Resurrection Sunday message

Let’s begin by reading John 20:1-10:

John 20:1-10:

The Empty Tomb

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

We just sang that wonderful hymn, Because He Lives

Think about it:

God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives;
But greater still the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain days because He Lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

And then one day, I’ll cross the river,
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain;
And then, as death gives way to vict’ry,
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

 

I wish to talk about what the resurrection means.

  1. Because of sin we have death. (Genesis 2:17; 3:19)
    1. We were created to live forever. All of you, all of us, we were created to live eternally. What do you think it means to be created in the image of God? It is not appearance, at least I don’t think it is appearance. I believe it is that we have emotions and God has emotions (Isaiah 66:13), I believe it is that we are physical and God is physical. I believe it is that we are spiritual and God is spiritual (Genesis 2:7; John 4:24). In Genesis 2:7 we find that God breathed into man the breath of life. I believe at this point God made us a spiritual being. We don’t see God doing this for the animals. This is only for humans. God created us to live forever.
    2. But God told them they can eat of any tree they wish to, but not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Or, they will die. (Genesis 2:17)
    3. All throughout the book of Genesis we find the emphasis that people die.
    4. But even in death, we were still created spiritually. We cannot just die like that.
    5. So, even in the Old Testament we have this term Sheol. This is the same as our word for Hades. This is a consequence of sin. (Genesis 37:35; 42:38; 44:29, etc.)
    6. How else are we to go to God? The Old Testament teaches that God is too pure to behold sin (Psalm 66:18: If I had cherished sin in my heart the Lord would not hear my prayer.)
    7. Romans 3:23 teaches us that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s standard.
    8. The Bible even says that we have placed a separation between God and us for the fact that we have sinned (Isaiah 59:2).
    9. In 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 the Bible says that those who do not know God will be punished. Yet, God loves us. God is just.

Just think about it this way, imagine this government leader guy, let’s call him Garcia.  Well, Garcia’s people are starving and food has been rationed.  One morning he learns that someone has been stealing from the food supply.  Garcia called the people together and told them of the missing food and then warned them that if the stealing did not stop and the thief was caught, he or she would be beaten until the point of death. The stealing did stop for a short time, but eventually the thief returned.  About a week later, Garcia’s lieutenant told Garcia that the thief had been caught the previous night. “Garcia,” he said. “The thief is your mother.” Garcia is in one of a dilemma.  He had said before with everyone as a witness, that the thief would be punished and that the punishment was death. He can’t go back on his word without going against his own authority. 

Well, you see, in the same way God says that He is unchanging and that He won’t change His mind (1 Sam. 15.29).  Well, He already declared that He will not let the guilty go unpunished (Ex. 34.7b) so, because we committed the crime we must face the consequences.  You see, God can’t tell a lie, or He wouldn’t be God (Num. 23.19).  It’s kind of like signing a contract.  What would you think of someone who signed a contract agreeing to do something for you, but never kept his end of the deal?  Personally, I’d never trust him again. His Word is His contract and He is bound by His own nature.  God can’t go back on His word without marring His character. We can see that Garcia is in a delimma and it kinda looks like God’s in a similar delimma.

Transition:  He can’t just forget the sin, so He must have come up with something to erase them completely.  This is where the “good” news comes in…

It is because of the cross and the resurrection that we can live eternally. Our sins are washed away.

