MOUNT HOPE AND WAUZEKA METHODIST CHURCHES
JOB SPOKE ON JUNE 17th and it is listed on this website as
"Job in the Pulpit"
JOB SPOKE ON JUNE 17th and it is listed on this website as
"Job in the Pulpit"
GOD OF THE NEW TESTAMENT Sunday, June 17, 2018
Job gave the sermon and you may watch "Job in the Pulpit"
listed on this website.
Last week Dad spoke about the God of the Old Testament. Dad asked you all if the God of the Old Testament was the same God as the God in the New Testament. The sermon last week talked about how Richard Dawkins an atheist, who believes that the God of the Old Testament is a big selfish bully. Dad read to you several scriptures out the Old Testament.
We read from Micah about a God who delights in Mercy and is compassionate.
We read from Proverbs about a father who disciplines the son that he loves. Dad talked about how we expect and unruly child to be disciples, yet we get upset and think that God is mean and cruel if we are disciplined. That is called a doubled standard.
The book of Joel said God is gracious and compassionate and slow to anger. It did not say that God did not get angry, but that he was slow to anger. It also said God does send calamity into our lives but that he does not want to do this.
Lamentations says God brings grief but he shows compassion and unfailing love.
The Old Testament is full of God’s love for his people. Yes, it does show times when bad things happen to good people, read the book that I was named after. But through everything God wants you to know that he loves you. The Old Testament shows us how full of sin people are. Even Godly people fail time and time again.
Mose was a murdered. Noah got drunk and embarrassed himself. David had an affair with another man’s wife, then had that man killed. Abraham was a liar. Jonah ran away from God. Solomon the wisest man to ever live took too many wives that turned his heart away from God.
The Old Testament is full of broken people who God used. It is full of people who are full of sin and need a savior. That is where the New Testament comes into view. The Old Testament shows our sinful nature, even the Godly men , and shows us a need for our savior.
God’s love is poured out onto his people in the New Testament through his Son Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament we see how God is compassionate, slow to anger, and eager to show Mercy. In the New Testament we see the fulfillment of that promise.
God in the Old Testament says I promise to be faithful to my people and I will send to them a Messiah to free them. Our scripture today comes from John.
Scripture: John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not die but have everlasting life.” That is the god of the New Testament. He is the same as the Old Testament. A loving, compassionate, merciful, God who longs for his children to not die.
Remember the scripture Dad used last week to finish his Sermon? It was from Ezekiel.
“Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declared the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live! ( Ezekiel 18:31-32)
You see God is unchanging. In the Old Testament God loves you and wants you to repent and live. In the New Testament God wants you to live and knows your sin will be the death of you. God the Father sends the Son so that you may live and not die!
My Father sent me to do his work. For those of you who were here remember that I volunteered to do this. I willingly stood here in my Father’s place. Jesus Christ willingly did the Father’s work and hung in your place on the cross. God of the Old Testament is calling for you to repent and live. God of the New Testament is offering you a way to live.
The Father sends the Son. The Son speaks the Fathers words.
“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into Life.” John 5:24.
God is unchanging and remains the same in the Old Testament, and New Testament. God wants you to repent and live and he sent his only Son Jesus Christ so that you may have eternal life.
Today we have been talking about the Old and the New Testament. The Father and the Son who are two but one. Today is Father’s Day. Your Heavenly Father is unchanging. He is a God of compassion and mercy. He always has been compassionate and merciful, but your Heavenly father is, that’s what our scripture tells us from the Old and the New!
So what will you choose to do today? Will you choose to live or chose to die? Will you believe a lie that God is a big selfish bully? Or will you choose to follow and love a Heavenly Father your God of the Old and the New, that is compassionate and merciful.?
God of the Old Testament Sunday, June 10, 2018
Today we are going to talk about the God of the Old Testament. Anyone out there think that the God of the Old Testament is different than the God of the New Testament? That maybe God changed or something? Now, I want to make it very clear from the beginning of my sermon today that the God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New Testament. But there are some people who do not think this way. When they read the Old Testament and read about all the wars, murders, sacrifices, laws, commandments, and fierce punishment that is inflicted by God they think that God is different. They think that it is a flaw of the Bible and it shows inconsistences in what Christians believe is a loving God.
Friday, I finally had a day that I thought I was going to get outside and do some fun work. I had hoped to try to mow some hay. This week had a challenging time for me and I had some questions and frustrations that I wanted to think about and talk to God about. Working outside is my place to vent and chill and is my time to think and talk to God. Three times I got ready and went outside to work. Each time I went outside and started the clouds cut loose and I got rained out. I was stuck inside so I went to my computer to write. I figured I had the time and needed to do it anyway. I was blocked had nothing to write about so I stared at the screen. I had an idea I wanted to work through for our MYF, so I thought I would read the story in the Old Testament. I sat down and started reading out of 2nd Samuel. Then all I did was just read the Bible from there. It was nice to just read. But as I ran out of time and got literally called away by my phone, my head was really spinning. The books of Samuel and Kings are full of war, revenge, murder, and genocide. After reading it I said to Emily that night I see why people think the Old Testament is such a bad book.
It was that idea that strummed around in my head for the next day. And it reminded me of a quote that Richard Dawkins, who is a renowned atheist who is very openly against God. This is what he says about God of the Old Testament. “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
This does not paint a pretty nice picture of who God is. SO I wanted to find some scripture about God’s character in the Old Testament alone and see what the Old Testament had to say about God.
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19)
Micah says that God is forgiving and compassionate. Apparently Dawkins didn’t read the book of Micah.
You could say well the Old Testament shows a ton of God punishing his children and inflicting them with cruel consequences for their disobedience. But let me ask you this question. How many of you are parents? Okay so this should be an easy follow up question, how many of you have children? Okay good it was the same people that raised their hand the first time. How many of you have ever witnessed a child who is undisciplined? I want to tell you the story of Ethan Couch, a 16year old form Texas who stole beer with his friends got hammered drunk, then crashed his vehicle and killed four people. IN Texas a vehicle manslaughter can get you 20 years in prison. Couch killed 4 people. DO the math. You know what he sentence was? 10 years’ probation for killing 4 people while drunk. His lawyers argued that Ethan had Affluenza a term which means his wealthy parents pretty much let him get away with anything. His phycologist testified this in court. ““He never learned that sometimes you don’t get your way,” Gary Miller, a psychologist assigned to Couch said in court. “He had the cars and he had the money. He had freedoms that no young man would be able to handle.” A little discipline could have saved the lives of these four people. Discipline is good, it means to teach and train. What does the Old Testament have to say about our God and discipline?
My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline
and do not resent his rebuke,
because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.
Discipline sometimes hurts, but it makes you think about how your actions affect others. It causes us to think and feel guilt and shame for our actions. How many times as parents have you said, “you just sit there and think about what you have done!” The God of the Old Testament is the same as in the New, but he shows his love by making his children think about their actions by feeling the wrath of punishment. They were disciplined for their sin. That doesn’t mean God is malicious as Dawkins says, it shows of a God’s love who is slow to anger and compassionate.
Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
Who knows? He may turn and have pity
and leave behind a blessing -
grain offerings and drink offerings
for the LORD your God.
Yes the book of Joel does say that God sends calamity into our lives, but God is slow to do so. Sometimes those times when our faith is rocked and we are in the middle of suffering it forces us to look back up to God. Our moments of suffering are meant to be short lived, but they also cause us to look forward to the future.
For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men. (Lam 3:31-33)
The God of the Old Testament may seem harsh, and when your going through your own personal suffering you may feel like God is too harsh too you as well, but scripture tells us a different story. Though God does bring grief he doesn’t bring it willingly. Let me explain it this way. When Job was born I was excited, I was a first time Dad and my firstborn was son. I was so pumped, I could not wait to call and tell my parents and friends that I was a Dad. It was such a great feeling. When Malachi was born, it took everything I had to call Julie and my mom. I called another friend Adam to tell all my other friends. It was not easy and I was not excited to make that call. It is the same when God allows for suffering to enter our lives. Sure, God allows it but God is not eager and excited to allow it like a proud father.
The God of the Old Testament is a loving God, who allows for his children to suffer in their sin. There is a quote in the movie “The Shack” that I feel sums up the God of the Old Testament. The main character Sam is talking to God and says, “that is where your wrath comes in, when you destroy all you enemies and evil.” God replies with this, “I sorry my wrath? Sin has its own way of punishing.” The Old Testament shows the natural outcome of what sin produces. Sin produces evil and seeks to destroy. In our sin we fall deeper and deeper and farther and farther away from God.
Yet Ezekiel says it best.
Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD . Repent and live! (Ezek 18:31-32)
Repent and live. That is all that needs to be done. Repent and live. God wants you to get rid of the sin in your life, get a new heart, a new spirit! God takes no pleasure in anyone dying in their sin, yet here rejoices when a sinner repents. And the God of the Old Testament set up a way for you and I to repent and live through his son Jesus Christ who is revealed to us in the New Testament. Come next week and listen to my son, preach about the God of the Old Testament showing his love through his son in the New Testament.
Repent and Live, Lets Pray
It’s True SUNDAY, JUNE 3, 2018
1. Did Jesus really die?
2. Was He buried?
3. Was the tomb empty?
4. Did he appear to the disciples?
a. Lied about it?
c. It’s true!
