You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2011.
When we’re living our lives with intentional gratitude we’re fixing our eyes upon Jesus and agreeing YES He is good and YES He is faithful and YES He is Lord and YES He is the one who loves us! Gratitude is an expression of faith.
1198. the grace and love of God demonstrated upon the cross. jesus lived the life i could never live and died the death i should have died to give me the gift i could never earn.
1199. rainy weather and warm crackling fires
1200. conversations with my sister
1201. snuggles watching dvds over the holidays
1202. the joy of reading a book to grandma over the phone
1203. my new rings
1204. responders to my resurrection sunday message last week. love seeing people get right with the Lord.
1205. how this weeks message grew in my heart over the past few weeks and flew out onto the page. really excited to preach this week at our young adults service
1206. powerpoint. love using it when i preach.
1207. a job well done. satisfaction and yeahness.
1208. coke cola
1209. macaroni cheese
1210. that one day there will be a royal wedding that i attend. as the bride.
1211. an awesome night at housegroup on wednesday where God so came and moved and spoke. we have a nonchristian friend who is coming along and it was awesome to see the tears and her heart open more.
1213. silence and nana naps
1214. the proclaimation of the gospel
1215. the provision of God with my husbands job.
1215. i’m so grateful that my husband is who he is. though we’re wired different and sometimes i dont get him and he dont get me, i so love that he is who he is and that God is who He is through him.
1216. encouragement and support
1217. john 4:13-14 still wows me
1218. the resurrection is the proof of the promises of God
1219. podcasts. i love podcasts. i love great preaching. i love having my mp4 and headphones so when i’m awake i can listen to it…
1220. generous family
so there we go. venturing on in life to 2000 things that i am grateful for…
"To those going through the valley and shadow of death, hear this word: Weeping will last through some dark, awful nights, and in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper, "I am with you," Beloved, God has never failed to act but in goodness and love. When all means fail-his love prevails. Hold fast to your faith. Stand fast in his Word. There is no other hope in this world." David Wilkerson
next week at the end of our housegroup discussion i have a bunch of creatively presented verses for people to take home and be encouraged by:
… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfils his purpose for me. Psalm 57:2
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
2 Corinthians 4:7 – “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
“Praise be to God who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” 2 Corinthians 4:1
“God has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,”- 2 Timothy 1:9.
Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; not chiselled into stone, but carved into human lives. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 MSG
Philippians 3:12-14 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Jeremiah 20:9 But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in indeed, I cannot.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts. Zechariah 4:6
But the Holy Spirit will come and help you, because the Father will send the Spirit to take my place. The Spirit will teach you everything and will remind you of what I said while I was with you. John 14:26
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners, Isaiah 61:1
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:20-21
Moses said to the LORD, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD ? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” exodus 4:10-11
we overcome by the blood of the lamb, the word of our testimony and that we love our lives not… revelation 11:12
taken from watching Mark Driscoll preaching at Easter 2011 http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/easter/easter-celebration-2011
1. He said He came down from heaven john 6:38-39
in other words He existed BEFORE He entranced time through His mothers womb. Jesus is God come down from Heaven. Jesus is NOT a man who became God but that God humbled Himself and came on a rescue mission and came to seek and save
2. He is more than just a good man mark 10:17-18
no one is good but God alone
He is not a good teacher, a generous man towards the poor and suffering but He is so much more
you cant reduce Jesus to “just a good man” He is The God Man
there is no one that is good, we are all sinners
Jesus alone is without sin, He alone is good
you must receive Him for who he truly is
3. Jesus performs miracles John 10:36-39
Jesus DID heal the sick, Jesus DID heal the blind, Jesus DID feed the hungry, those who were mute could sing, those who were lame could leap up and walk
Jesus unapologetically and emphatically said I AM GOD
and was accused of blasphemy
but He was not lying – HE IS GOD
Jesus is saying if you do not believe my words, then look at my WORKS – the miracles and transformation!