  1. Because of Jesus, and the resurrection, we have life. (Romans 6:23 and 1 Cor. 15:55-57)

Look at two passages:

  1. Look at Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  2. Look at 1 Cor. 15:55-57: “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”
  3. The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
  4. We do not have to fear death anymore. We were created to live forever and under sin we would have to fear death because death brought judgment. But now, under Christ, we no longer have to fear death. Jesus took our punishment. We were created to live forever either in heaven or in hell. Because Jesus lives we will live eternally in paradise.
  5. Remember the hymn: Because He Lives?
  6. We have life. Our life would be in vain if it were not for the resurrection. I mean, yea we can live our best life now, but that is it. It is because of the resurrection that it is sweet to hold a newborn baby. As the hymn says, “This child can face uncertain days because He lives.”
  7. It is because Jesus lives that we can have a relationship with Him.
  8. How many of you have a relationship with George Washington? You can’t because George Washington is dead. Now, In Christ, if he knew Christ, he is still living eternally and we can as well.
  9. We can have a relationship with Jesus and many people do. How sweet to hold a newborn baby—knowing that baby can have a relationship with Jesus. The baby will have eternal life in Jesus. In Jesus the baby will not face life’s challenges alone.
  10. Tennent, the President of Asbury Theological Seminary said the following: “Buddhist travel to remains of Buddha, Muslims travel to Medina for remains of Muhammed but there is no place in the world you can travel to worship the remains of Christ!” (1Cor 15) We cannot do that because Jesus arose.
  11. The resurrection separates Christianity from other religion. Our Savior lives, we will live again. Death no longer has a sting.
  • This is the case with you, you can have eternal life in Jesus. You can have a relationship with Jesus.
    1. Where are you at in your life right now?
    2. Have you trusted in Jesus as Lord and Savior?
    3. Do you know that since He lives you will live eternally? Do you believe that?
    4. Do you know that your sins are washed away by Jesus?
    5. Do you know that you do not face life’s challenges alone?
    6. Is it the case for you that because Jesus lives you can face tomorrow?
    7. Think about this question: Does the resurrection give you hope?

The grave could not contain Jesus. The stone was rolled away and the stone was rolled away not to let Jesus out, but to let us in. The stone was rolled away so that we could see that He lives.

Do you know Jesus as Lord and Savior?

Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

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Our Savior Enters Jerusalem (Mark 11)

Opening:

The Savior Enters Jerusalem

Humility and Royalty, we like to contrasting things right? We like both of them. For example, many, many people watched when Prince William was married a few years ago. Remember Princess Diana. I think people liked Princess Diana because she was royal and humble. We like those things. We like strength with humility. We like someone who can save us, but also not act better than us, right? In Science fiction this is Superman, but in reality this is Jesus.

 

This year is a very important year. This is the year that Superman vs. Batman comes out in theatres. I have been eagerly waiting for this movie. Back in 2013 Superman Man of Steel came out and that was a good movie. I loved it! But I grew up under a different Superman. Actually, if you recall, three years ago I referenced the superman music that was so famous from the superman movies with Christopher Reeve.

 

Clip from superman II when superman flies and you hear the music and then he says “Zod, you care to step outside?”

 

I love that clip, that is so awesome! The next few minutes in the movie are great! It is exciting, we know that they are about to be rescued. I see the same idea when Jesus enters Jerusalem.

 

As I looked at this passage I was trying to think of a different theme, but I kept coming back to what I had talked about before. Four years ago, I preached this passage for Palm Sunday say that Jesus enters Jerusalem and the people are ready for a king. Today, I see the same idea. He enters in humility, but is worshipped. Later, Jesus is humble all the way to the cross.

 

My theme today is that our Savior Enters Jerusalem

Application: worship Him as Savior

 

Read Mark 11:1-11:

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”

They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go.When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it.Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,

“Hosanna![a]

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[b]

10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

 