5. Did the resurrection really happen? Is it Legend or True?
Alright I’m back to discuss the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We have worked through this process over quite a few weeks discussing several topics. We started off with the question of “Did Jesus really die?” Throughout that sermon I explained how by historical evidence of a Roman crucifixion and through modern medical technology we know that without a doubt that Jesus Christ physical body was dead. Then we talked about his burial. Archeology shows a burial ground outside of Jerusalem in history showed that it was common to bury Jewish criminals outside of the city. Also, the fact that he was buried in a rich man who was well known tomb. Then we discussed the fact of the empty tomb. It was discovered by women, and it even the Jews acknowledged the fact that the body was missing. Jews had a cover up theory and women’s word had no value. Then we talked about the resurrection and two of the three theories. The possibility that the disciples and other 500 people all had the same hallucination, which held no water in the physiological world because hallucinations do not happen in masses. Then we talked about the possibility that the disciples all lied about the resurrection. But that theory was squashed because why would 11 out of 12 all die for a lie and the 12 be tortured and exiled? People don’t willingly die for made of up lies.
Now we have went through 2 of the 3 possibilities for the resurrection. Today we are going to look at the last possibility. The resurrection is true. This appears to be the best option available if you only look at the facts. When you look at all the facts and put them together it makes resurrection narrative much stronger and as the facts pile up together it makes the possibility of other explanations less plausible. To me based upon the evidence that I have seen and presented over this sermon series it appears that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the best explanation for what happened almost 2000 years ago.
When you tear apart each idea of the disciples stole the body, or they all hallucinated, or the uneducated disciples conceived one of the greatest lies that miraculously fulfills the Old Testament prophecies of who the Messiah will be, or that Jesus Christ was nothing more than a legend, all of these theories alone or together do not hold water. Putting all these loose stories together is like putting a bunch of leaking buckets inside each other hoping that they will all stop leaking. The only possibility that really holds water is this,
Matthew 28:1-10 New Living Translation (NLT)
28 Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.
2 Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. 3 His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. 4 The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.
5 Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. 7 And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”
8 The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. 9 And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”
Jesus Christ was both God and man. Jesus Christ was crucified on a cross died and was buried. On the third day he rose again! That is the gospel message and the gospel truth! Do not deny this fact, do not try to argue away this possibility you will only be holding a leaky bucket. So, what do we do with this? If the resurrection of Jesus Christ is true, why do people not believe?
Well to me that is pretty simply. It is not a matter of facts or lack thereof, but rather a matter of pride. You see if you accept the fact that Jesus Christ in fact did raise from the dead, then that must mean he was who he said he was. Meaning that if Jesus was the Son of God and he came down to this world to be a living sacrifice for you something must be wrong with you. People do not like admitting that they are wrong. If Jesus Christ was the Messiah and he came to save the lost then you must be lost. But only sinners are lost right? Well then you my friend are a sinner and in need of a savior.
If Jesus Christ rose from the dead, then he was the Son of God, and everything else he said was true too. John 11:25, “Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though they die, yet shall they live.” That means whoever does not believe in Jesus Christ will not inherit eternal life with Christ, but rather will be damned for all eternity. You see it if man’s pride that stops us from believing the facts of the resurrection not a lack of facts.
So, what about you? Do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ or not? The facts point to the truth, and the truth will set you free! Believe and be born again! Let your pride fall and succumb to Jesus Christ unfailing love. Today can be the day that you accept Jesus Christ for who he really is and yourself for who you really are. You are a sinner in need of a savior. Jesus Christ is the savior who came for you the sinner. Give your life to him today.
NO MESSAGE LANCE IS ON VACATION
Lies and Hallucinations Sunday 20, 2018
1. Did Jesus really die?
2. Was He buried?
3. Was the tomb empty?
4. Did he appear to the disciples?
a. Lied about it?
c. It’s true!
5. Did the resurrection really happen? Is it Legend or True?
Alright so after a short hiatus from my sermon series on the resurrection of Jesus Christ due to Mother’s Day we return to the question of “did Jesus really resurrect from the dead?” Last week the sermon was on Mother’s Day, and Mother’s Day history, but May 13th was something else. DO you know what last Sunday was? It was 40 days after Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday. 40 days after, notice the 40 days again? Jesus then Ascended into heaven on this day. Last Sunday was Ascension Sunday. It was the time that Jesus stood among his disciples, told them to stay in Jerusalem until they are Baptized with the Holy Spirit. Then Jesus was taken up in a cloud while everyone was watching and two angels came down and told the men to get to work. Jesus was gone but he will return someday in the same way they saw Jesus go.
Scripture: Acts 2:1-15
Now today we celebrate something that happened 10 days after ascension Sunday. Jesus’ ascension happened 40 days after Easter, and then 10 days after Jesus’ ascension to Heaven, we have the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. Can anyone do the math for me? 40 plus 10 equals, 50, hence the term Pentecost. Pentecost is the day that Holy Spirit is poured out on the now apostles like tongues of fire. The disciples change drastically on this day and the church explodes.
But where does this leave us if the Resurrection of Jesus Christ never happens. So, let’s back up a little. We have already discussed if Jesus was really dead and I went through a medical analysis of what would have happened to Jesus during the beating and crucifixion and medically we have proof that Jesus was truly dead. I also pointed out that serious skeptics do not consider the option that Jesus only appeared dead. Then we talked about the fact that he was really buried. The customs of the time, the historical evidence, and ancient tombs found exactly where scripture tells us they were, and the fact that Joseph of Arimathea used his own new tomb to bury Jesus. Jesus was buried in the ground. They we talked about the Empty tomb. This bomb shell showed proof that the tomb was truly empty. Everyone knew where his tomb was, and no one could provide a body. Historically we have the Jews from the early 1st century trying to cover up the empty tomb, and not denying the tomb was empty but rather saying the disciples took the body. So the tomb was empty. Then I explained how Jesus appeared to his disciples, women, and many others as well. Corinthians records 500, Acts records 120, and the gospels record the disciples and others. Jesus physical body was recorded being witnessed over multiple locations at multiple times by different people for 40 days after his resurrection from the dead. So we know that Jesus was dead, he was buried, the tomb was empty, and that people witnessed the resurrection and saw Jesus alive again.
But that leads us to these three questions then. Maybe the disciples lied about the whole thing and made up a great story about Jesus to save face.
- Lied about it.
- Or maybe the disciples hallucinated and thought they saw Jesus alive again.
- It is true, and they really saw Jesus alive
First let’s discuss the option that the disciples lied about it. Did the disciples lie about Jesus resurrection? Well, how many of you are willing to die for a lie? Now in history we see a lot of people who have gone to great extremes to promote what they believe. The Mayans sacrificed humans all the time to please the God’s. They did this because they believed it was the only way, not that it was a lie. We see in the Bible talk of people sacrificing their own children to Molech by binding them together and rolling their children down the arms of a statue into a fire. They believed that they had to do this, they didn’t think it was a lie. When Hailey’s comet flew over a bunch of people drank poisoned Kool Aid to catch a ride on the comet, not because they knew it was a lie but they believed it. You see people are willing to die for what they believe and that is not anything new to us or history, but it is new to think that people would die for a lie. 10 of the 11 disciples died for what they believed and the 11th was exiled to a desolate island for criminals and lepers after being boiled in hot oil. Not to mention the perfect harmony of the 4 gospels and how beautifully articulated the New Testament is in relation to the Old Testament. This was written by mostly uneducated fisherman, tax collectors, and carpenters. You see the disciples really believed that they saw a risen Jesus Christ.
Ok you say then, well maybe they only thought they saw something. If people throughout history are willing to die for what they believe is true like the Mayans, or devil worshipers, or comet riders then the disciples really aren’t any different. Just because the disciples believed in what they saw doesn’t mean that it makes it true. Maybe they all hallucinated and thought they saw Jesus Christ. The Hallucination theory holds very little weight in the phycological world for more than one reason. You see the disciples record physically touching Jesus, (Thomas) and eating with Jesus (breaking of the bread, eating fish by the sea). This typically does not happen with Hallucinations. And even more improbable in the hallucination theory is the possibility that multiple people hallucinated the same thing. Think about it this way. If I stood up here and said, “Wow what a crazy dream we all had last night, huh?” You would all look at me like I was crazy. Hallucinations are very real, I know, I hallucinated when I was heavily medicated in the hospital and saw some really vivid creepy things. Hallucinations though are very individualized. You do not see group hallucinations. Then the hallucination theory also gets blown away when you look at Paul, who meets Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus over 3 years later after Jesus has returned to Heaven. The hallucination theory does not hold water.
So, if the disciples didn’t lie about the resurrection, and they didn’t hallucinate about it, then it leaves us with only one option. And what is that option? That the resurrection of Jesus Christ is true. Remember how I told you about Canaan and the chicken coop. How he swore he picked up eggs for two days and he couldn’t find any eggs. 2 days later we got 7 eggs from 4 chickens, and all 7 were brown and one of our chickens lays blue eggs. Canaan still swears it was a miracle and won’t change his story. I told you to look at the facts and test it for yourself. I want to let you know that OI have recently been picking up the eggs and three times now we have gotten more than 4 eggs in one day. You see sometimes the evidence points to the truth, and sometimes it confusing. There is plenty of evidence that points us to the FACT that Jesus Christ resurrected, but we chose to not believe it.
If you want to know why we chose to not believe the facts, then join me next week as I cover, the last option of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that it is TRUE!
Mother’s Day Sunday, May 13, 2018
The history of Mother’s Day is a messy one. Do a quick google search and you will find out a lot of different stories about its origin and purpose. The most common people that pop up are a few ladies by the names of Ann Reeves Jarvis, Julia Ward Howe, and the Anna Jarvis. Now there are plenty more names out there who lay claim to being the originators of Mother’s Day, but I’m only gonna talk about these three. Before the Civil war Ann Reeves Jarvis organized “Mother’s Day Work Clubs,” to teach young mothers how to care for their children. After the war these groups became “Mother’s Friendship Day.” They were then uses to become a unifying force for mothers of both Union soldiers, and Confederate soldiers. Both the Union and the Confederate Mothers had a common bond. Both sides were mothers who lost sons and children in the war. There are grieving roots in Mother’s Day. Mother’s can be very painful and very enjoyable.