Jesus still works miracles
He sets addicts free, He transforms lives, He heals sick people NOW and TODAY
4. He said I AM SINLESS John 8:46
He says it plainly, openly, clearly, truthfully I AM SINLESS
this claim is without peer
we are all sinners by nature and by choice
by deeds, thoughts and motivations
none of us can say we are without sin
but Jesus can say it
no one is perfect EXCEPT FOR JESUS
no other major world religion has a leader that has made this claim
5. Jesus said that He is God John 10:30-33
I and the Father are ONE
some of you have been lied to – that Jesus never said He was God or that that was something added to His message, a myth added by His followers – BUT Jesus HIMSELF said HE IS GOD repeatedly, openly, publically, unashamedly
Jesus Christ IS God!
6. Jesus forgives sin Mark 2:5-7
each of us needs forgiveness of sin, the burden of guilt, the shame, the condemnation. the quiet moments when we all ponder the regrettable things in our life, the things we’ve done, the things we’ve said, the things we haven’t done and haven’t said… we are all sinners by nature and choice… every other religion will tell you what you can do to deal with your sin, follow this plan and do this. but Jesus says I FORGIVE YOU, I’LL TAKE CARE OF THAT. all we do is we trust Jesus. the penalty for sin is death. Jesus goes to the cross and in the most magnificent demonstration of love and justice in the history world, our God who came down from heaven, to live without sin, substituted himself, to make his enemies friends and to forgive sin.
7. Jesus says He is the ONLY way to heaven John 14:6
not only does Jesus come down from heaven, live without sin, dies for our sin, rises as our saviour, ascends into heaven, and He opens a doorway into the presence of God and the Kingdom of God and invites us to come through it, by trusting in Him. Jesus is exclusive. not all religions save, not all paths lead to eternal life, not all religions are true. there is no salvation and no forgiveness of sins, no reconciliation with God, apart from faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus is exclusive and inclusive. He invites us ALL. no matter what sin you’ve committed, Jesus invites you. no matter what race you are, Jesus invites you. no matter how old you are, jesus invites you. no matter what you’ve believed up to now, Jesus invites you. the door is open. one door. His name is Jesus Christ. everyone is welcome to pass through THAT door. all nations, all genders, all ages, all peoples.
8. Jesus said He would rise from death Mark 8:31
Jesus’ vindication is His resurrection. He said time and time again I AM GOD but his disciples and the people struggled to believe. and Jesus said WAIT AND SEE. The resurrection proves that everything He ever said is absolutely and completely TRUE. Jesus was dead, but 3 days later HE WAS ALIVE! and history has never been the same. a bunch of cowardly disciples became fearless and they didn’t even fear death because they knew that like Jesus they would rise too. the early church started worshipping on sunday, the day of Jesus resurrection. and no one visited grave. we have no idea where the grave really is, it did not become a shine or a place for holy visitation because JESUS BODY WASNT THERE. His resurrection is His vindication.
who is Jesus Christ?
maker of heaven and earth
beginning and end
the son of God
the God Man
our humble servant
man of sorrows
Prince of Peace
the resurrection and the life
the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world
his love is glorious, his love is marvellous, his love is generous, his love is matchless
who do you say Jesus is?
this is the moment where you make a decision.
will you leave here as a Christian or a non Christian? will you resist the grace of God? will you reject the love of Jesus? will you reject his invitation? or will you accept His grace by turning from sin and trusting in Him?
will you give your life to Jesus?
will you repent from your sin, turning from being the god of your own life and trusting in Jesus? do you have a better plan? because there is none.
make the most important decision of your life.
if you’re feeling this in your heart, that is the Holy Spirit prompting you, compelling you, convincing you, that you need to make a change and that you need to respond.
WHO GOD HAS MADE ME TO BE part 7
You have to know you have a divine destiny – before you were born God formed you and called you. You have to know it doesn’t happen by accident – that life is intentional and the choice to say YES to God is up to you.
Vision defines the parameters of our life. Vision points our life in a direction and we build our lives upon that. The call of God isn’t so much about DOING things but it is about BEING the right person that God can use.
How do we become someone that God can use?
Two keys are:
1. we have see God’s Word as the highest authority.
2. we have to see God’s purpose as the highest priority.
A challenge for our generation is to recognize that Jesus is LORD and that He calls us to take up our cross, follow Him and walk like Him.
