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"It is finished"

Love Ran Red  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Jesus finished his work, our atonement, but it is not over.

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John 19:30 NIV84
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

It is Friday in Jerusalem and a huge crowd has gathered at the place called Skull Hill. It was on the north side of the city, just outside the Damascus Gate, and located by the side of a well-traveled road. The Romans liked to hold their crucifixions in public places. Killing people in public had a salutary effect on the masses.
This particular crucifixion started at 9 A.M. For three hours everything proceeded normally. Then at exactly 12 noon, the sky went black. Not overcast, but pitch black, so black that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. It wasn’t anything normal like an eclipse. The darkness seemed to pulse and throb, almost like the darkness was a living thing, an evil mutant creature escaped from some science fiction movie.
Only this was no movie. What happened was real. For three hours darkness fell across the city of Jerusalem. There were screams, hideous cries, moans, and other unidentifiable sounds. Then, just as suddenly as it started, the darkness lifted, disappeared, vanished, and sanity returned to the earth.
One glance at the middle cross made it clear that this man Jesus would not last much longer. He looked dead already. His body quivered uncontrollably, his chest heaving with every tortured breath. The soldiers knew from long experience that he wouldn’t make it to sundown.
Then it happened. He shouted something—"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Someone in the crowd shouted back to him. Moments passed, death drew near, then a hoarse whisper, “I thirst.” The soldiers put some sour vinegar on a sponge and lifted it to his lips with a stalk of hyssop. He moistened his lips and took a deep breath. If you listened you could hear the death rattle in his throat. He had less than a minute to live.
Then he spoke again. It was a quick shout. Just one word. If you weren’t paying attention, you missed it in all the confusion. Then he breathed out another sentence. Then he was dead.
The Gospel of John records it this way:
John 19:30 NIV84
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
What was that shout? In Greek it is only one word …

Tetelestai

… “It is finished.”
Jesus didn’t say, I’m finished. no he said IT IS FINISHED. That is finished. Tetelestai.
This was a victory proclamation…not a word of defeat it is finished, but a victorious proclamation IT IS FINISHED!
That leaves us with a very important question. What is the IT?
We might think, it is the suffering, his punishment, his life. But all those would be defeats.
It refers to his purpose.
John 17:4 NIV
I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.
It is his purpose.
What was the work of Jesus? First to reconcile man back to God.
Each one of us is born with a love for sin. We love it. we might hate the sin we do, but our senses and nature seems drawn to it. That’s part of what happened to us at the curse in the Garden of Eden. That’s the curse of sin that each person is born with. Babies too? YES. Babies are born into sin. Think about it, do you have to teach a baby to be selfish? To have temper tantrums? no, they learn it on their own…our fallenness is that each one of us is born into sin that puts us outside a relationship with God.
Jesus finished this reconciliation. As Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians, that the sin of the first man Adam brought death, the death of the perfect son brought life.
His death, spiritually healed the fracture in the spiritual relationship between God and creation.
His death, spiritually healed the fracture in the spiritual relationship between God and creation.
But this cosmic effect of sin isn’t all that Jesus finished. No.
You see, try as I might to walk with Jesus, I seem to sin every day. I try to pray, read scripture, love God and my neighbor, but I fail. Some days more than others, and Jesus came and died for everyone of my short comings. Yours too. That’s what it means that he died as a propitiation for my, your, sin.
Propitiation, That’s a big preachy word. What does it mean?
In Jewish law, you had to present sin offerings on a regular basis. It was intended to teach us the importance of sin. Generally, we believe that what I do doesn’t really affect anyone else but me so what’s the big deal. God wanted us to understand that we don’t live in a vacuum, but our sin has real effects. It affects other people and it affects God. In order to help us understand this cost, he directed his people to make regular sin offerings. It wasn’t meant to send you into poverty, but everyone sins, therefore everyone was expected to make these offerings. The offerings were based on your ability so that everyone could take part.
If you were super poor, a few grains of wheat.
If you were poor, 2 doves or pigeons $0.50-5.00
If you were middle class, a goat or sheep $2-300
Upper middle class, a calf or steer $7-800+
Jesus did more than finish it, he completed it.
Wealthy church leader, a bull $2000+
Everyone was responsible, so everyone was expected to make a sin offering.

1 sin $400, 2 sins $800, 3 sins $1,200, 4 sins $1,600...

Think about if we did this. Now we are middle class folks, so we woudl be in the goat, sheep, calf, steer range. We could say a reasonable thing for us would be say $400 offering.
Now, think of the sins you committed this week. Count them. Now, take the number of sins and multiply it by $400, the cost of our sheep, goat, calf, steer. Then when it’s time in the service for our offering, just put that in the plate. Next week, you can count your sins ahead of time and bring that with you.
This is the way God set it up. Not to make us holy, but to show us how pointless it is for us to try. Do you understand that this was a never ending process?
But Jesus said IT IS FINISHED. The word Tetelestai means much more than finishing. it means completed. To pay something in full. Like when you pay off your house. That’s what jesus did, he paid our debt in full.

Jesus did more than finish it, he completed it.

Paul said it this way in
Romans 4:24–25 ESV
but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
Jesus came, and in his death, he gave us a new calculus. He became our sin offering. In this, God accounted all our sin against his death. Jesus didn’t just finish the suffering…he didn’t just provide a way for us to be reconciled to God, he completed the offering. His offering was a completion.
Jesus came, and in his death, he gave us a new calculus. He became our sin offering. In this, God accounted all our sin against his death. Jesus didn’t just finish the suffering…he didn’t just provide a way for us to be reconciled to God, he completed the offering. His offering was a completion.

