Jesus did what the Bible says he did, and he proved that he was who he said he was, than what other choice is there than to put all of our faith, all of our trust and all of our hope in Jesus Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Messiah.

I challenge you to look at the evidence, not through scientific eyes, or religious eyes, but through open eyes, eyes seeking the Truth. If you do, you will see that not only is this the most important event in history, but his death and resurrection are one of the most historically documented events as well.

 

And all of this, because God became man to save sinners. I will leave you with the words of the Apostle Paul, writing Romans 5:8-11:

 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

         

Amen, Thank you Jesus.

Let’s Pray

 

 

 

 

Romans 15:1-7 pt 2 Easter 2019 That’s My King!

Romans 15:1-7 pt 2

Easter 2019

Who is Jesus?

Good Morning! If you have a Bible, please grab it and turn with me to Romans chapter 15. If you do not have or own a Bible, one of our missions here at Bangor Community Church is to get the Bible in to the hands of everyone who does not have one. We have some on the back table that your are welcome to grab and consider it our gift to you.

So, a little bit about me as Pastor here, I preach through books of the Bible. Lone by line, verse by verse. There are a few times where we will take a pause and preach on something topical, mostly Easter and Christmas, and how important they are to our life and faith. However, this year, the Holy Spirit saw fit for the scripture that we are naturally going through to match up with this morning, Easter Sunday.

So, that’s what we are going to look at this morning, Romans 15, verses 1-7. This passage in Romans points out one aspect of who Jesus is and why he came down from heave to have a ministry here on Earth. We are going to look at that, but also, look at the bigger picture of who Jesus is and why Easter especially is so important to the Christian faith.

As just a bit of context for Romans 15, Paul, who wrote this letter to the churches in Rome, as been talking, over the last few chapters of Romans, what it practically looks like to love our neighbors, what it looks like to set aside our liberties and right for the sake of unity and love within the church. He emphasizes that this does not mean we don’t stand for anything, True Truth will often divide, but that we set aside non primary issues, open-handed issues as we have referred to them, we set those aside in the name of love and unity and the Gospel.

So, all that being said, let’s go ahead and read from this weeks text. We will be reading Romans chapter 15, verses 1-7 and I will be reading out of the English Standard Version. I encourage you to follow along with whichever translation you have in your hands.

The Word of God says:

 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

And so, I want to ask a question of you all. Why are you here this morning? Why is this morning important? What does it all mean and who is this Jesus Guy?

Paul here is pointing out one of the many aspects of who Jesus is. Jesus is a perfect example for us. Paul is pointing this out in the context of the things he has been instructing the church at Rome. That is to put others, their needs and their stuff above ourselves. Jesus put our needs, our struggles, our good above his own benefit. The Biggest example, the biggest aspect of who he is is his sinless life, his perfect sacrifice, his death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead, the greatest act of love ever committed.

Lets start at the beginning. Genesis chapter 1, verse 1, the first words in the Bible, it states, In the beginning,… In the beginning God created. As you go through Genesis 1 & 2, you see creation unfolding. You see Gods power, creativity, his authority and his love unfold in the created world. We see in Genesis 1:27:

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them

What this means is that human beings are created in Gods likeness. We are created to reflect Gods attributed and his nature. We were created without sin, designed to walk in perfect communion and relationship with the all-powerful, all holy and all loving God. We also get the first glimpse of the Trinity. One God, three persons. Not three gods, three persons. Not one God, three personalities. But One God, three persons; The Father, the son and the Holy Spirit.

Thats why and by who we are created. But that’s not who we are today. Can anybody, no matter what your thoughts, no matter what your political views, no matter what culture or ethnicity, no matter what your worldview, or religious view, none of us can truly say, that this world we see around us, this world we see on the news, the world we see when we walk down the street, none of us can say this world is supposed to be. Something went wrong, something is broken.