We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. 1 John 2:3-6
In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. 2 Timothy 2:20-21
If you’re wanting to serve God and be successful in living out our call – be it ministry or in the occupation God has called us to – then our life must be built on His will and His ways. It’s not good enough to want to be used or to have good intentions – it takes action, surrender and life change to build a life God’s way. The key words in 2 Timothy 2 is CLEANSE YOURSELF. YOU make the choice and the change.
The great things God will do through you are going to grow in the soil of persistence, prayer, obedience and sacrifice. That means there will be plenty of plowing and pruning. That’s the way living things grow, whether you’re talking about vegetables or vision.
We have become a complacent generation who have sacrificed holiness for our own preferences.
When it is a matter of our preferences vs His Way and His will we often bow down to the altar of self. steven furtick
That has got to change and die to move forward. There are many examples in the bible where people didn’t progress and their lives and ministry stagnated because of sin and disobedience. While God is a God of grace and transformation and redemption He doesn’t ignore our sin or turn a blind eye. He will root it out and prune us. That is because He isn’t so much interested in our happiness but in our character and our eternity and His Kingdom.
When you’re ignoring God you’re not listening to Him. When you’re choosing self and flesh over God and His ways you’re putting yourself on the throne and chucking Him off. When you’re doing your own thing you’re shutting the door in His face.
Many of the people in the bible underwent major change between the promise and call and the outworking of that call. Abraham called to be Father of the nations – barren and fatherless for a significant portion of his life. Jacob the liar changed into Israel, leader of a nation. Joseph was sold into slavery and jailed injustly but became the saviour of a famine struck Israel. David was called to be king but then spent his years hiding out in caves, running for his life. Peter was called to be a disciple of Jesus but then in shame denied Him, but then rose to be one of the foundational apostles.
Lets look at a real graphic example: turn to Joshua 5
This chapter goes into the moments AFTER crossing the jordan and BEFORE attacking jerico. And it involves something I NEVER thought I’d talk about in housegroup. Circumcision. Yikes! The israelites crossed the jordan river under the leadership of joshua in the most miraculous way. They’re living out their divine destiny. They’re embarking on the adventure of taking the promised land. But there is that one vital thing that had to happen first…
Joshua 5:2 while israel was camped at Gilgal the Lord said “Joshua, make some flint knives and circumcise the rest of the Israelite men and boys”
In the NT the same ritual takes place on a different level. God is more interested in our internal, spiritual condition. So the apostle Paul talks about a “circumcision of the heart”, one that isn’t merely “outward and physical” (romans 2:28-29). This circumcision involves God cutting away everything in our lives that doesn’t bring glory to him. Stripping away our pride and self reliance. Removing our rebellion and tendency to choose our own preferences over His ways. Teaching us to trust in Him alone.
Before we can claim the territory for God that He has promised us – before we can live out our call to the absolute fullest that God dreams, our hearts will have to be circumcised. We have to go under the knife. We have to choose to take some costly steps of obedience to really follow Christ in audacious faith.
The lesson from the circumcision of joshua’s generation is equally important but a little more subtle: until you humble yourself and submit your heart to God’s process of renewal, you cant go forward into the next victory He has planned for your life.
Before God can bring His promises to pass in your life, He has to strip away all the stuff that keeps you from trusting Him wholeheartedly. And that stuff is on the inside. God’s invisible work in you prepares you for His visible works through you.
When God comes toward you with the flint knife remember that He’s not out to hurt you. He’s aligning your desires with his desires so that He can accomplish the impossible in your life.
I bring this up because I want you to live your best life. To achieve all you dream of. To live under the blessing and favour of God. To have all the doors that can be opened opened. Lets not be ignorant and stick our head in the sand and pretend we can live our lives our ways. Not realistic.
I know by experience that God will orchestrate experiences and circumstances to root out sin and change us. He is determined in His process and unrelenting in His love.
Hosea 6:1 Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.
Lamentations 1:5 The LORD has brought her grief because of her many sins. Her children have gone into exile, captive before the foe.
Following God does not guarantee a crisis-free life. These are opportunities to strengthen us and refine us. Sometimes they may be discipline orientated. Sometimes not. Regardless embrace hard times as times of strengthening. This process is the place where you lay down your pride and learn to rely totally on God. Most importantly, the process is the way we grow to know God. And that’s really the whole point.