  1. I know this is a familiar story, but try to think about it with fresh eyes.
    1. We need to try to read the Bible as if you have ever read it before. When this happens we will notice all kinds of new things.
    2. We notice where Jesus was coming from being Bethphage. That may not mean anything to us, but if we cross reference with the rest of the New Testament it will. It would have meant a lot to them.
    3. We can notice that in the first few verses Jesus’ disciples obeyed Him and went and got a colt.
    4. Then we see the parade in the following verses.
    5. Before we get there, it is important to make note that in the Gospel Mark Jesus’ Divinity is called a “Messianic secret.” Jesus would tell them not to tell anyone. An example of this is Mark 8:29-30. Peter had confessed Jesus as the Messiah and Jesus told him not to tell anyone about this. (Mark 1:43-45 is another example.)
    6. However, in this case Jesus allows people to worship Him. In this case He allows Himself to be known as King.
    7. Jesus is the authentic King, He is the True King. When I was twenty years old I was looking for a car. I was at a dealership and my dad showed up. I thought, “This is great, my dad is here and can co-sign.” I did not realize that that was not why he was there. My dad came to the dealership because a few weeks earlier my older brother bought a car at this dealership and traded in his old car. But when my brother traded in his old car he gave the dealership a fake title. Really. What happened was that my brother was making payments on his car to my dad and mom. When my brother turned 21 my dad declared the debt paid and gave him a title, but it wasn’t the real title. The real title was in my dad’s safe. My dad made a simple title on the computer. What is funny in this mess is that the dealership did not figure it out. My dad realized this was the case and brought in the real title.
    8. There are a lot of fake Messiahs. In fact, there had already been fake Messiahs in Judaism. But Jesus is authentic. There are people out there who promise eternity and all the answers. Just watch politicians. Jesus is Truth and He has the answer to eternity. When He came into Jerusalem the people recognized this.
  2. In verses 8-11 we find the parade. Jesus now makes His entrance.
    1. But He is going to enter riding on a donkey. Come on, you and I know that no one of importance rides on a donkey!!! A donkey! Well, to the Jewish people it was quite royal to ride on a donkey. In fact in 1 King 1:33 we see David having his son ride into town on his donkey.
    2. Now, to the Romans the donkey wouldn’t be anything of royalty. In fact, a few years ago I heard that while Jesus is riding into one end of Jerusalem on a donkey, Pilate of Rome was riding into the other end of Jerusalem on a war horse with soldiers. What a contrast. But Jesus is the real King.
    3. Now, they put coats on the donkey for Jesus to sit on and then they put coats and leafy or palm branches on the road. Spreading coats under a person was recognition of royalty.
    4. Now, this happens during Passover and Jewish hopes of a Savior ran high, so Rome, not wanting any trouble, had extra soldiers around.
    5. People in front and all around Jesus were shouting: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; blessed is the coming Kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!” This comes from Psalm 118:26. Hosanna is Hebrew and means “save us.”
    6. Someone wrote:

On Palm Sunday, my 5-year-old niece, Stephanie, sat on my lap while we listened to the pastor’s sermon. He described Jesus’ approach to Jerusalem and how the crowds cried, “Hosanna, Hosanna!” At that, Stephanie perked up and began to sing, “Oh, Hosanna, now don’t you cry for me!”

Brenda Fossum, Duluth, MN. Today’s Christian Woman, “Heart to Heart.”

 

  1. The people are ready for a Savior. They are worshipping Jesus as King. Now as they shout and worship the Lord this bothered some. It’s not listed in Mark, but John’s Gospel chapter 19:39-40 adds: Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”
  2. Jesus will be worshipped one way or another. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
  • The people worshipped Him then, are we worshipping Jesus now?
  1. The Romans weren’t worried and they shouldn’t have been. For less than a week later Jesus would hang on the cross and say, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
  2. Jesus, the King comes into Jerusalem, the people worship Him, the people were eager for a Savior.
  3. A few years ago, okay, maybe like twenty-two years ago, ESPN believed the Vinny Testeverde was the Savior for the Browns. He wasn’t and couldn’t have been. There is One Savior and He is not a sports player.
  • Let’s apply this a little more. We must think about the following:
    1. We must also worship Jesus as King.
      1. He is your king as well. The Romans missed this, the Jewish elite missed this. They missed that the King and Savior of the world is making His entrance. They missed it, you don’t have to.
      2. When you leave this place, leave in worship and leave in excitement. Praise God that He did enter Jerusalem on a donkey for if He hadn’t we wouldn’t be saved. He had to come to Jerusalem to die in our place. Worship Jesus as King!
    2. They were excited about Jesus entering Jerusalem, am I excited about Jesus in my life?
    3. Think about Jesus’ example. Jesus enters in humility and He goes all the way to the cross in humility. Live this example.