Also after the Civil War Julia Ward Howe, the abolitionist who wrote the Battle Hymn of The Republic, also wrote this letter calling all women saying this…
Julia Ward Howe,
Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
“Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, disarm! The sword is not the balance of justice.” Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each learning after his own time, the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.
In the dust of the Civil War, Mother’s Day was a call to arms for women. I did not go into a lot of detail, but it was heavily organized and preached throughout the church and the churches were used to promote Mother’s Day. If you listened to the words in Howe’s letter you will see, the importance of the church in her letter. Arise all women, whether your baptism in in water or tears, meet to commemorate the dead, take counsel with each other and learn of God! Mother’s day in America has Christian roots, but then capitalism took over the holiday in the 1900’s.
The daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis the lady who started the meetings to teach mothers hos to care for their children, and then started the Mother’s Friendship Day for both Union and Confederate mothers to grieve the loss of the sons and reunite the country, was named Anna Jarvis. Anna Jarvis is most commonly referred to as the originator to Mother’s Day. Anna Jarvis after her mother’s death in 1905 launched a campaign to get Mother’s Day to become a national holiday to promote all that Mother’s had done for their children. In 1914 President Wilson officially signed an official measure for the second Sunday in May to be recognized as Mother’s Day. Anna’s original idea of Mother’s Day was to be a time of personal celebration between Mother’s and their families. Her intention was for Mother’s to wear a white carnation and attend church services! Huh, here we go again, church is once more an integral part to this holiday. By 1920 Mother’s Day became so commercialized that Anna became disgusted with it and petitioned it be removed form a national holiday. Anna eventually died broke in an institution because she spent all of her personal money fighting the commercialism of Mother’s Day in legal battles.
Anna even got mad at churches for using Mother’s Day as a charity day to raise money for poor mothers! This day was originally meant for children to personally thank mothers for all that they have done, for mothers to grieve the loss of their children, and for families to spend time together in church! Not to spend the estimated 25 billion dollars that is expected to be spent today on commercialized Mother’s Day.
Now I have stood up here and used the pulpit to give you a history lesson of Mother’s Day, but I have not yet preached at you, and that is what a pulpit is for. And since Mother’s day has deep roots in church, I need to get to preaching. So that leads me to my scripture for this morning.
The scripture that I have chosen for today comes from a short book in the New Testament. It is from 2nd Timothy. Chapter 1 verse 5-7. 2 Timothy 1:5-7 New Living Translation (NLT)
Scripture: 5 I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. 6 This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
Mother’s Day was intended as a day to spent together in church for Mother’s to teach their children charity, mercy, and patience as Howe’s letter said way back in 1870. You see in scripture how Timothy’s life was impacted by the faith of his Grandmother, and his Mother. The importance of a mother in a child’s life is more fundamental than you could even imagine. We cannot comprehend the value of a mother until you see what happens when a Mother is not present. At the GH, the problems that I have witnessed do to the failure of a mother. I have watched these young boys become anything but charitable, merciful, or patient, because they lacked a mother to teach them these values.
But where does a mother learn these values to teach to their children. Back at church, and by reading scripture. You see a woman who loves, God and Jesus Christ is passionate about the mercy that Jesus has shown to her. A woman who loves Jesus is patient with her children like Jesus Christ was with her. Even when she failed. A woman that loves Jesus is charitable to others because of the charity that Jesus has shown to her. Scripture says, I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother, and mother, I know the same faith grows in you. Mother’s if you want your children to have a faith in Jesus Christ, then you must have one too. If you want your children to be charitable, merciful, and patient, then show them!
This was the original idea of Mother’s Day and it got blown out of control by commercialism. God originally designed you to be women after God’s heart. When you women do this we have Timothy’s young men full of the Holy Spirit and faith that change the world. When women do not follow God’s will for their life and miss church, and time with God through reading and prayer, children do not become who God wants them to be, and the world goes to Hell. Women you have an undaunting task before you, and I am glad that God made me a man. But I know that God created you to be the woman capable of doing this.
So on this Mother’s Day to all women, mother’s or not strive to show charitability, mercy, and patience to all so that Christ love can be shown through you. Then you will leave an impact on the generations below you. Have a Happy Mother’s Day.
Did he appear to the disciples? Sunday, May 6, 2018
1. Did Jesus really die?
2. Was He buried?
3. Was the tomb empty?
4. Did he appear to the disciples?
a. Lied about it?
c. It’s true!
5. Did the resurrection really happen? Is it Legend or True?
In 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, Paul records an ancient creed concerning Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection appearances that is much earlier than the letter in which Paul is recording it:
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time...
It is generally agreed by critical scholars that Paul receive this creed from Peter and James between 3-5 years after the crucifixion. Now, Peter and James are listed in this creed as having seen the risen Christ. Since they are the ones who gave this creed to Paul, this is therefore a statement of their own testimony. As the Jewish Scholar Pinchahs Lapide has said, this creed "may be considered the statement of eyewitnesses."
Alright let’s take a brief view of the few times that the Bible records Jesus showing himself after his resurrection.
Jesus Christ appeared to various groups and individuals on several occasions after his death, prior to his ascension into heaven.
The resurrection appearances of Jesus Christ on the third day
To Mary Magdalene Jn 20:10-18 See also Mk 16:9-11
To the women at the tomb Mt 28:1-10 pp Mk 16:1-8 pp Lk 24:1-12
To Peter Lk 24:34; 1Co 15:5
To the two travellers to Emmaus Mk 16:12-13; Lk 24:13-16,30-32
To the disciples in the upper room Mk 16:14 pp Lk 24:36 pp Jn 20:19
Further appearances of Jesus Christ
To the disciples in the upper room See also Jn 20:26; 1Co 15:5
Other appearances Jn 21:1 See also Mt 28:16-17; 1Co 15:6-7
Jesus Christ appears at his ascension Mk 16:19; Lk 24:50-51; Ac 1:9
Jesus Christ’s resurrection body
It was different from his pre-crucifixion body Jn 20:26 This suggests that the resurrected body of Jesus Christ was not restricted by natural laws: closed doors provided no barrier to Jesus Christ’s bodily appearance to his disciples. See also Mk 16:12 The failure to recognize Jesus Christ may be an indication of his changed appearance but also might emphasize the disciple’s own sorrow and lack of faith; Jn 20:14,19 pp Lk 24:36
It was a body of flesh and blood Lk 24:39 See also Lk 24:42-43; Jn 20:20
Jesus Christ foretold his resurrection appearances
Responses to Jesus Christ’s resurrection appearances
Fear and alarm Lk 24:37 See also Mt 28:10
Doubt and disbelief Mk 16:11 See also Mt 28:17; Mk 16:13-14; Lk 24:11-12; Jn 20:9,13-14,25
Belief and joy Mt 28:8 See also Lk 24:31-32,41; Jn 20:16,18,27-29
Understanding and worship Mt 28:9 See also Lk 24:8,45-47; Jn 2:22; Ac 2:31-33
The significance of Jesus Christ’s resurrection appearances
They gave proof of Jesus Christ’s deity Jn 20:28-29 See also Lk 24:31-34; Jn 20:8; Ac 10:41-42
Christian life and faith depend on the trustworthiness of the witnesses’ testimony 1Co 15:17 See also Jn 20:31; Ac 3:15; Ro 1:4; 1Co 15:1-58; 1Th 4:14; 1Pe 1:3
Are you a little overwhelmed because I said the few times the bible mentions Jesus’ resurrection? Now I want to switch gears here and talk to you about another historical figure that you might remember from history.
I want to talk to you about the Ides of March now. How many of you even know what the Ides of March are? Oh, come on I’m sure many more of you know about it just didn’t realize it had a name. How many of you know who Julius Caesar was? The Roman Emperor who was murdered and muttered the famous words “Et Tu Brute?” As he was stabbed in the back as he was assassinated by his close friends, possibly on of his own sons, and many other members close to him. I think many of you know the story because Shakespeare wrote about him in the 1600’s and there have been many plays, movies, and books wrote about this event and his life.
Now I am quite sure if you asked the majority of people if this event really occurred, and that Julius Caesar was really assassinated, that most people would agree yes, why not the historical evidence points to it and there were many eye witnesses. There was plenty of people who witnessed it and were affected by the outcome that it had on history. Now why should we believe this part of history? Why should we believe that Julius Caesar was stabbed in the back by his best friend Brute? The people who wrote the history were either Caesar supporters or rebels? I mean this assassination tore the Roman republic apart and caused extreme civil war that almost destroyed the city of Rome by forces loyal to Julius?
So, the people who wrote about this event and recorded it as eyewitnesses or scribes who wrote for those eyewitnesses, where either supporters or persecutors of Julius Caesar. Wouldn’t their testimony be biased and therefore un worthy of reputable evidence of Julius Caesar’s assassination? Do you know when Julius Caesar was assassinated? In what year? How many years after Jesus, or was it Before Christ? That would change how we look at the info, if it was newer than Christ right? Well Julius Caesar was stabbed in the year of 44bc. About 75 years before Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead!
Do you see where I am going with this? Julius Caesar’s life and death greatly affected history, the known world, and what we have left is the written eyewitness accounts and we take them at face value. Very few people think that Julius Caesar was a fake, that his death was staged, and that his supporters embellished the stories of him to make his seem like he was more than he was. If we held the Julius Caesar story to the same scrutiny of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ Julius Caesar would probably only be considered a typical Roman soldier who rose to fame by legend and time. There are not nearly as many sources or writing about Julius Caesar’s death and life as there is about Jesus Christ. And all what sources there are about Julius Caesar are mostly Roman so therefore bias right?