When you really understand God’s work in your, your natural desire will be to surrender your life to Him. To obey Him unconditionally. That posture of surrender will result in radical steps of faith, and a confidence that flows from a heart that’s fully devoted to God’s plans.
My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me;
the one whose walk is blameless will minister to me. Psalm 101:6
LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?
The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; Psalm 15:1-2
Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, Psalm 24:3-4
Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire?
Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?"
Those who walk righteously
and speak what is right,
who reject gain from extortion
and keep their hands from accepting bribes,
who stop their ears against plots of murder
and shut their eyes against contemplating evil—
they are the ones who will dwell on the heights,
whose refuge will be the mountain fortress.
Their bread will be supplied,
and water will not fail them.
Your eyes will see the king in his beauty
and view a land that stretches afar.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Ephesians 4:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2
WHO GOD HAS MADE ME TO BE PART 6b – I AM CHALLENGED
So the first part is hearing and recognizing the call… followed by the process… to get to the promise… the time between the promise and the living it.
Before we get talking about the process I think there are a few DISTICTIONS to make.
There are people…
1. who are Christians and know that they are to live their lives FOR God but don’t have a clear plan or defined calling… their process is to FIND where they are going
2. who are Christians and know where they are going and what they want to do
- Take a moment to think about which you might be?
- Does anyone want to share?
- Do you think someone can change what they want to be? Do you think their WHERE and WHAT is forever?
So one thing that is essential that we “get” is that sometimes great time can pass between the call and the living that call. During this time God is shaping us and forming us and dealing with the crud within us. He is renewing our mind and making us into a vessel of honour (2 Tim 2:20-21)
Take for example Saul and David.
Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else. 1 Samuel 9:2
They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others. Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man the LORD has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.” 1 Samuel 10:23-24
When Saul was chosen king he was the most handsome and stand out guy in the nation. He had all the gifts and talents and personality. Samuel anointed him and he immediately began ruling as king of all of Israel. Yet he ended up failing as king and turning away from God.
“While king saul was truly the best man Israel had to offer when they demanded a king, his heart had not been groomed through testing before he assumed the throne. As king, saul was entrusted with a measure of anointing to lead the armies of Israel to victory and shepherd the people. Yet without the strength of character that only comes by winning private battles, these public victories exposed the previously hidden weakness of saul’s heart towards God. That weakness, combined with his growing appetite for favour of man, led him to bring glory to himself and disobey the Lord.” Bill Johnson – Strengthen Yourself In The Lord
David however was anointed and then spent about 14 years in “training”. In those training years he endured more difficulty, persecution and rejection that many of us face in a lifetime. He probably didn’t expect it to take so long for him to be king. God didn’t want another king saul and so took His time to mould David into a king and man after His own heart.
- What events in davids life can you think of that shaped him?
- Just for a moment put yourself in david’s shoes: What kind of things would you be thinking AT THE TIME?
- How do you think he kept motivated to go forward?
- How can we apply this to our lives?
- Can any of you see events or circumstances in your life that at first glance just appear HARD and CHALLENGING but on second look you can see God at work?
- How can we keep ourselves motivated to press in?
- What makes us want to give up?
- What happens if we give up or have given up? Do you think that disqualifies us?
Joseph is another man whose course looks crazy when you look back at the call and the living out of the call. As a young man he dreamed of leadership and destiny but first had to endure the rejection of his brothers, to the extreme – they sold him into slavery – where he was promoted and then falsely accused and sent to prison for many many years. Then when it looked like the light at the end of the tunnel he is forgotten for more years. Over 17 years pass in Egypt. And then SUDDENLY he is promoted again and is living his dream.
I read these interesting verses in psalm 105 the other week while thinking more about The Process….”He called down famine on the land and destroyed all their supplies of food; and he sent a man before them— Joseph, sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the LORD proved him true.” Psalm 105:16-19
Until what he foretold came to pass, until the Word of the Lord, until his dreams of leadership and destiny, until the Lord proved him true… until the right time… until Joseph was ready and the times were ready. There was a bigger picture.