Author and educator, Howard Hendricks, sat in a plane that was delayed for take off. After a long wait, the passengers became more and more irritated. Hendricks noticed how gracious one of the flight attendants was as she spoke with them. After the plane finally took off, he told the flight attendant how amazed he was at her poise and self-control, and said he wanted to write a letter of commendation for her to the airline. The stewardess replied that she didn’t work for the airline company, but for Jesus Christ. She said that just before going to work she and her husband prayed together that she would be a good representative of Christ.

Doing it for Christ’s sake adds another dimension to submission. You are submitting not just to your employer or husband or parent, but to the Lord, because of your love and gratitude for him.

Lorne Sanny, “The Right Way to Respond to Authority,” Discipleship Journal (March/April 1982)

 

Can we humbly bow to Jesus in this way?

 

Clip from Superman II when Lex Luther and Zod think they beat Superman by making him a human again, but it is Superman playing the trick.

 

In reality, later during Holy Week they think that they defeat Jesus, by killing Him, but in killing Him we all win.

 

Jesus, our King, Our Savior, hailed as royalty right now, will humbly go to the cross and Win on our behalf. He did this for us.

 

Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

 

Rev. 3:7-13: Philadelphia, Patient Perseverence

Introduction:

Think with me today about patient endurance. Think with me about staying the course, holding fast to something. If we say that we must stick with something, then we how much can we take?

How Long Can We Endure in a Crisis?

How much can an adult endure? If you’re ever stranded in the wilderness, are caught in a burning building, or find that your scuba tank has run out of oxygen, remember these survival rules courtesy of National Geographic magazine:

  • Humans can survive for just 2 to 3 minutes without air, but with training it’s possible to hold your breath for 11 minutes.
  • Humans can survive for just 10 minutes at 300° F (children can only survive a few minutes at 120° F).
  • Humans can endure barely 30 minutes of exposure to 40° F water.
  • Humans can survive for up to 7 days without water.
  • Humans can survive for about 45 days without food.[1]

 

I don’t really know how they figured those numbers out. I really do not even want to know how they figured some of them out. But I like to hear stories about people who “stay the course.” I like to hear about people who persevere under trial. Take for example this story of one who finished the Boston Marathon, though late:

 

Long after the sun had set on the Boston Marathon, the official clock turned off, and the crowds had all but gone home, 39 year old Venezuelan, Maickel Melamed crossed the finish line around 4 A.M., 20 hours after the race began. What made Maickel’s race significant is that he suffers from a disease similar to muscular dystrophy, which meant he didn’t so much run the race as walk it. As he reflected on his accomplishment, Maickel stated, “In any marathon, you have to know why you’re doing it. Because in the last mile, the marathon will ask you.” Part of Maickel’s motivation came from wanting to honor Boston Children’s Hospital where he was treated as a child.[2]

 

I absolutely love stories like that! He kept with it and he did finish the race. This was the case even though he was at a severe disadvantage.

 

This is also the case for the church in today’s world as well as the church in Philadelphia. As we look at this church we see a theme of waiting. We see a theme of patient endurance.

 

So a theme:

In the letter to the church at Philadelphia we see a theme of Patient endurance.

An application for us is that we also must patiently endure this world as we wait for Jesus.