Many people have a hard time believing in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The fact that a MAN, who claimed to be the Son of God, or by his admission, the Son of Man, who was fully human and fully God, could have a physical body that died, then the dead man, who had been dead for 3 days, under his own power and authority gave his own physically dead body life again. That blows peoples minds that a dead man’s mortal body put on immortality. But I do not feel that I have to prove the miracle of how the resurrection happened, to prove that it really happened.
We can watch a space shuttle blast off and head into space, yet we don’t understand how that happens, not me and you. Sure, someone does, just like Jesus Christ knows how the mortal body puts on immortality. Just because we don’t understand or have a hard time believing the “how” a miracle happens or something happen doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. How many of you drove a car here this morning? I guarantee that no one of you in here can explain how when you turn the key in the ignition how the power is transferred form the battery to the starter, from the starter to the flywheel, and to the spark plugs, and fuel pump, all in synchronized timing to cause combustion, while power from the motor is transferred to the transmission to the drive shaft to your tires, and the radio, and air conditioner and power seats and windows all work at the same time can you? But it still happens. You do not need to understand the “how” something happens to know that it will happen. Jesus Christ was dead, and he resurrected his dead body and came back to life. We have a multitude of first hand eyewitnesses who wrote it down, and their stories check out! There is more what we call historical evidence and proof for the resurrection of Jesus Christ than there is for the assassination of Julius Caesar. It is not a lack of evidence or proof that holds you back from believing that Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead, but a lack of faith!
Jesus was dead, 3 days later Jesus was alive again. Jesus appeared to a multitude of people over several days in several places. The eyewitness accounts if you want to call the bias or not do not lie about what they saw. The stories correlate and the vast array of people who witnessed Jesus Christ ALIVE after they witnessed him DIE could not possibly conceive such a beautifully constructed story of his resurrection and appearances.
So, did I prove that Jesus Christ appeared to his disciples to you today? Maybe, maybe not? Maybe the disciples all lied and made the story up. Maybe they all had a mass hallucination and dreams. Or maybe it is true and Jesus did resurrect! Well continue to join me in the weeks to come and find out more!
Empty Tomb APRIL 29, 2018
1. Did Jesus really die?
2. Was He buried?
3. Was the tomb empty?
4. Did he appear to the disciples?
a. Lied about it?
c. It’s true!
5. Did the resurrection really happen? Is it Legend or True?
Over the last two weeks I have been working on a teaching series about Jesus. The first week I concluded that given historical records of Roman Crucifixions and the Biblical account of Jesus Christ crucifixion their was without a reasonable doubt proof that Jesus Christ physical body really died. With the facts given it would be hard to conclude otherwise. Last week I then discussed whether or not Jesus was buried and went into detail about his burial. In my sermon I explained how the body of Jewish criminal could possibly be taken off the cross and given to someone for burial. I explained how Joseph of Arimathea would have the political clout as a member of the Sanhedrin, to ask Pilate for Jesus’ body. I also discussed Joseph’s tomb, and how many people in Jerusalem would have known where Jesus’ body had been laid. The sermon last wek focused on the fact that Jesus’ dead body was laid inside a tomb, it was covered in burial spices and wrapped in burial linens. Jesus’ followers did not expect Jesus to raise from the dead.
Now here we are today. And we are going to discuss the Empty Tomb.
Scripture: Mark 16:1-8
Jesus Has Risen
16 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, 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, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
He is not here! See the place where they laid him! The tomb of Christ no longer holds his body. Different gospels tell mildly different versions. Marks version has two Mary’s and Salome. Matthew’s version only has the two Mary’s and an earthquake. The angel rolls away the stone in their presence and the tomb is empty. In Luke’s gospel there is the two Mary’s, (but not Jesus’ mother but James instead), Joanna, and several other women. When they arrive, the stone is rolled away and there are angels inside the tomb but Jesus’ body is not there. In John it only mentions Mary Magdalene, and she ran back and got Peter and John. The men went in the tomb and saw the burial linens lying in the place where they laid Jesus’ body but his body was gone and the tomb was empty.
Common themes in all four gospels. Women and empty tomb. Now today it will be my attempt to explain if the tomb was really empty. To start this off I want you to think about this and ask yourself what you believe about the empty tomb. And what you believe about miracles. Now to start this off I want to tell you about a miracle that Canaan and Nellie witnessed in our chicken coop a couple weeks ago. IN order to tell this miracle I must first fil you in on this background info. It is the kids job to take care of the chickens to feed, water, and pick up the eggs. We only have 4 laying hens so it’s not too much work but keep that number in mind. We have 4 laying hens ok? Alright once again how many laying hens do we have? 4 thank you. Now Canaan and Nellie were told to go do chores and bring in the eggs. The first day we didn’t get any eggs. Emily questioned them but the kids said nope there wasn’t any eggs today. Emily didn’t thin anything of it, cuz the chickens have been free ranging and sometimes they don’t lay. The next day Emily sends the kids back out to do chores and for some reason there were no eggs again. Emily questioned Canaan pretty hard but he swore there were no eggs. The third day Cane and Nellie come running in the house so excited to show off all the eggs they found. They found 6 eggs, and Canaan said, it’s a miracle, the chickens laid extra eggs. Now let’s do the math, we have how many chickens? 4. How many eggs we asked Canaan, He said 6. They were all 6 brown eggs. We explained to Canaan that we have one chicken who lays blue eggs, and all 6 eggs were brown. Well it must be a miracle he says. I present the facts of the story you decide.
Now back to the empty tomb. I want to point out s few interesting facts about the empty tomb that stand out. The 1st point we need to discuss is where this takes place. What city did Jesus ride into on a donkey on Palm Sunday only a week earlier? Jerusalem. What city was Jesus in when he was condemned and beaten? Jerusalem. What city was Jesus crucified outside of? Jerusalem. What city was he buried next to? Jerusalem. Do you think anyone knew about Jesus? Jesus was crucified in public, then buried in a rich man’s tomb. The High Council asked Pilate to place Roman guards to guard the tomb. Do you think that people might have known about Jesus, his death, and his tomb? People in Jerusalem would have known where Jesus was laid to rest, yet it is in the very same city that the disciples spread the news of Jesus’ resurrection. If this was a lie, don’t you think the disciples would have tried telling people about his resurrection in another town who didn’t know about his tomb where people could go and check out the facts? The disciples could preach about the resurrection in Jerusalem because Jesus’ body was gone and anyone could check it out if they wanted. The proclamation of an empty tomb would not withstand for even an hour in Jerusalem if the tomb was not empty.
2nd point. The Jews said that the disciples stole the body of Jesus. You will find this in Matthew 28 verse 11-15. Or if you would like look up the Toledoth Jesu, which is a compilation of early Jewish writings from the first century and see how even the Jews say that his body was stolen by the disciples. Now how does the Jews saying that Jesus’ body was stole help prove the tomb was empty, you might ask? Well if the tomb wasn’t empty why would the Jews who wanted to crush Christianity say anything about anyone stealing the body, if they could prove the body was still in the tomb?
3rd point is that the gospel of Mark is based upon a source that originated within at most seven years after the resurrection. A German commentator on Mark, Rudolf Pesch points out that the Pre-Markan source never mentions the High Priest by name, which implies that Caiaphas would still have been High Priest at this time. Only when they had a new High Priest in a narrative would they tell the name of the High Priest. It would be like me saying “the president of the United States was on the news today.” We all know that the President of the US is Trump. Now if I wrote about when I was in college and I spoke about the president I would have to state President Bush was on the news when I was in college. So, because Caiaphas is not named and only called the High Priest we know this gospel account is accurate and close to the date of the resurrection. Now how does this point to an empty tomb because the information is from within 7 years. Because within 7 years is too soon to become legendary. The empty tomb couldn’t become a legend in the very hometown in 7 years. Legends take generations, and centuries to happen so that anyone who was alive when the real events happened are all gone and the story gets embellished. Mark’s source is with 7 years of resurrection and to soon to have an empty tomb legend. The empty tomb was a widely held belief by both Jew and Christians after only 3 days.
4th point is the historical accuracy of the New Testament. For the point of the empty tomb, the inclusion of Joseph of Arimathea is huge. Joseph was a powerful Jewish man, and the disciples could not have used his name or his tomb for that matter if Joseph was not in agreeance. Joseph was simply to well known for a fictitious story to be made up without Joseph himself rebuking it. They could not circulate a story about Jesus and Joseph of Arimathea burying him if that part was not true. New Testament scholars agree that the burial story is one of the best-established facts about Jesus, so Joseph had to be real and had to be part of the burial because the other facts of the burial are all factual. So, how does Joseph’s affiliation with the burial and the reliability of Jesus’ burial aid in the fact that the tomb was empty. Point 4 goes hand in hand with point 1. It would have been easy to debunk the resurrection claim by going to the tomb and producing a body. It had to be empty of that is what people would have done, they would have produced Jesus’ body.
5th point Jesus’ tomb was never turned into a shrine immediately after his death. This was common to do for a Holy Man or prophet especially, which is what many believed Jesus was. This never happened immediately because the would build the shrine around the bones of the deceased. Jesus’ body was gone, therefore no bones in a tomb, no shrine built for the holy man. No immediate shrine suggests that there was no body left. Empty tomb.
6th point is similar to the third point of legend. Mark’s gospel that I read to you today is very short sweet and to the point. It shows no legendary development, unlike the gospel of Peter. Any of you ever read the gospel of Peter? I’d like someone to find it in their bibles now please. It’s not in there because it is a forgery from around 125 ad. This legend has all of the Jewish leaders, Roman guards, and many people from the countryside gathered to watch the resurrection. Then three men come out of the tomb, with their heads reaching up to the clouds. Then a talking cross comes out of the tomb! This is what legend looks like, and we see none of that in Mark's account of the empty tomb--or anywhere else in the gospels for that matter! Short simple and not full of imagery.