That something is us. We see, also in Genesis, starting in Ch 3, that Adam and Eve, the sinless human beings created by God, we see them sin. Sin has been summed up as Cosmic Treason against the creator of the universe. We see Adam get deceived and disobey the one command the perfect and loving God gave them. The Bible tells us that because of Adams sin, we are all born into sin. Paul writes in Romans 5:12:

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men[a] because all sinned—

That sin fractured the perfect union and relationship with God. The end of Genesis 3 shows God removing Adam and Eve from his presence, expelling them from the Garden of Eden. He is not able to be in the presence of sin. And it’s also the first view that death is required for the penalty of sin.

That is a vital point. This is a point you truly need to realize. If you do not understand this, then you have no knowledge of your need for forgiveness or need of a saviour or how big of a deal your sin actually is. It’s too easy to just say, “I can just be better, or do better and sin less.” But you can’t do good enough or sin little enough. Only Jesus could do that and that’s why we need Him.

So we are broken. The term that is used among Christians is fallen. And we are unable to keep ourselves from being fallen. We are unable to keep ourselves sinless. We cannot maintain that perfect relationship with God. We never knew in our lives, because we were born with sin. We certainly cannot be good enough, sinless enough to bridge that gap between us and God. We certainly can’t reconcile a perfect, holy and just God with our sin. Romans 3:23 says, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Thats the bad news. But God loves you, loves me, loves us too much to leave things with the bad news.

See, God uses the entire Old Testament to point towards something. We looked last week at the importance of ALL Scripture. That it is ALL inspired and breathed out by God. We are still hitched, if you will to the Words of God that came before Jesus earthly ministry. God spends the entire Old Testament promising a gift to his people, promising to redeem them, to bring them back into relationship with him. He promised to send them a savior, saving them from eternal separation from him.

Then, on a day we celebrate with Christmas, one starry night, a little over 2000 years ago, God the Father sent his son, Jesus of Nazareth, down to be born of Mary, betrothed to Joseph, both of the kingly line of David. Jesus, fully God, one-third of the trinity, fully human, born of a woman, arrived here on earth.

The Gospels, the first four books of the New testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, are stories, in content, if not fully in purpose, stories of Jesus life and ministry here on earth and then finally, his death and his resurrection.

Thats right, Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus Christ, lived a perfect human life, therefore was never separated from God.

Peter writes in 1 Peter 2:21-25:

 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Jesus was sinless and therefore wasnt fallen, didn’t have that broken relationship with God. He didn’t have anything to be punished for, didn’t do anything wrong.

But his mission, his purpose, was to come down here to pay the penalty, to take the punishment for sin. And since he had none of his own, he was able to pay that penalty for us, on our behalf. He was punished and put to death without reason. He was innocent. We are not, The cross is a reminder of the pain and suffering that he went through on our behalf. That happened Friday. The wages of sin are death, started back in Genesis 3, and stated over and over, up through the New Testament. The first half of Romans 6:23 says For the wages of sin is death. Again, do you truly understand that because of your sins, you deserve death. That is the right and just penalty for sin. If you claim to want a fair and just God, the wages of sin is death. But God is not only fair and just, He is full of grace, mercy and love as well.

Jesus paid that penalty. But again, the story didn’t end there. Once the penalty was paid, that doesn’t mean the relationship is automatically reconciled. Death still exists, death and sin are still in and a part of this world. So Jesus had to show us that there was something beyond this world. That, though we would still die physically in this bodies, that through the death and resurrection of Christ, we would spend eternity with him in our new, heavenly bodies. The second part of Romans 6:23 reads but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And so, three legal days later, on Sunday Morning, When his followers opened the tomb, to take care of the dead body, the body was gone. In a historical event, that over the last 2000 years has been shown to carry the burden of proof, with eye witnesses, with transmission through the years, archaeologically, culturally, and so much more, carrying the burden of proof and having actually, literally, physically happening, Jesus rose from the dead.