 

Let’s read the letter to the church at Philadelphia:

 

Revelation 3:7-13:

 

“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:

These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

 

Let’s look at the promises to the church in Philadelphia. They must have patient endurance. They must patiently endure and then they will receive these promises:

  • Their enemies will fall down before them (3:9)
    1. Notice that in verse 9. Those who are the synagogue of satan will fall down before them. We talked about the synagogue of satan with the church in Smyrna in Revelation 2:8-11.
    2. Smyrna was another of the good churches in Revelation. We know that the Christians in Philadelphia had been thrown out of the synagogue. It appears that the Jewish people had been aligning themselves with the Roman empire which would represent the fallen Babylonian system. In aligning themselves with Rome and all that they represent they are a synagogue of Satan.
    3. Jesus says that these people will recognize that Jesus really does love them. Jesus loves everyone. This goes back to the argument about who the real chosen people are. There were Jewish groups who thought they were it, they, and they alone, were chosen by God. But God had called the Jews to be a light to the Gentiles. When they didn’t do that, God still chose Gentiles. God is showing that He does love them.
  • They will be kept from the hour of trial (3:10)
    1. We see the idea of a time of trial here in verse 10. They have kept the Word of Jesus in persevering, so Jesus will also take care of them and keep them from the time of trial.
    2. Scholars debate whether this means the tribulation period as we think of and this means that Jesus will take them up to be with Him. 1 Thess. 4:16-18 is a reference to the tribulation period: For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
    3. It appears to me that this verse leads us to believe that Jesus will take us up with Him. But this may not have to do with the 7 year tribulation period. Christians have been persecuted through the years and continue to be and Jesus tells us to patiently endure.
    4. Regardless of what this means—this church is called to patiently endure.
    5. Sometimes hard time can help us grow:

The albatross, a majestic seabird with the longest wingspan of any bird, spends eighteen months at sea, touching down only on water, losing their ability to make smooth earth-landings. Returning to nest and lay eggs, they come in like drunken sailors, tumbling, skidding, crashing, earning these regal birds the epithet gooney birds.

These powerful seabirds spread enormous wings, sometimes reaching an eleven-foot span, and glide above turbulent seas. They need storm-strong wind currents to keep them aloft. In calm seas, they are virtually unable to get airborne. Consistently smooth weather conditions prevent albatross migration from the Southern Hemisphere.

Storms will come for us, too. Like the albatross, we need the storms. Our intended wing, our high desire for God, will be tested and developed in strong winds and troubled waters. I eagerly expect and hope that God will enable me to ride the turbulence and learn the currents of grace. Riding on currents of grace doesn’t preclude stumbles, skids, or nosedives. Though I want to soar, maybe God will make me, like the albatross, fruitful even after a crash landing.[3]

  • They will become pillars in the Temple of God (3:12a).
    1. In beginning of verse 12 they are told that they will be Pillars in the Temple of God.
    2. Now, this is after verse 11 which tells them to hold fast.
    3. They must stay the course and then they will be a pillar in the new temple.
    4. Think about this it was common in their day for names to inscribed in the pillars in the temples. But in this case, they will be the pillars. This means that they will be a part of the temple. They will never leave the temple. That is awesome.
    5. But this is more than that. In Revelation 21 we find out that there is no temple in the New Jerusalem. This is because the whole city is the holy of Holies. How can you see the Temple when you are in it? They are in the Temple, they are pillars of the Temple, they are always in the Holy of Holies.
  • They will be given new names (3:12b–13)
    1. This is awesome.
    2. A name had to do with who one was. This has to do with belonging to God and the new Jerusalem.
    3. When they patiently endure they are awarded with God’s presence and service as priests. (Rev. 1:6) In chapter one they are called to be priests. They are awarded with forever presence in the new Jerusalem.
  • Last details: there is a lot in this passage that I did not reference.
    1. In Rev. 3:7-8 we find out about Jesus and that He can open and no one can shut and He can shut what no one can open. Remember in Revelation 1:18 Jesus said that He has the keys to death and hades.
    2. This is saying that Jesus can bring them out of fallen Babylon. Jesus can bring them to the New Jerusalem. We are saved from the fallen Babylon. Jesus has the keys of David. This could be a reference to the eternal throne of David. But also a reference to Isaiah 22:22: I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.
    3. Jesus has all authority (Matt. 28:18).
    4. There are more details about the geography and background of Philadelphia, things such as that they were prone to earthquakes and they were named after Attalus II devotion to his brother. You can find out more in a study Bible.