Who else in the bible can you think of that had a PROCESS between the promise and the living out the call?
Elisha’s process between the call and the living the call was to serve Elijah.
Joshua’s process between the promise of the Promised Land and the crossing over the Jordan River was to spend 40 years in the wilderness with a generation who had to die.
So we can see a pattern….
Even Jesus had process. He didn’t begin His public until He was 30.
Process can be hard.
In the process we have to press in and be faithful and motivated and growing.
What lessons do you think we learn IN the PROCESS?
There are lessons to be learned in the process. Lessons about ourselves, lessons about how to work with others, lessons about how to relate to God.
Process isn’t just about skills its also about character.
Process is all part of it. Its not less important that the destination and the success.
God will open the right doors at the right time. “Its not about knowing who holds the right keys but its about knowing the KEEPER of the keys”– Peter Robertson. God can promote us at the right time. But I also believe He will also hold us back if we are not surrendered and transformed. God is full of grace but He is also holy. He uses flawed human beings but that doesn’t excuse compromise and a heart that isn’t fully leaning to God… God wants us to be intentionally following Him not intentionally following our own self and self desires.
So how do we navigate the process?
What are some keys you could use in the PROCESS to get you to the DESINTATION of WHO YOU WANT TO BE?
Here are a few keys that I’ve used in my life:
- recognize that WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW is your NOW! And serve God in it! You are called for TODAY not just something out there in TOMORROW land. Be faithful today
- recognize that there is a process to that dream – it will take obedience and growth and change and transformation and prayer. So get into that. Set goals and live your life leaning towards that dream. Are there things you can do today? Eg if you want to be a worship leader then join the worship team…
- get into the Word – make it your life study to know God and His ways and His will and learn to hear His voice – become a person after His heart (like David) get into the Word and learn the promises of God – this is what you will live by!
- be involved in a church – get stuck in and serve
- surround yourself with good people who love jesus – people who can speak into your life, people who you’re mates with and people you can speak into
- develop your passion for the call – read books, listen to podcasts, get skilled etc
- Deal with the issues… if things keep on coming up (relationship issues, money problems, insecurities, authority, approval of man, repeated sin) then deal with them. Don’t let them hinder or entrap you. Don’t beat yourself up though about your mistakes. David married Bathsheba who is the mother of Solomon – the wisest king, and is in the linage of jesus. Learn from your mistakes and let them shape you for good. Disclaimer: that’s not licence for compromise but we are human and we all make mistakes and we all have vulnerabilities. Lets get real, it happens. But how you RESPOND to that is what counts. Repent and reform.
- be aware distractions and dry times will come. This is where having an established relationship with God will help. This is where knowing His promises will help. This is where having a good group of people (friends/housegroup) who can encourage you and inspire you and walk with you and challenge you helps.
- write the vision down – get a clear idea of what you’re called to do
- have fun and enjoy your life…
The great things God will do through you are going to grow in the soil of persistence, prayer, obedience and sacrifice. That means there will be plenty of plowing and pruning. That’s the way living things grow, whether you’re talking about vegetables or vision. The process is a time of strengthening. The process is the place where you lay down your pride and learn to rely totally on God. Most importantly, the process is the way we grow to know God. And that’s really the whole point. Steven Furtick
As we celebrate easter Sunday today I thought it would be great to open the bible and see what it has to say about the resurrection and how that is relevant for us today. We’re going to be reading from Matthew 28 if you want to turn there and stick in a finger in it until we get to it….
I know some of you have been blest to be Christians for a long time and I know also that some of you here are newbies to the Christian thing – but it doesn’t matter if you’ve being a Christian for 50 years or 5 minutes – or even if you’re just asking questions at this stage – this is what we build our life on – who jesus is and what jesus did – we can never tire of hearing about what Jesus did for us upon the cross and it is good to remind ourselves of the power of His promises and the reality of His work in our lives.
My goal today is to anchor us firmly to the reality of the resurrection and refresh our hearts to what that means for us right here today and that we would leave here today inspired and challenged – that we would grasp more of the reality of how BIG God is and that He has the power to fulfil all His promises…
The resurrection is the proof of the power for the promises of God.
So let’s jump right into what happened:
On Friday we remembered how Jesus bled and died for us – how He suffered and bore the punishment – pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities – note the small word there FOR – it was FOR us that Jesus died. Not for His own wrongdoing but for OUR wrongdoing.
Now even the disciples didn’t see it pan out this way –this was not their plan A. Plan A for the disciples was for Jesus to go PACHING HERE IS MY GLORY (you might have had to see that bit to get the paching!) The last thing they expected was that jesus would be executed as a common criminal on the cross. His death ended their hope. They expected him to declare himself rightful king and messiah and to kick the romans out and enter in an age of glory for Israel. Death on the cross wasn’t part of the plan.
Their hero was dead. Their friend was dead. Their leader was dead.
Their Saturday sucked. On Saturday all hope was lost. But on Sunday we know that nothing is impossible! We have the joy of knowing the end of the story but they were broken and grieving and shocked.
Let’s jump right into Matthew 28 to find out what happens next:
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you. 8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. Greetings, he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshipped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me. Matthew 28:1-10
That is worth a Woohooo!
Jesus appeared not only to the women near the tomb but to all the disciples, including Thomas who when he heard that jesus had risen from the dead did a tui “yeah right” and jesus got Thomas to touch him and feel the wounds. Jesus also appeared to various other “disciples” including a group of 500 at a time.
Some say that jesus rose just as a spirit, or that Jesus was just unconscious and not really dead dead dead on good Friday. But as I said, Jesus could be touched, and he ate, though he also had supernatural abilities such as appearing in a locked room etc. His body bore some of the scars from his crucifixion but a majority of the wounds were healed. And I mean healed without 6 months in intensive care…
The disciple Peter sums it up this way: This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. Acts 2:23-24
But the facts are: Jesus died. And Jesus rose. And is alive now. Seated in heaven ruling and reigning beside His Father, preparing to come again.
“Jesus lived the life we could not live and died the death we should have died and given the gift we can never earn.” Mark Driscoll
The promises of the Word and the purchases of the cross are shown to be TRUE and REAL by the power of the resurrection!
The cross purchased our salvation.
The cross purchased our forgiveness.
The cross purchased our access to draw near to God.
The cross purchased our family status – before we were rejected guilty strangers and now because of the cross, because of the sacrifice of Jesus, we are now beloved children of God, we’re part of the whanau now.
But as awesome as the cross is and all that jesus did there upon it – I always think its more AWESOMER that he didn’t stay dead, that He rose from death, defeated death, and is alive. Right now ALIVE!
The Resurrection assures us of God’s ability to save us.
It assures us of God’s forgiveness. The Resurrection assures us that we can be changed and forgiven and born again.
It assures us of God’s power and of God’s ultimate triumph.
It declares loudly and beyond shadow of a doubt that YES God has the power to remove the guilt and stain of sin from us – that we can be born again and rescued and draw near to God, whereas before we were guilty and sinful – it’s an inside change, an inside transformation that before you experience it you wonder if this can really be too good to be true….
It shows us that God has the power to do the things He promises.
Strength to overcome temptation.
Empowerment to serve Him.
The resurrection is the guarantee that God can perform the promises of the Word and the work of the cross in our lives.
Look to the cross and the resurrection for the POWER demonstrated there.
But the Holy Spirit proved that Jesus is the powerful Son of God, because he was raised from death. Romans 1:4 CEV
The resurrection is the PROOF that we need that God CAN DO THOSE THINGS THAT HE PROMISES.
But what if you’re like most people… that you need some proof that the proof of the promise happened… what about proof of the resurrection… is there evidence that it happened? I’m glad you asked me that…
Dr. Frank Morrison (a rationalistic lawyer) decided to take three years off from his law practice in order to try to disprove the resurrection of Jesus Christ. After three years of intense study, he found that the sheer weight of the evidence compelled him to conclude that Jesus Christ actually did rise from the dead. As a consequence he wrote the famous book entitled "Who Moved the Stone?"
Evidence Factoid #1 The first witnesses are WOMEN (shock!)
The fact that the resurrection accounts in the gospels include women make them more reliable because no one trying to sell a cover up in those days would have relied on the testimony of women. A woman’s testimony in a court of law was not considered valid except in very rare cases.
Evidence Factoid #2 CONSPIRACY THEORY
Matthew 28:11-15 has a fascinating insight into some of the cover ups and conspiracies by the religious leaders aka Jesus’ enemies…
11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble. 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.
Don’t you love a good conspiracy theory!
But let’s think rationally. Do you think the guards would have been “rewarded” for really losing a body? To fall asleep on the job would have been punishment and perhaps death for the guards. One way a guard was put to death was by being stripped of his clothes and then burned alive in a fire started with his garments. If it was not apparent which soldier had failed in his duty, then lots were drawn to see which one would be punished with death for the guard unit’s failure. Certainly the entire unit would not have fallen asleep with that kind of threat over their heads.
The guards had witnessed the earthquake and the angel rolling away the massive stone and perhaps even peeked in to see the empty tomb… they went back to the chief priests and told them everything that had happened EVERYTHING… and the priests made the call to cover it up rather than punish the guards for losing a body… interesting…
Evidence Factoid #3 The Disciples Died for Jesus
As we said earlier, if any enemies of the Christians or of Jesus had stolen the body, they would have produced it to stop the disciples preaching and people becoming christians. They would have put it on the news and tweeted their hearts out… They would have been out there saying: "Wait! We moved the body, see, He didn’t rise from the grave"? They would have paraded the body around as proof that Jesus was a fraud.
But let’s play along and suggest what if the DISCIPLES of Jesus stole the body? First off, they had no reason to do this because by starting a religion in opposition to the Jewish customs was not the cool thing to do.
But more importantly, all but one of the disciples lived their lives for Jesus and His church and out of the main 12, 11 of them suffered martyrs’ deaths and not one of them said “stop we made it all up. It was all peters idea!” None of the disciples recanted their belief that Jesus had risen from the dead. The 12th disciple, who was not martyred was john and they did TRY to kill him by boiling him a huge pot of oil, but couldn’t kill him. He was then was exiled to Patmos where he wrote the book of revelation. But it wasn’t just the 12 disciples who faced death because of their faith – ordinary Christians were persecuted and locked up and thrown to lions and stoned to death and killed because of Jesus. Every effort was made to stop the disciples and early believers but they kept on believing and talking about it. And the church kept on growing.
Another point to note is that right after Jesus’ death the disciples locked themselves away in the upper room, but after His resurrection they were bold, fearless and out there on the streets working miracles and preaching the gospel. In other words, if they had created a lie, they would certainly not have lived for it or died for it. They lived and died because the resurrection is REAL.
Dr. Simon Greenleaf (a very famous Harvard University professor of Law) proclaimed: "According to the laws of legal evidence used in courts of law, there is more evidence for the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ than for just about any other event in history."
The only possible reason why early Christianity began and took the shape it did is that the tomb really was empty and that people really did meet Jesus, alive again. This is what we believe in. There IS proof of the resurrection.
The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of the Christian faith. Without it, there is no gospel message, no saviour, no supernatural power. There is no hope of us going to heaven when we die, and no hope of drawing near to God, no forgiveness of sins. This is absolutely essential to Christian belief. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:14 and 17, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is useless and your faith is in vain…And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” Black and white. If Jesus didn’t rise from death then this is all useless and we’re all still guilty and separated from God. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead then He’s not who He says He is and its all for nothing. But the good news is He HAS been raised! The resurrection is REAL!
Jesus opened a door through His death for us to come near to God again.
God himself was pleased to live fully in his Son. And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God. You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent. Colossians 1:19-22 CEV
Because of Him we can be free from sin and guilt, we can be friends with God and be confident and assured of where we’ll spend eternity.
Don’t you love how sometimes it seems that paul gets so excited that he forgets to breathe and include full stops… here is another one: He prays that we would know “what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.”
The CEV puts it this way:
I want you to know about the great and mighty power that God has for us followers. It is the same wonderful power he used 20when he raised Christ from death and let him sit at his right side in heaven. 21There Christ rules over all forces, authorities, powers, and rulers. He rules over all beings in this world and will rule in the future world as well.