7th point is the real nail in the coffin, to most scholars. In the beginning of the sermon I told you about all four gospel accounts of the Resurrection and what did they all have in common? Women finding the empty tomb first. We cannot understand why this is important, but during the first century in Jewish culture a woman’s testimony was absolutely worthless. A woman could not testify in court, and her word had no value. If the empty tomb was a lie that was devised by men, the absolute worst thing they could have started off telling people was that a woman found the empty tomb and she told them about the resurrected Jesus. It would be like me standing here and telling you that politicians are all honest. It would be the same as saying a woman saw Jesus’ empty tomb and then Jesus spoke to her too. No one would believe them. The fact that women, whose testimony was deemed worthless, were the main witnesses in all four gospels of the empty tomb can only be plausibly explained if, like it or not, they actually were the discoverers of the empty tomb." Look at that women you have the last word!
No sure you could say the body of Jesus Christ was stolen, but that argument is laughed at by serious scholars, because neither the disciples who did not expect Jesus to raise, or the Jews would want to steal his body. The Jews would only create a bigger mess if Jesus’ body was missing, and if they had the body they would have presented it to stop the disciples from preaching the resurrection.
Now I have presented you with a lot of facts today. The best fact od course was 3 brown egg laying chickens and 1 blue egg laying hens laid 6 brown eggs in one day. But what do you do with these facts about the empty tomb? Use them, learn them, know them and defend your faith. You can never argue anyone into heaven, but a good argument has pushed a few over the edge. Be prepared to give an account for what you believe and why.
Was Jesus Buried? SUNDAY, APRIL 22, 2018
- Did Jesus really die?
- Was He buried?
- Was the tomb empty?
- Did he appear to the disciples?
- Lied about it?
- It’s true!
- Did the resurrection really happen? Is it Legend or True?
Last week I discussed the question of, Did Jesus really die? I won’t go into many details, but from a medical standpoint, historical records of Roman crucifixions, and the gospel accounts, it is a logical conclusion to believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross. If you would like to catch up I encourage you to read last week’s sermon on line or I can email a copy to you. It is quite interesting the facts we covered about Jesus Christ beating and crucifixion. We concluded that no logical thinking person would be able by using deductive logical reasoning could argue that Jesus Christ did not die on the cross. Knowing this, that Jesus Christ is dead, we have a body to dispose of, so what happened to Jesus’s body? What did they do with the dead body?
Scripture: The Burial of Jesus, Matthew 27:57-66
57 As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, 58 went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. 59 Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. 60 He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. 61 Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching.
The Guard at the Tomb
62 The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. 63 They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ 64 So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.”
65 Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” 66 So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it
We read from scripture that Jesus’ body was taken off the cross to be buried. This was kind of uncommon and sort of common. Meaning that many Roman crucified bodies were either thrown to the dogs to eat or left on the cross to “feed the crows,” as the early Jewish historian Josephus tells us. Since Jesus was executed as a rebel leader and mocked as a “King,” it would have been common Roman practice to leave his body hanging on the cross to rot away as a visual warning sign to anyone else who was thinking about revolting against the Romans. This was another scare tactic the romans used to deter revolts.
But scripture says, that Jesus was removed from the cross in a hurry so that they could quickly get him in the ground before the start of the sabbath, which started at sundown. Now since Jesus was Jewish so that changed things a little. The Jews had special rights under Roman rule. The Romans could never control the Jews, and their religious dedication. The Romans found it easiest to allow the Jews to continue to practice their own religion freely. Because Jesus was a Jew, and it was against the Mosaic Law to leave the deceased out over the Sabbath, there was a push to get Jesus buried. Scripture says that Joseph of Amaramethea was a rich man who was on the San Hendrin went before Pilate and requested his body.
Now Joseph was a closet follower of Jesus, and he was on the council that voted to have him executed, but there is not scriptural proof that the Joseph voted to have Jesus condemned to death. But we do know that Joseph was a High Priest and therefore had some great pulling weight, meaning that Joseph would have enough clout to go before Pilate and request Jesus’s body for burial. With the Passover festival only hours away, even Pilate would have understood the importance to the Jews to have Jesus’ body in the ground. Pilate then allowed Joseph to take Jesus’ body down and bury it.
Now we have Jesus’s body, Joseph and some women who are in a hurry to take care of his body. Where do they put him? The find the closest tomb possible. No time to waste, and Joseph had a new tomb recently dug for himself. Joseph allows to bury Jesus in his tomb. To many people this seems like a story of a nice rich man showing kindness to Jesus and his family by allowing him to be buried in his tomb. Did you know though that this was actually the fulfillment of more scripture? Isaiah 53:9 New Living Translation (NLT)
He had done no wrong
and had never deceived anyone.
But he was buried like a criminal;
he was put in a rich man’s grave.
It was prophesied that Jesus would be buried with criminals and with the rich. Now we know that there was a place outside of the city that was a burial ground for criminals, and we know that Jesus was buried in Joseph’s tomb, who was a rich member of the High Council. Now there has been a lot of debate over where the real tomb of Jesus Christ is, but I want to read to you this information that I copied and pasted off of National Geographic. Archeologist have recently exhumed the tomb of the Holy Sepulchre. The place most commonly believed as Jesus’ tomb.
For National Geopgraphic
“Jewish tradition forbade burial within the walls of a city, and the Gospels specify that Jesus was buried outside of Jerusalem, near the site of his crucifixion on Golgotha ("the place of skulls"). A few years after the burial is said to have occurred, the walls of Jerusalem were expanded, putting Golgotha and the nearby tomb within the city
The presence of other tombs of the period is important archaeological evidence, according to Magness. "What they show is that in fact this area was a Jewish cemetery outside the walls of Jerusalem in the time of Jesus."
According to Dan Bahat, former city archaeologist of Jerusalem, "We may not be absolutely certain that the site of the Holy Sepulchre Church is the site of Jesus' burial, but we certainly have no other site that can lay a claim nearly as weighty, and we really have no reason to reject the authenticity of the site.”
So, we have a good reason to believe that this really was a place that Jesus Christ dead body was laid. Now why is a tomb so important? Well because Jesus Christ told everyone that in 3 days after his death he would be raised again. Jesus made this fact known while he was living, so don’t you think that people would have remembered this fact, especially Jesus’ closest followers? Well let’s look at how they handled Jesus’ body. Scripture tells us from the different gospels, a few mildly different accounts of what they did to Jesus’ body. We can read that Joseph immediately covered his body in myrrh and burial spices and covered his body in linens. We read that the women put burial spices on his body and wrapped him, or we read that the women were on their way back on Easter Sunday morning to prepare the body with the spices. The spices by the way were only meant to retard the smell of a decaying body.
Either way as to exactly who, and how the spices and burial linens were applied, what we know is that Jesus Christ body was prepared to rot away and never rise again. Jesus’ closest disciples did not grasp the concept that Jesus’ body was to rise again. None of Jesus’ disciples were expecting Jesus to rise again! This is important, because who did expect Jesus to rise? The very people who killed him. The High Council remembered that Jesus foretold that he would rise again. That is why they went before Pilate and asked for soldiers to be placed in front of the tomb to guard it. Then the also sealed it with a string, clay or way, and a pressed seal to protect that no one disturbs it.
Now we have a rich man’s grave close to or possibly in or around criminal’s graves, with Roman Soldiers standing guard with a sealed tomb. This was not a quite event people would have been well aware of where Jesus tomb was. Not to mention a rich man who was in essence a “Benedict Arnold” to his own Jewish counterparts who asked Pilate for Jesus’ body, and the Roman presence would have made a big stir about the tomb. Jesus would not have been buried in a hidden tomb out of sight. Jerusalem was filled with Millions of people during the Passover. The exact resting place of Jesus would have been widely known.
SO, what do we do with this bit of information about Jesus Christ burial? We remember these facts, as I move into the Empty tomb next week. Remember this today, Joseph’s tomb was elaborate, Jesus’ followers did not anticipate his resurrection, the Jew’s were scared of a possible hoax and false resurrection, and Roman unbiased guards were placed to watch a sealed tomb. The disciples did not set this up. Jesus was buried in accordance to scripture, his own followers tried to cover the stench of his decay, and the Jews did not want a missing body, and the Roman’s protected a dead body to keep the peace.
What will we find out about the empty tomb next week? Come back and see! Let’s Pray
DID JESUS REALLY DIE? APRIL 15, 2018
- Did Jesus really die?
- Was He buried?
- Was the tomb empty?
- Did he appear to the disciples?
- Lied about it?
- It’s true!
- Did the resurrection really happen? Is it Legend or True?
The Death of Jesus
28 Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. 30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31 It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was Passover week). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus. 33 But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs. 34 One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. 35 (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also may continue to believe. 36 These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and “They will look on the one they pierced.”
Today we are going to discuss if Jesus Christ really died on the cross. In order to do this, we must understand a little more about a crucifixion. We have all saw different portrayals of cross, and crucifixes. We have saw how it shows Jesus’ hands and feet nailed to the cross as he hangs there. But is that what killed him? Well we need to look at how a crucifixion was done and the intent of the crucifixion. It was a horrible, painful, demeaning, humiliating, slow, and antagonizing death. We know how Jesus was whipped and beaten before he was nailed to the cross, but do you know why? Why for crucifixion reasons was he whipped? Well the executioners were professionals and the punishment of crucifixion was intended to be cruel and painful. The whips they used varied, but many of them had either lead balls, sharp objects, or fragments of metals attached to it. The accused who was to be crucified was then beaten with these whips until the flesh was ripped open or pulverized. The back, buttocks, and thighs were all lashed open. This was on purpose because it made the crucifixion more painful.