 

Patient perseverance, we must also persevere and stick with Jesus.

 

In her book, A Place of Healing, author Joni Eareckson Tada reflects on “normal”: “Relief from chronic pain—even though I remain paralyzed—would be blissfully, peacefully, joyously ‘normal’ for me these days … and all I could ask for. I don’t remember where I saw the following Mary Jane Iron quote, but it comes pretty close to my take on ‘normal’:

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are … Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in my pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.

Joni continues, “That’s my take on normal. Come to think of it, I’m not even a ‘normal’ quad. I have now exceeded the expected lifespan of a person with my level of injury and paralysis. The bare, unadorned fact is this: Many people in my condition simply don’t live as long as I have lived. So my thoughts haven’t been so much on picking up the old life on my feet I left behind in 1967, as much as stepping into the new life and body that await me.”[4]

 

How is that for perseverance?

 

You know what? She served the Lord that whole time as well. Can we?

 

Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

[1] Temptation—How long can you hold on when tough trials come into your life?

Lesley Alderman, The Book of Times (William Morrow, 2013), page 311

[2] Stephen Nordbye; source: Evan Allen, “Marathon provides a lesson: Inspiring guys can finish last” Boston Globe (4-22-15)

[3] Adapted from Jean Fleming, Pursue the Intentional Life (NavPress, 2013), page 44

 

[4] Joni Eareckson Tada, A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty (David C. Cook, 2010), p. 38; submitted by Van Morris, Mt. Washington, Kentucky

Running and the Christian Life

A few weeks ago I was running and it was a very windy day. We were running in the country, as we would climb hills the wind got worse. I found myself being angry at the wind. I actually even wanted to yell at the wind, “stop it!” But in the end, you just got to keep running, you got to keep moving. I think that is the case in the Christian life. The devil attacks (Eph. 6:10-12), temptation comes. Those attacks provide resistance and try to make us give up or knock us down but we have to keep going we can’t give up. Press on. See 2 Tim. 2:1-7 and 1 Cor. 9

1 Cor. 9:24-27

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Wake up, Sardis is told to wake up, Rev. 3:1-6

Oh, what is that noise? Hmmm. I wonder how this alarm got up here??? Well, let me turn it off. Do you still ever use an alar clock? I don’t have to much because usually my children wake me up, but if I want to run early or have an early meeting, I will set an alarm or three. When I was a McDonald’s manager I had to be at work at O’dark-thirty and so I would set three alarms and one of them I actually had to get up and walk to turn off. If I was late for work they would be in the parking lot waiting to get in as I had the keys.

 

I bet you have other tricks, better tricks for waking up.

 

I have tried to time the coffee maker to go off and start making coffee when I need to get up, that helps a little.

 

The church at Sardis is exhorted to wake up! This is very, very interesting because the church at Sardis has a history of sleeping through bad things, very bad things. In 549 B.C. Cyrus the Persian conquered Sardis by scaling the wall. See, they thought they were safe because they lived high up in the cliffs. So, if invaders were coming, they just all went inside and they could sleep. But you would think one time would teach them a lesson, no, the same thing happened again later on. A second time, they were attacked, they slept, the invaders scaled the wall and they were conquered. Wow! How often do we think we are okay and we are not okay.

 

Does this ever happen spiritually? We think we are okay, but we are giving the devil a foothold (Eph. 4:27), ignoring temptation, lacking in our relationship with God.

 

My theme today is:

 

Sardis, wake up and persevere!

 

My application is for us to wake up, remember our salvation and persevere in the faith.