He did this to show that he was God. He did this to show us that we could have life after death. He did this to show that there is forgiveness, to give us a reason to believe and to show that he has the ultimate authority. He did this to show that he is the messiah king that God was pointing to in the Old Testament. Charles Spurgeon once said, You only have to read the Gospels, and look with willing eyes, and you shall behold in Christ all that can possibly be seen of God.

As so, to those of you who don’t know Jesus Christ, who are not in a personal relationship with him, who have not received his forgiveness,who have not repented and trusted in the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross, now is the time. Because the Bible, and Jesus himself makes it quite clear that there is no other way to forgiveness, to salvation, to eternity in heaven than through Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, the King of Kings and the LORD of Lords. John records in his Gospel, in 14:6, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. He doesn’t say A way, he doesn’t say he is A truth. He doesn’t say there are all sorts of ways to get to the Father. One way, one door, open to all who would walk through it.

Now and here is the time, because there is no other way, there is no second chances in the afterlife, there is no knowing when your time is up, and there is no reason to think that this decision doesn’t matter. So please, accept this gift that God has laid out in front of you. Accept the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and accept his resurrection. Accept that Jesus Christ is LORD, that through him your sins are forgiven and that he has authority, that he is King over our life.

Timothy Keller writes: If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.”

John MacArthur wrote, “It is only through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that you or I or anyone will ever enter the kingdom of God. We can’t enter through our religious emotion or our sanctified feelings. It is only through the precious blood of Jesus Christ.”

And see, that’s the thing. In order to truly accept Jesus Christ, you have to acknowledge who he is. He is the perfect, Holy, and just God who created everything single thing in this universe. As the creator, he has the right and the responsibility to rule over it, to have authority over it. For us to acknowledge who he is, we have to submit to that authority.

Lets read what Paul writes in his letter to the Colossians, chapter 1, verses 15-20:

 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by[f] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

And so, Jesus Christ is not only our savior on the cross, the payment for our sin, but he is our God, he is our KING. And as such, he has authority and dominion over us. We believe that this book right here, the Bible, that it is Gods words to us. Again, we focused in on that last week. And we see through scripture, that His will is communicated to us through it. And so, our job, if we claim to know Christ is to read this and follow what it says.

Make no mistake…This is no trivial thing! This is everything! So, those of us that know Jesus Christ is our savior and have accepted that forgiveness and the eternal life in his Kingdom, my question to you, are you submitting to his will and are you following his example? Are you submitting to the King. Are you submitting to the one who has all authority over your life? Scripture says at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10-11)

Thats hard for us, especially us as Americans to grasp. Our country was formed & created by rejecting and fighting against the authority of a king. So it is ingrained in us that that is a good way to rebel. And so we naturally and think rightfully reject the notion that Christ is our King and that any King would have any authority over us.

And yet he does. Paul especially writes quite a bit about this. He says in Galatians 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. And in 2 Corinthians 5:17,  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[b] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

When we submit to him and his authority, it’s not just our eternal destination that is affected. Its our true self, we become a child of God, reconciled with him. We get to enjoy fellowship with him, the way we were intended to. When we become Christians, the Holy Spirit comes and lives inside of us, helping us, teaching us, guiding us. We can’t submit to Christ the King with out the power of the Holy Spirit. Thats a product of the fall, of sin. And so the Holy Spirit helps change our wants, our desires, our thought process and whats important to us.

But, we have to make the choice daily to submit, to follow. It’s not easy, Jesus says in Matthew 7, Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. We need Gods help, we need the Holy Spirit, and we need the King himself, Jesus Christ in order to submit and follow his authority.

And that brings me back to the original question. What are we doing here this morning? What is Easter? Hers a clue, we are not here to dress up real nice, in our fanciest duds, though there is nothing wrong with that, that’s a good, fun thing. We are not here to see friends or family, or to gather for a family meal, though those are good fun things. We are not here to feel good about ourselves, though I hope you feel Gods love for you this morning and that does make you repent, but also feel loved and assured and good.

We are here to remember & celebrate what Jesus did for us, to buy us the opportunity to partake in salvation, in forgiveness, in his eternal Kingdom. And we are here to do what people do to Kings, and that’s to worship him. All of what we said earlier, submitting and following him, and accepting him and all that, they are part of worshiping him. Kings get worshiped, and when you are the King of Kings and the LORD of Lords, you deserve the worship of everyone.

So we are here, singing praises, hearing the Gospel, the Good News that we are loved, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Remembering that Christ defeated death and if we accept his love and his Kingship, we get live forever in his glorious eternal kingdom, walking in perfect, sinless communion and relationship p with God, just like Adam and Eve did, just like humanity were created to, just like we were intended to. We see a glimpse of what that looks like in Revelation 21:1-4:

 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,[b] and God himself will be with them as their God.[c] 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be morning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Now, as we finish up, I want to encourage each and every one of you, know and accept Jesus Christ, he is our perfect example, he is our perfect substitute, he is very God and very Man, he is the Messiah, he is our Savior and he is King, who even has authority over death itself. And when you accept him, submit to his authority and worship him. He is all good. All powerful. All Holy, all just, all merciful, all loving and once again, all good. He deserves our submission and our worship.

Now, I want to leave you with an audio clip. It’s about 5 minutes, and its by an Southern Californian Baptist preacher named S.M. Lockridge, and the title of the Clip is “Thats my King!” This is, I believe from the early 70’s so that will explain the audio, but listen to what he says in describing Jesus Christ, His King, my King and your King!

 

What Lent is and is not

What Lent is and what it is not

                There is a lot of confusion out there about what Lent is and what it is not. This is my attempt to clarify things. First, Lent is not mentioned in the Bible. It is an extra biblical tradition, and if done with the right heart, one of the best ones, in my opinion.

What it is not: Lent is not a time to change yourself, though it may have that effect. It is not a time to change the world, though we should be trying to do that. It is not a way to prove how good of a Christian or how disciplined you are. It is not a way to earn righteousness or favor with God.

What Lent is: Lent is primarily about remembering Jesus sacrifice for us. It combines two sacrifices he made, with one obviously infinitely more important than the other.  Jesus, while preparing for his ministry, spent 40 days in the wilderness, fasting and praying. At the end of the 40 days, Jesus was able to refute the temptations that Satan provide him with. This is where we get the 40 days of Lent.

But Jesus also sacrificed his body and his life to defeat sin and death and so that we would have the opportunity for eternal salvation. Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice. He died on Good Friday and was raised up on Easter Sunday. This date is the most important date in the history of the worlds and is one of joyous celebration for Christians around the world. We end the period of Lent on Easter Sunday as a celebration that Jesus sacrifices was completed and successful.

The reason to practice Lent: Lent is intended to be a way for us to remember how hard the sacrifice was that Jesus made. We have a tendency to take for granted the historical fact that Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead. We forget just how much of an effect this has on us. Lent is a way for us to get closer to God, to align ourselves with God’s will and most importantly, to remember the ultimate sacrifice that was made on our behalf.

How to practice Lent: These are just going to be some principals on how to implement this so as not become legalistic. It is meant to give some ideas, not to be a rule book or a checklist. If you give up something that you purchase, such as Starbucks, or ice cream, use the money you would spend and donate it to a charity or to your church. When you give this money over, remember 2 things; first, it was not your money anyway. God gave it to you and now you are giving some back. Second, the money and the coffee you are sacrificing is nothing compared to the sacrifice that Jesus gave in our place. If you are giving up a hobby or a meal or something that takes time, take the time that you would be eating lunch and use it to study the Word, or pray.

Again, the point of Lent is to remember the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus Christ, who is God, came down from heaven as a man, lived a perfect life, committed no sin, died on the cross to pay the price for our sin, and rose from the dead to defeat Satan, sin and death. Live this and celebrate this.

Casey

Hebrews 10:1-18