This beating with the solid balls or fragments caused both external bleeding and internal bleeding. The swelling and blunt trauma would then cause fluid to build up around the lungs and chest cavity. Then when the executioners attached the condemned to the cross their open and raw back would be laid against the rough wood. Now there are several ways to crucify someone and scripture gives us a pretty detailed of how Jesus was crucified. Some people were crucified upside down, some where nailed to a tree, some had a cross piece like a t that we commonly see, others had just one pole with their hands raised above their heads, (like the portrayal the Jehovah’s Witness show,) so there are many ways.
But with Jesus we know that he carried his cross through the city, and by biblical accounts it is most likely what we see as a traditional cross is the correct cross. Jesus’s hands were then nailed to the cross. This has caused a lot of confusion because the weight of a man’s body could not be supported by a nail through the palm. People have done a lot of research and I found this interesting. If you have a 160 pound man nailed to a cross, you would think that each hand would support 80 pounds each right? Not correct, depending on the angle of the arm each hand held either 160 pounds of weight or even more! This meant that it is possible and some crucifixion corpses show this as a possibility that they nailed through the wrist between the two bones. This would be a stronger point. But in either spot the main nerve for the hand runs through and the nail would penetrate this spot creating immense pain. The angle of the arms was important for more than one reason. Not only did it put more pressure on the hands, but it also made it harder for the condemned to breathe, because it locked the lungs in the exhale position.
Most likely Jesus feet were nailed in the way that we see it portrayed. With one overlapping the other and a nail drove through both feet. Some depictions show a block for the feet to rest on and the nail drove through their, but this was probably unlikely for Jesus. A block would allow for a longer slower death. Jesus feet would have been nailed flat to the cross with his knees bent, and this would prevent him from locking his knees to support himself so that he could inhale. So in order for Jesus to inhale, because his arms were bent at an angle that locked his lungs in the exhale position, he would have to push with his feet, and thigh muscles to lift himself up to get a breath. Remember his back, buttocks, and thighs are shredded from the whipping, and he would be pressing against the wood of the cross to force himself up enough to inhale. Remember his hands or wrist, and his feet would have a nail drove through the main nerve that would be excruciatingly painful as his feet and hands moved in order for him to get a breath.
Because he could not easily breath, plus the trauma caused to his back and lungs filling with fluid, it would compound the fluid built up along his lungs. Jesus would be slowly dying by asphyxiation. He would be filling up with carbon dioxide because he could exhale, and his lungs would be filling with fluid. Now scripture tells us, Jesus takes his last breath, taste the bitter wine and says “it is finished!” Jesus releases his spirit and dies. Now in order to hasten he deaths of the other two criminals their legs were broken. Jesus was already dead but it was possible, that a few times the condemned did appear dead because they passed out, and when taken off the cross they revived. The soldiers took precautions and thrust a spear in Jesus side. What poured out? Blood and Water! The water was from the fluid built up around the lungs and the pericardial sack around the heart. They would have been filled with fluid.
Jesus was dead! Now suppose Jesus only passed out from his exhaustion on the cross and loss of blood. Jesus was then removed from the cross and laid in a cold tomb. Given the time and the medical capabilities, the severity of Jesus Christ beating, crucifixion, and spear thrust, would any logical thinking person believe that Jesus Christ did not die and that he only passed out? And suppose he did, I a period of three days would he be well enough to walk, talk, eat, and be completely healed other than the holes in his hands and side? Jesus was Dead! Make no exception, or denial. Jesus Christ was dead before he was put in the tomb!
So what do you do with this information. You use it. When you are confronted about your belief, be prepared to answer a logical well thought out answer. When you are questioned if Jesus Christ really died, explain yes and ask them why they think that Jesus didn’t die? Because evidence proves he did die, so what do we do with it?
I Had a Dream SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2018
Last night I had a crazy dream, and I want to share it with you today. I was asked to be a guest speaker at another church. Their pastor was gone for the Sunday and I was recommended to fill in. I had a sermon that I thought was pretty good all prepared and Emily and I stayed the night in a hotel to be close enough in the morning. We got up early enough that morning and left for the church, see you know this is a dream because we were up early. We went outside and we didn’t have a car just a bicycle so I started pedaling all the way to this church. It was like 30 miles away. Needless to say, we showed up about 10 minutes late again. This church was beautiful and modern. As I walked in we had to set up all this fancy stuff for new people to register and we had to move things around to make it look homier. I apparently got really hot doing this so I took off my shirt in church. As you could imagine this offended people and I finally picked up on their vibes and put my shirt back on. Then we were about to finally start worship, and the band was up at the front of the church, the lectern was all set up with a computer touch screen and then everything was displayed on the wall behind you, its was really fancy. I was told to go sit towards the front, and when it was my turn the liturgist guy would get me. Well for some reason by this point, my shirt became untucked, I lost my belt and my jeans were too big, and I looked like a complete slob. The liturgist, who sat with the band kept pointing for me to come sit up by him. I missed the subtle cues, then he had to make a big scene walk over and get me and walk me to the lectern. It was time for me to do the call to worship. This is where everything completely fell apart. I was a mess, I had no poise or confidence at the lectern, I couldn’t operate the touch screen and pop-ups kept popping up with games that you had to play in order to keep going on. I got everything messed up couldn’t find the call to worship liturgy and tech support had to come help fix the mess and they couldn’t figure it out. The crowd, and I say crowd not parishioners started getting mad and leaving. Since I couldn’t get the call to worship going the went into the next event. They brought up all these people and had an open fresh food market on the stage, where people packed up food to deliver to other people’s doors. It was a huge hoopla and ordeal. But by this time, I had made everyone pretty mad at me, and the old members were leaving church. I walked down and tried to get them to stay to listen to the sermon. I had this sermon prepared to tell them, but here is where the dream gets real. During the dream, while I was sitting in the pew God was telling me to ditch the sermon I had prepared and to preach his word that it what the people needed to hear. So, I did, I threw down my printed copy and preached from my heart.
This is what I preached. I came here this morning and sabotaged your service. I didn’t fit in and I look like a slob. I couldn’t operate your high-tech computer board and say the right words to call you to worship. So, you skipped it. You focused on the works the church with your band, your food market, and your new visitor welcome club. I came to preach the word of God, but when I didn’t fit in like you expected or didn’t live up to your expectations and hopes of who I was you wanted to leave, some of you did, and many of you didn’t want to listen to me. You rejected me because I was not who you thought I should be.
Jesus Christ was the Messiah, who was rejected by his own people. He was rejected because they had a different idea of what the messiah was. He did not fit into their idea of who he should be. Jesus did not look the part. Jesus was not dressed like a King. He was a working man, not royalty. They thought the Messiah should be a military man, who would be the perfect dictator, and would overthrow the government. They thought the Messiah wouldn’t die. Yet Jesus came back and told them, that the Son of Man must be handled over and die. Then in three days the Son of Man would rise again.
Jesus said I came to serve and not be served, and you are to do the same. This was not the Messiah they had hoped for. The people had hoped that their god works and good deeds would earn them favor with the Lord. Yet, our most righteous acts are like filthy rags to the Father. Jesus Christ lived to die. He leads by serving others. That is who the Messiah was.
Do you see the people of this church where just like the disciples and us? They walked with Jesus and listened to his words, but they never really believed in who he was. The people where just like the disciples on the road to Emmaus.
Read Luke 24:13-31.
The Walk to Emmaus
13 That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. 16 But God kept them from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?”
They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. 18 Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”
19 “What things?” Jesus asked.
“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. 20 But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. 21 We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.
22 “Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. 23 They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! 24 Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.”
25 Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. 26 Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” 27 Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
28 By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, 29 but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. 30 As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. 31 Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared!
People you have heard the scripture. You know the stories, and sometimes the scripture and a sermon might make your hearts burn for God. But until you meet Jesus Christ at the table and realize that it was HIS blood spilt on that cross for YOURS, your eyes will never be opened. Jesus Christ was the Son of God, he was born of a virgin, he suffered under Pontius Pilate, he died and was buried, on the third day he ROSE again. Jesus Christ died for your sins to take your place, Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, the Life, and no one comes to Father, but through him. You have to believe this, and until you do all your works and deeds are nothing more than filthy rags to the Lord, because it is your heart that God wants!
Your heart is what God the Father wants. Your Heart is what Jesus Christ the Son died to save. Your heart is what the Holy Spirit is tugging at now.
I Had a Dream. That dream was for all of you to know that Jesus Christ came to serve, he died so that you could live, listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling you, and trust who Jesus Christ is! The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone!
Now there were parts of my dream that were hilarious, but there where more parts that were serious. Who Jesus Christ was and is; is not a matter of opinion. You cannot make Jesus fit into your mold of who you want him to be. The church in my dream was perfect from the outside looking in. They did all the right works and had steady growth, but on the inside, they were dead. When I road my bike into their church they thought I was going to tell them what they wanted to hear and do things the way they wanted them done. But why would I? I came to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Good News of Jesus Christ is timeless and unaffected by the culture.
So what type of person will you be? Will you get up and walk out of church today like so many in my dream did? Or will you allow for your eyes to be open like the disciples who realized who Jesus really was when he broke the bread? God doesn’t want your good deeds, he wants your heart!
The Marriage Ceremony
Scripture: John 20:1-18
Happy Easter everyone! He is Risen! Come on let’s show some excitement in here, it’s like were a bunch of strict Methodist! Let’s get excited have a little Baptist in us today! Today is such an awesome day. Today is Easter, Jesus Christ has resurrected from the dead. This day sets us apart from all other religions. You will hear people say “well all religions are pretty much the same.” Really if we are pretty much the same why are we all so different? Because last time I checked Muhammad was still dead, Buddha was still dead and preserved as a little fat statue (I guess he wasn’t enlightened then was he 😊), the Dali Lama is still just a man, and still no one understands what Scientology is. Jesus Christ RESSURECTION from the dead separated us from everyone else.
So what does my sermon title “The Marriage Ceremony” have to do with Easter Sunday? Well how good is your memory? On the last Advent service, I had a sermon entitled Dating Period and then on Christmas Eve Service my sermon title was “The Proposal.” Ringing a bell to any of you? Really, I’m not surprised, I had to look back over my sermon and I wrote the thing. I will do a very quick recap and check you all up to speed.
The sermon “Dating Period,” was a list of scriptures from the Old Testament that showed how much God loves you. I explained how like in a relationship when people send notes, or love letters to each other when they are dating, this is what God was doing. God was sending you letters letting you know he is interested. After the Dating Period, it was time to make the relationship more serious. That is where my Christmas Eve Service came into place. After a long dating period what is the next step?
Yup, the Proposal. The man gets down on a knee and offers a ring and his unconditional love in marriage. Then the man has to wait on the woman to decide. The man cannot force the woman to love him, she has to freely choose to love him in return. That is what Christmas is about. God the Father loves you. He sent all the letters and expressed his love. Then on Christmas God gave us an engagement gift. He gave the world his Son Jesus Christ. He gave us Jesus so that God could feel what it is like to live like us. God the creator made himself a part of his creation, and now God has felt every emotion and much more than us. He has walked in our shoes and carried our cross. Christmas was the proposal and today is the Marriage Ceremony.
God gave us his son, the most precious gift he could give us. Jesus then freely accepted to take our sins, hold them in his hands and feel the nails pound through his hands, feet, and our sin. He left our sin on that cross. Jesus paid the ultimate price a human could. Jesus said it himself and did it. John 15:13 “There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends.” Jesus laid his life down for you. God proposed this to you. I will give my son’s life in exchange for yours, will you give me your life?
So here we are on Easter Sunday. We have heard the Easter Story before. We have all heard how Jesus Christ was born on Christmas. How Jesus was then arrested, beaten, and crucified for us. You have all heard how much God loves you.
God wants a relationship with you. Just like a husband wants a relationship with a wife. The husband pursues, shows his love, shows his devotion, sacrifices, then waits for the woman to choose. God has given you free will. It is your choice to accept his hand in marriage. God has written the Love Letters, he has shown you his love and given you the precious gift of his Son Jesus Christ. On Good Friday Jesus showed you his ultimate love and extreme act of devotion as Jesus freely chose to die on that cross.
God is waiting for you at the altar. What will you choose? Will you give your life to God through Jesus Christ the Son? Today is your choice to make a commitment to a relationship with Jesus Christ. God has said I do, Will You?
Judas MAUNDY THURSDAY
Scripture: Matthew 26
Tonight, we are going to be talking about the Betrayal of Jesus Christ. On maundy Thursday there are many different angles to preach from. More actually happens on Maundy Thursday, than Good Friday, or Easter. Jesus shares the Passover meal or as we know it the Last Supper with the disciples. He washes their feet. He is anointed by a woman with an expensive bottle of perfume. He is in deep anguish in the Garden. He is betrayed, beaten, heals a guy’s ear that Peter cuts off, and then arrested. Then Jesus is found guilty in a make shift rigged court system that removed any supporters of Jesus. Jesus also predicts the whole night, including the disciple’s desertion and Peter’s denial. There are almost too many opportunities to preach on tonight! So many that I spent more time today preparing for a sermon than any in almost a year. But tonight, we are going to look at Judas and his Betrayal.
Judas Iscariot is one of the twelve disciples and we know a lot about him. And people have a lot of opinions and ideas about Judas. Remember Judas was chosen by Jesus, and Jesus knew that Judas would betray him. Knowing this brings up a lot of discussion about Judas and people have mixed feelings about him. Some people hate him for his betrayal. Some few extreme people have also tried to elevate Judas to hero stature for making Jesus’ earthly mission come to an end. Some skeptics question God’s fairness in allowing for one man to bear so much guilt for betraying the Son of Man. But what we do know is that Jesus chose Judas and Judas chose to betray Jesus. We also know that Judas was a thief, look it up in John 12:6. Judas was the disciple’s treasurer and he stole for his own desires. Luke tells us that he by his own choice betrayed Jesus to the soldiers and high priest. Mark tells us that Judas went to the High Priest and met them to arrange the place and the price. The Old Testament prophecies in Zechariah 11:12-13 tell us the exact price that Jesus would be betrayed for! 12 And I said to them, “If you like, give me my wages, whatever I am worth; but only if you want to.” So they counted out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.
13 And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter[a]”—this magnificent sum at which they valued me! So, I took the thirty coins and threw them to the potter in the Temple of the Lord. That was written hundreds of years before. No inflation rate!
Now the exact motive that Judas betrayed Jesus is unknown, but it is clear that Judas allowed his desires to place him in a place for Satan to manipulate him. Judas accepted the money from the priest and then identified Jesus in the dimly moonlit garden with a kiss! No one forced him to do this he chose it freely to betray Christ. Judas was not a puppet in God’s grand scheme but rather a willing sinner. Let me ask you this question when Judas betrayed Jesus Christ did Judas lose his relationship with Jesus? What do you think?
The answer is No, Judas did not lose a relationship with Jesus Christ because he never had one! Judas even though he walked with Jesus, witnessed his miracles, did his work, he was the treasurer for years, followed him everywhere, and was a core disciple, yet Judas never found Jesus. Judas was so close to the truth, but never realized it. John 17:12 calls Judas “the one headed for destruction” because he was never saved not because he betrayed Jesus.
How many of you have seen the movie Passion of Christ? Well now we are going to watch about a 10-minute clip of the movie, the beginning where we see Judas’ betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane. I want as you watch this clip to see the anguish that Jesus Christ is in as he prays in the garden. Jesus is so anguished and scared that he sweats blood. This has been proven medically possible by the way. Look at Jesus’s anguish and his fear as Jesus prays, and it is that anguish and fear I am going to talk about after. Watch Judas closely and see what you notice. Let’s watch.
Play clip from the Passion.
Now this is a Mel Gibson production and a very Catholic movie, but I feel that it does a pretty good job of interpreting the core of the story. Now If I had more time I would show you more of the movie and the anguish that you see leave Jesus and enters into Judas. If you are not familiar with the story, Judas realizes what he has done is wrong and tries to give the money back and free Jesus. The High Priest refuse and Judas is emotionally tormented and chooses to take his own life. Judas life in the next day and a half becomes a literal living hell. In my opinion the movie does a good job of demonstrating what hell will be like. It will be a place of extreme paranoia, emotional, torture, and physical torture, with no end ever in sight. True and utter hopelessness. Judas chooses this avenue. Judas chooses to betray Jesus Christ and to reject Jesus as his own savior.
Now think back to the movie scene where you watched Jesus praying in the Garden with sweat of blood. Think about the anguish on Jesus’ face because Jesus is scared and wants the cup to be passed. Jesus doesn’t want to go through with the crucifixion and the momentary separation from God. That is scripturally correct, but what I am about to say now is my own speculation. I think that Jesus was in deep anguish because he knew what would happen to Judas. Jesus says earlier that night to Judas, “For the Son of Man must die, as the scripture declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”
That line is in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And in John it states Jesus was deeply troubled and he exclaims, “I tell you the truth one of you will betray me!” Then he tells Judas, “Hurry and do what you’re going to do.” I think that Jesus was truly disturbed by Judas’ betrayal. Jesus came to seek and save the lost and Judas was lost. Judas was so close to him for three years, the walked together, talked together, ate together, laughed together, worked together, and worshipped together, but now by Judas’ betrayal and denying Jesus Christ as the Messiah Judas chose to separate himself from Jesus for eternity!
Now Jesus being God and omnipotent knew that Judas would not be the only person who would act like a follower of Christ, work like a follower of Christ, call themselves a disciple of Christ, and fool the rest of the world that they knew Christ, who would not spend eternity with Jesus. Jesus knows so-called Christians will not all make it to heaven.
This is one thing that bothers me as a Pastor. I know that not every person who is a member of this church, helps this church grow, or listens to my sermon tonight will be with me in heaven someday, and that scares me. Because I have family and friends with me tonight. I care about so many of you and it breaks my heart to know some of you will go to hell because you chose not to know Jesus personally! I have a relationship with a lot of you, but most of our relationships are not that deep. Jesus Christ knows you on a more personal level than anyone else in this life, and the pain it must bring him each time another person betrays him and is sentenced to hell for eternity. Jesus loves you so much so very much that he endured the cross for you! And as we celebrate it tomorrow if Jesus had to each year, each day, he would gladly embrace the cross and take it up for you again. Just so that the two of you could spend eternity in heaven together!
That is the anguish I see on Jesus’ face. It is for all those who reject him and betray him. So tonight, who are you going to be? Will you be Judas and live your life close to Jesus and never know him? Or will you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ for eternity and make all the pain of the cross and the anguish that Jesus felt worth it? The choice is yours, just as it was Judas’.
Free Wil GOOD FRIDAYl
Gospel from the book of Mark chapter 15
Today is Good Friday. A day that we celebrate. But why do we celebrate a day that was the day humanities greatest injustice prevailed? Over 2000 years ago Jesus Christ the only human to walk this earth and live a perfect life was condemned to die on a cross. Many of us have heard this story before, some of us believe it, but we believe it on different levels. I want to know on what level do you believe the Good Friday Story?
We are going to watch a few clips from the Passion of Christ again tonight. I find it was quite difficult to cut out only a few clips in order to tell the whole story. It is quite a lot like picking out scripture. Hearing only a few lines our at most a chapter out of a book hardly explains the whole story. We are going to watch the scene where Jesus is whipped, then crowned, then a piece of him carrying the cross through the city, then watch him be nailed to the cross and set into place. I’m warning you this is quite graphic, and it may be hard to watch, and that’s good it should be.
Watch the clips from the Passion.
The whipping scene is very hard to watch, but there are some really good points in this scene. Who do you see walking through the crowd staring at Jesus? Satan. Satan thinks that he is winning and he is still trying to get Jesus to side with him. Yet Jesus choses not to. I feel this is another scene of Jesus exercising his Free Will. Have you ever thought about Jesus having free will before? I mean he is God and Man, and if Jesus is pat of the creator, would he really have free will? I believe without a doubt yes. Satan tempted Jesus in the desert at the start of Lent for forty days testing his free will. Jesus had the power before Pilate to call down the angels from Heaven and destroy anyone who stands in his way. Yet he chose not to. But why? Why choose to be tortured and humiliated by your own creation when since you are God and have the authority and power to make them submit? Because to God and his Son nothing is as precious as our free will. And Jesus would stop at nothing to keep his and our free will intact. That is why Jesus stood back up after his first round of whipping, (not scriptural but possible) and why he gladly embraced his cross! That is scriptural. That is why Jesus prayed for those who drove in the nails and separated his shoulder. He prayed for Caiaphas and the all those who falsely accused him. Jesus prayed for you and me.
When we watch the scenes that show Jesus getting his flesh ripped out, see him being flipped around on the cross, and watch as the nails drive through his hands and the blood pours through cross and off the back of the nail, it makes us feel something inside. It makes me feel sick for humanity. As I watched the actors who portrayed the Roman crucifiers as the laugh and sneer as Jesus cries in agony it makes me sick to my stomach. It makes me angry and as a man it makes me want to do the same thing to them! Yet, Jesus could have but chose not to. In the book of Revelation, we know that Jesus will come riding on a horse brandishing a sword and will fulfill justice, so we know that Jesus has the power and authority to take life, yet he choses not to now. Do you know what happens to one of the men who crucify Jesus? Mark 15:39 says this, “When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God.”” Jesus let them man beat him, humiliate him, and crucify him freely, because by the free will chose of the Roman officer he came to know Jesus!
Good Friday and all of Christianity is a story of Free Will, Mercy, Grace, and Forgiveness! Luke 23:34 “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!” Today is a day of Free Will. You chose to come here, except for Job, Canaan, and Nellie because they’re my kids and they had no choice. But the rest of you freely chose to come but many did not. Many chose to deny Christ and screamed crucify him. And many today chose to not accept him. They chose to not accept the fact that they are a sinner. They chose to not accept the fact that they are the ones who should have been whipped and crucified. It was our place to be on that cross not Jesus’!
Yet Jesus chose to take our place, and until you meet Jesus Christ at the foot of the cross like the Roman officer and accept the fact that you are the reason that Jesus suffered and was hung on the cross, then you will freely choose to mock him like the other romans.
So, what will you chose tonight? What will it be? Will you accept that you are the sinner and that you are the one who deserves to be on that cross? That you are the very one who held the nail as Jesus prayed for you? Will you use your Free Will the same way Jesus did to submit to the Father and ask for forgiveness? If you will then please pray with me now and get you saved!
Jesus you were pierced for our transgressions, you were crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brigs us peace was upon you, and by your wounds we are healed. Jesus, I understand that you love me so much. That you love me so much that you would willingly embrace the cross again and nail my sin to it again if you had to. Jesus I a sorry for my sin that fills my life. I ask that you will come into my life and let your blood that was spilt on that cross wash my sins away! Jesus, I accept that you truly are the Son of God and I ask you by my own free will to come and redeem me now. Thank You Jesus,
Justifying your sin is still sinning!
Last night Emily and I took our kids a few of their friends along to see the Newsboys concert in Dubuque. It was a lot of fun and the only thing I regret was letting the kids pick the seats because they went all the way to the top of the stands and of course had to go down 573 times during the concert to go to the bathroom or get a drink! We had a great time but yesterday was quite busy. We had the Boscobel invite wrestling tournament so we were at the tournament all day and we left right away so we could make it to the concert on time-ish. One problem when you take seven children along with you out of town after a long day is that you have to feed those children. So, we did the healthy thing, you know bought a couple bags of cheeseburgers, fries, and nuggets and then threw them to the back of the van. Well Emily got two extra drinks with our meal deal that we did and she handed me a drink cup. Last, I checked the pop dispenser doesn’t dispense milk or real orange juice. Both Emily and I gave up anything that the restaurant had to in the pop machine, so we ran over to the gas station.
While I was in the gas station I was very tired and I thought that I should just get a pop or an energy drink to stay awake. After all I had kids with me and needed to be able to stay awake and attentive. I thought well I have been really good, and I thought if I broke my lent promise for this reason it would be ok. Lent is only a tradition and not mandatory so what’s the big deal? So, I reached in the cooler and grabbed out a nice refreshing what? An orange juice for me and a chocolate milk for Emily. As I left the store a sermon idea hit me. I was really in my head justifying breaking my Lent promise. I told Emily about it and she agreed with her choice it has been really hard not to cheat or give in a little.
This got me thinking about how easy it is for us to justify our sin. We look at our lives and think well I have lived a pretty good life and I haven’t sinned much. This area of my life is just too hard and it will be ok to give in to this sin now. We look over at other people and think, well my sin isn’t as bad as them. Or as the lead singer of Newsboys said last night, “we judge others because they sin differently than us.” And all of a sudden, we find excuses for why we can sin, and why it is ok for us in our lives.
I want to warn you about how very dangerous this is to do. Justifying your sin. The effects of justifying your sin leads to hell on earth. It all started with eve and the apple. Eve listened to the snake and thought, well I want to be like God and know good an evil. Eve through her actions justified her sin and disobedience to God, and what happened she still sinned, and then death came to her.
When sin is justified anything is possible. Let’s talk about the Holocaust for a moment. Hitler believed in his heart without a doubt that what he was doing to the Jews was Ok and RIGHT! Hitler was an atheist and he thought that it was right and just to rid the world of the Jews and the lesser races. He became the judge and what he did was unimaginable. I was listening to one man explain the holocaust and one of the many things that the Nazi’s did to the Jews. In one account the Nazis dug huge trenches with bulldozers and lined up thousands of Jews in front of the holes. They then shot them so they would fall into the holes. A heavy equipment operator would then bulldoze the bodies in the hole. The story I heard was an account of someone who was there who said many of the people being buried were not yet dead. They were still screaming as the dozer filled in the hole.
This scenario is then put before you. If you were given a gun and told and told to shoot the Jews, would you? If you don’t someone else will, your government told you it was ok and right to do, and if you don’t shoot them they will shoot you. Now what? Can you justify your sin of taking another human life? Many Nazi’s did and look what it did. It brought Hell on earth and killed untold millions.
We can tell ourselves in our mind about anything to make it seem ok and right, but ultimately, we know that what the Nazi’s did was wrong. Because life is valued. I want to run this other scenario by you now. Picture this an old building is about to be blown up. There are signs marking that it is to demolished at 5am. The explosives were set from the outside of the building and soon it will be blown up. No one has checked to see if anyone is inside. No one has cleared the area around it to make sure no collateral damage is done. Yet they are going to tear it down anyway, because the owner of the property doesn’t want it. What would you do? Would you stop the demolition?
I ask this question because we live in a time when abortion is considered a woman’s right and we justify the taking of life to the individuals choice. Hitler did this and many followed him. The old building is like the young woman with the unplanned pregnancy. It’s early in the pregnancy, not sure if there is even life yet but they don’t want it so it’s there choice. It is not your building or your property but you value the life that may be inside of it so you try to stop the demolition. The holocaust was a horrible time in history and genocide. Abortion to date in the US has taken more life than the holocaust combined.
Justifying our sins, by giving into our own selfish wants and desires releases pure Hell on earth. God says follow my word. Satan says God didn’t really say that. The scripture I’ve chosen to use today comes from Ephesians and James and seems to contradict each other on the surface. But do your research and the actually wonderfully compliment each other.
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
We understand that nothing we have done in this life can give us salvation. Only Jesus Christ can offer us salvation. What Jesus Christ did on that cross, what he did not us. Jesus who did not deserve to punishment for our sins, put our sins on his back. That is why he said, my God, why have you forsaken me. Because when Jesus took on our sin, God had to separate himself from Jesus. The pain of sin that Jesus carried to the cross was much more painful then the nails and the beating. Jesus took our sins, and if when we choose to accept him into our lives then we receive salvation from his death.
Yet the book of James tells us much differently. And these two scriptures have been pinned against each other saying that they conflict. But the truth is that they do not conflict but rather they compliment.
21 Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. 23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. 24 So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.
When we have accepted that we are sinners and that we deserved to die not Jesus not that cross. Our attitude changes, and we are a new creation. Our old self is gone. And we “work out our salvation” by living how Christ wants us to live. We cannot earn our salvation by our works, but our works need to prove that we are saved! Our actions and our changed lives show the world that we are longer the same. We are convicted of our sin, and we don’t want to live that life anymore. And we continually work to rid ourselves of sin in our live, hence the phrase, “work out your salvation.” Remove as much sin from your life as possible to be a witness for Jesus Christ.
So, I challenge you this Lenten season with this. First if you have not already, accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and admit that you are a sinner. Accept your salvation from Jesus’ Christ death on the cross. Then second work out your salvation and remove as much sin from your life as possible.