 

Let’s read Rev. 3:1-6:

 

“To the angel of the church in Sardis write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits[b] of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

 

 

  1. Wake up! Remember your salvation (Verses 2-3)
    1. This is an application. Some of us, maybe many—- maybe all of us— yes, all of us. We need the spiritual alarm clock. We need to wake up.
    2. Look at this. In verse 1, Jesus holds the seven stars, this means that He holds the seven churches. In verse 1, Jesus holds the Seven Spirits. This likely means that He has the fullness of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit proceeds from Jesus, though in chapter 4, He proceeds from God, the Father.
    3. Going further in verse 1: they have a reputation of being alive, but they are dead.
    4. How many of us like to seem fake? How many of us get frustrated when we work with people who lack integrity?
    5. How many of us like that to be said of us?
    6. I have heard that a problem with pornography is that they are not real women. Seriously, pornography, actually even the pictures on the magazine covers at the store that is not real pornography, though it should be, it is all fake. Some of those pictures are even a composite of the best of a few women. Professionals actually adjust features and then an innocent teenage girls sees that and thinks she needs to look like that. A young man sees that and thinks that is what a woman should be. But it is fake.
    7. Sardis was fake. They are exhorted to wake up and make their inside match their outside.
    8. Don’t just look like a Christian, be a Christian.
    9. How are you? Are you real?
    10. I can’t, I really can’t tell you how to apply that. It is internal. Okay, so I could say:
      1. Be nice to people
      2. Have integrity
      3. Show love to someone
      4. Give up something for the rest of Lent
      5. Quit cussing
      6. Don’t gossip on Facebook, or in the church hallway, or on the phone, or anywhere else
      7. Buy someone’s lunch this week
      8. Install on internet filter so you don’t look at pornography.
      9. Tell your wife you love her
      10. Kiss your kids and grandkids
      11. Tell your kids that you love them
        1. Those are all good applications, but they are all on the outside. Sardis was fine on the outside. Sardis looked like a saint.
        2. Also, we aren’t saved by works, but grace (Eph. 2:8-10).
        3. How are you on the outside?
        4. How are you on the inside? The inside matters most.
        5. Turn to Psalm 51:12: Restore to me the joy of your salvationand grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
        6. This is a repentant Psalm. David is repenting of his sin with Bathsheba and he prays that God restores to him the joy of his salvation.
        7. I think that is what Sardis is told as well. Jesus says remember how you were saved.
        8. I think that is our best application. Remember. Recall. Meditate on the day, the season of your salvation.
        9. Maybe as you do this you will think and think and realize that you have been trusting in good works for salvation and that you need to quit trusting in good works. Give your life to Jesus.
        10. Don’t only think about your salvation, think of the joy of your salvation. Ask God to renew that joy.
        11. Application: spend 30 minutes this week thinking about your salvation and how you are saved. Some ideas to find this time:
          1. Turn the radio off in the car and think, or reflect, as you drive.
          2. Get up early and pray asking God to remind you of the joy of your salvation and then just be quiet.
          3. Stay up late and pray about this.
          4. Spend time at lunch.
          5. Simply journal about this.
          6. Meet with a friend and talk about this.
        12. Another application is to keep going, persevere following the Lord, there is encouragement (verses 4-5).
          1. There were a few on Sardis who were good. Jesus says that had not soiled their garments. This means they weren’t impure, they weren’t fake.
          2. Jesus says for these that overcome we are to have white garments. White garments in the Bible symbolize purity. Jesus says that he will confess our name to the Father.
  • That is absolutely awesome!
  1. So, praise God! As you reflect, persevere in your Christian life.
  2. It may be that you are staying true to the Lord, It may be that your heart matches your actions, great, stay true. Persevere.

 

Close:

 

Alarm clock goes off.

Oh, sorry, I have to set alarms to remember things.

 

This alarm is reminding me to remind you to stay true to the Lord. Think, remember your salvation. Ask the Lord to encourage you with your salvation.

 

Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray