(This is today’s message delivered to God’s People in Titus, AL.)
Today is Resurrection Sunday, AKA… Easter. It is a day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. His resurrection was the fulfillment & culmination of Jesus’ life, ministry, & death. God was HEAVILY involved in all the events that saved everyone who believes. God does not leave our salvation to chance… our sanctification to chance (Ro 8:29)… or our rewards to chance (Ro 8:18). Let’s read Acts 4:27-28…
For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod & Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles & the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand & your plan had predestined to take place.
Don’t let the “P” word upset you. There is nothing in God’s Word that can hurt or mislead you in any way. What I want us to do is u’stand what God did on Resurrection Sun & why. Here’s what Ac 4 means… God did not leave YOUR salvation to chance! Being sovereign & providential, He made sure everyone did… of their own choice… what He purposed to happen SO THAT you would be saved!
Acts 4 is the reason we come to church 1 day of every 7 to worship God! We show Him our gratitude for saving us by singing & praising & living for His glory. We give $ AND of ourselves b/c Jesus saved us from God’s wrath! I’m glad our salvation wasn’t left to the roll of the dice or chance or my human machinations. So let’s examine our salvation closer…
In John 10 & 15 it is recorded Jesus said…
10:11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 14… I know my own & my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me & I know the Father; & I lay down my life for the sheep. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, b/c I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, & I have authority to take it up again.
15:9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, & that your joy may be full. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.
What Jesus did is the reason we worship EVERY Sunday… or why we SHOULD worship every Sunday. But some may be so far removed from this truth they have forgotten, don’t care, or may be ungrateful. Ingratitude may have made its way into our hearts.
Why do we worship? Jesus, God’s Son… the 2nd Person of the Trinity… the one who died for us… always has & always will exist. His name is above all names. He is the Great I AM. At His name every knee will bow & every tongue confess that He is God. He is the Alpha & Omega, the Beginning & End, the First & Last.
He is omnipotent, omniscient, & omnipresent. Jesus is the one mediator between God & man. There is no other way to God but through Jesus. There is forgiveness in no other name BUT Jesus.
He gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, fed thousands, raised the dead, walked on water, cast out demons, calmed storms, & made the lame to walk. He taught with authority. He confounded the religious leaders of the day. Demons feared him yet children clamored to sit on his lap & sinners sought him out. There has never been a man like Jesus!
Jesus was born of a virgin… therefore sinless. He lived w/out committing one sin in thought, word, or deed. He kept God’s law perfectly. Thus he was the only perfect sacrifice to atone for the sin all who believe. He was crucified on a cross… died… was buried… & resurrected on the 3rd day. No one took his life, he willingly laid it down… he CHOSE to die & by His will took it up again (Jn 10:18). He came back to life because He CHOSE to come back to life! Only God can do these things…
Think about what Jesus did on the cross: He paid the penalty for sin. Think! Our sin is so great that the penalty is GOD’S WRATH FOR ETERNITY. ETERNITY! That means Jesus paid my eternal sin debt. Not only me… but everyone in this room. Not only everyone in this room, but everyone who has ever lived who believed on Him. NOW THINK!
On the cross, Jesus took on & paid God’s ETERNAL WRATH… think eternal damnation in hell… for everyone who has, does, or ever will believe. But that’s not all! The ETERNAL wrath of God toward every sinner who believes was compressed into just 3 hours. BUT THAT ISN’T ALL!
After all he suffered, God did not comfort Him. God forsook Him completely, absolutely, & utterly. Jesus was cut off from God… His Eternal Father. He died alone, broken, & naked. And He did so willingly… for all who believe. ** Pause **
THIS is what troubled Jesus so much in the Garden of Gethsemane. THIS is what caused so much anxiety that he sweat great drops of blood. THIS is why he asked for prayer from the disciples. THIS is why Jesus asked The Father, “If it is possible let this cup pass from me!”
It didn’t bother him he was being unjustly accused. Jesus was not afraid of people spitting on or laughing at him. It wasn’t troubling to endure being beaten beyond recognition. He could handle the torture of a being scourged with a whip, a crown of thorns, & nails driven thru his hands & feet. What brought fear to him was God’s eternal wrath … without His comfort.
Do we get it? He took what we deserve to give us what we do not deserve. Thus, C’ians are not only forgiven… but Christ’s perfection is imputed to us. If all God did was forgive our sin, we would still be a sinner… just forgiven. We still could not enter God’s presence. We must be PERFECT to enter God’s presence. As Jesus’ righteous perfection is placed on us we are not only forgiven, but righteously PERFECT! THIS is why we worship… EVERY Sunday! But let’s keep going…
We begin now, & will spend eternity… praising & worshipping Jesus. Because of Jesus these are the words of angels in heaven… (Rev 4:8-11)
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was & is & is to come!” And whenever the living creatures give glory & honor & thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever & ever, the 24 elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne & worship him who lives forever & ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord & God, to receive glory & honor & power, for you created all things, & by your will they existed & were created.”
After His resurrection, He appeared to many… 500 at one time (1 Cor 15:6)… then ascended to heaven from the Mt. of Olives. One day he will return the same way he left. His foot will touch down on the Mt. of Olives… He will judge the nations… & destroy the adversary once & for all. (PAUSE) What does Jesus offer? Turn to Mt 11:28…
Come to me, all who labor & are heavy laden, & I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, & learn from me, for I am gentle & lowly in heart, & you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, & my burden is light.”
What does that look like for us? How does Jesus transform us? Turn to 2 Cor 4:5…
For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord (HE is our life, Col 3:4), with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (“Let light shine out of darkness”: Each salvation is the same power it took to create the universe!).
7 But we have this treasure (Gospel, Jesus) in jars of clay (Body), to show that the surpassing power belongs to God & not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh (This is why we worship EVERY Sunday… & indeed EVERY day!).
16 So we do not lose heart (We u’stand God’s purpose for life events. There IS joy in adversity). Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day (Mt 11). 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us (Each event we encounter AND live for God’s glory has an eternal result! What is it?)… an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
That passage is encouraging… in this life & THE ONE TO COME! Because of Jesus the comfort He PROMISED (Mt 11) is applied to all that come to Him. Not only that… God’s power is manifested in us. Not only that… each day we are given God’s strength to meet whatever comes our way.
Not only that… we do not lose heart! Not only that… treasures are being laid up & increasing in heaven for us to enjoy forever! Is that a reason to praise Him with His people today? Every week? Every day?
Christians: Take heart! Be of good courage! You are not alone & never will be. Keep going to him every morning… noon… & night!
It is not an accident you have come here today. By God’s design he’s reminding you of giving you the greatest gift that He could give… His Only Son. And how are we to respond? By joining w/ family to adore him weekly… by giving of ourselves for His glory…
 Ro 3:22, 4:11
 Is 52:14