God is at work in our lives – with great and mighty power – demonstrating that same power He used to raise Jesus from the grave. God is at work in us to heal us, set us free, transform us, guide us, give us His peace and to empower us to show the world that He is real. Through unbelief and disbelief we can sometimes live far below what the cross and resurrection has won for us. Let’s raise our expectations and our outliving to the level of the power demonstrated in the resurrection!
The resurrection is the proof of the power for every promise of God.
Any answer and any need you have CAN be answered in Jesus. He HAS the power!
Now to Him Who, by His power that is at work within us, is able to carry out His purpose and do superabundantly, far over and above all that we dare ask or think, infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams—Ephesians 3:20
Paul goes on to say in Romans 10:9: That if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Jesus lived the life we could never live and died the death we deserved and gives us the gift we can never earn.
Will you accept that gift today?
As the band comes up for a closing song in worship lets consider our response.
How do we respond to what Jesus has done on the cross? How do we live responding to His great love poured out on the cross?
Will you put your faith in the one who undeniably rose from the dead?
Let’s raise our level of expectation in the promises of God. Let’s have greater confidence in God to move and work in our lives.
Today… what impossibility do you need God to touch? 2000 years ago He declared the reality of the power in His promises. Do you need healing? He is our healer. Do you need provision? He is the God who provides. Do you need hope and comfort? He is the one who calls us to come and find strength and hope in His love. Do you need salvation? He is our Saviour. Do you need a new start and forgiveness? Nothing is impossible for God. He is alive today and forever more!
come Holy Spirit
breathe in me
breathe on me
breathe through me
i stand here
awed and amazed
drawn by your grace and glory
the King and the Lamb who was slain
all for my sins beaten and pierced, crushed and punished
come Holy Spirit
that i may honour You with my words and who i am
that i may know You and make You known
breathe upon me Lord
i bow before You, awed and amazed
Jesus is praying
Peter’s a sleeping
Judas is betraying
But Sunday’s comin’
The council is conspiring
The crowd is vilifying
They don’t even know
That Sunday’s comin’
The disciples are running
Like sheep without a shepherd
Peter is denying
But they don’t know
That Sunday’s a comin’
The Romans beat my Jesus
They robe Him in scarlet
They crown him with thorns
But they don’t know
That Sunday’s comin’
See Jesus walking to Calvary
His blood dripping
His body stumbling
And His spirit’s burdened
But you see, it’s only Friday
The world’s winning
People are sinning
And evil’s grinning
The soldiers nail my Savior’s hands
To the cross
They nail my Savior’s feet
To the cross
And then they raise Him up
Next to criminals
But let me tell you something
The disciples are questioning
What has happened to their King
And the Pharisees are celebrating
That their scheming
Has been achieved
But they don’t know
It’s only Friday
He’s hanging on the cross
Feeling forsaken by His Father
Left alone and dying
Can nobody save Him?
But Sunday’s comin’
The earth trembles
The sky grows dark
My King yields His spirit
Hope is lost
Death has won
Sin has conquered
and Satan’s just a laughing
Jesus is buried
A soldier stands guard
And a rock is rolled into place
But it’s Friday
It is only Friday
Sunday is a comin’!
happy good friday everyone!
this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. "But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. Acts 2:23-24 NSAB
The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead— whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Saviour that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. Acts 5:30-31
In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead. Acts 17:20-31
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God, by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 1:1-4
But the Holy Spirit proved that Jesus is the powerful Son of God, because he was raised from death. Romans 1:4 CEV
And [as to His divine nature] according to the Spirit of holiness was openly designated the Son of God in power [in a striking, triumphant and miraculous manner] by His resurrection from the dead, even Jesus Christ our Lord (the Messiah, the Anointed One). Romans 1:4 AMP
That if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1:18-23
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fulness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— Colossians 1:13-22
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. Hebrews 1:3
God’s Son has all the brightness of God’s own glory and is like him in every way. By his own mighty word, he holds the universe together. After the Son had washed away our sins, he sat down at the right side of the glorious God in heaven. Hebrews 1:3 CEV
He is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God's] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power. When He had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high, Hebrews 1:3 AMP
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade— kept in heaven for you, 1 peter 1:3-4