It is finished, but it is NOT OVER.

Jesus did more than finish it, he completed it.
It is finished, but it is NOT OVER.
But, some people live their lives like Jesus didn’t accomplish anything. Some folk who love God,
They live their lives like Private Ryan. You saw the movie right? If not, let me tell you. Private Ryan was one of 4 brothers in WW2. His brothers died on D-day or soon after, so the military leadership determined to send him home. But they didn’t know where he was. They sent Captain Miller to lead a squad of soldiers to find him and get him to safety so he could go home. This is the end of the movie
Watch this.
I don’t know if you heard it or not but when the captain died he told Private Ryan to earn it. That’s a tough burden isn’t it for dying words. To live your life with the burden of knowing all the people who sacrificed their lives for you and someone tells you to live your life as to earn their sacrifice? At the end of the movie, we see the older Private Ryan standing at the grave cross with a quivering voice saying he tried the best he could every day to earn their sacrifice.
Many of us live our lives this way, trying to earn Jesus’s death. Why do we do this? For many of us we have a hard time letting someone else pay our penalty. But we didn’t get to decide. Jesus Jesus says it is finished. We don’t have to earn anything. Our debt is paid in full.
That’s not all though. It’s complete, Jesus completed his work; but there is more. Jesus finished it, but it’s not over.

It is finished, but it is NOT OVER.

But it’s not over. Because he paid our way to enter into a new life a life of partnering with God in bringing in the Kingdom of God. That when we trust in him, confess our sins, we begin to live toward the kingdom of heaven.
What is the kingdom of God?
It’s like cooking dinner. When you finish cooking, dinner isn’t over. You still have to eat it; then you have to wash the dishes; then you have leftovers. The work is done when you cook it, but it’s not over.
Matthew 4:17 NLT
From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
What is the kingdom of God?
It’s like cooking dinner. When you finish cooking, dinner isn’t over. You still have to eat it; then you have to wash the dishes; then you have leftovers. The work is done when you cook it, but it’s not over.
That’s how we understand the Kingdom of Heaven coming on earth as it is in heaven that we pray in the lords prayer. God’s kingdom is now…Jesus is Lord. But not yet, because we are to be at work bringing about the reconciliation that Jesus made available. Not judging the world, but telling the world that God loves them and his son Jesus died for them.
That’s how we understand the Kingdom of Heaven coming on earth as it is in heaven that we pray in the lords prayer. God’s kingdom is now…Jesus is Lord. But not yet, because we are to be at work bringing about the reconciliation that Jesus made available. Not judging the world, but telling the world that God loves them and his son Jesus died for them.
We each have a part in it. And our part is unfinished. How do I know you have unfinished work? No I didn’t come by your office and see your desk. No I didn’t hack into your google calendar. No I didn’t park next to you and see all the coffee cups in your car. No people didn't’ tell me what you are supposed to be doing. I know you have unfinished business because you are still alive.
It’s finished, but it’s not over.

What do you have unfinished?

____________________________________________
So think about it. What has God called you to that you know you need to work on?
Is it a person you need to forgive or accept their forgiveness?
Is it a task or a ministry that you see is neglected and needs your attention?
Is it a calling that you need to take up, meaning you need to put some other things down so you can focus on what God is calling you to do?
Are you ready? Are you ready to get started. I am usually able to get pretty excited about this sort of thing. I get excited knowing that God wants to use me. Seriously. Do you know what I’ve done? He still wants to use me? If he is willing to use me, then he is ecstatic to use someone like ___________.
What will it take to move toward completion?
It’s finished, but it’s not over.
What is God trying to do through you? What will it take to move toward completion?

First, a commitment

If we want to accomplish anything it starts with making a commitment to do it. Jesus had to do this. You remember him praying in teh garden...
Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.
Luke 22:42 NIV84
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
But God didn’t take it from him. And Jesus accepted that his will would be done.
Usually we think those things are a good idea, but we haven’t made a real commitment to do them.
It’d be great if I learned Spanish so I could communicate better with our neighbors, but i have to commit to doing the hard work.
It’d be great if I understood the bible better, but i have to first make a commitment to studying it in order to actually understand it.
It’d be great if I had a better relationship with, my spouse, son, daughter, mom, dad, boss, etc…sure it’s a great idea, but I have to commit to reaching out first.
I could go on and on with examples right. These things are unfinished most times because we haven’t made the right commitment.
It’s finished, but it’s not over.

Deciding to do something is often a very difficult necessary first step. But it is only the first one. You still haven’t done anything. Now you have to take a step.

Then, a step

Then, a step

This taking a step is really about being obedient to God really. It’s about trusting God. You see God is on the move. We are called disciples you know. Followers. Well if God is on the move we ought to be as well.
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Galatians 5:25 NIV84
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
You can do this. How do I know? because God has called you to it. And Jesus said you could.
Jesus told his followers, that he would send us God’s Holy Spirit to live in us.
John 14:12–14 NIV84
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
It’s finished, but it’s not over.
You can forgive him.
You can serve her.
You can start over.
You can love her after what she said.
You can make a difference in her life.
You can finish that degree.
You can love him again after what he did.
You can be successful.
You can do it.
Our church can make a difference.
Our church can change this community.
Because you are a part of it and God wants to do something amazing through you that he won’t do through any one else.
WE can, not because we are that great, but because God is.
It’s finished, but it’s not over.

So, what’s your NEXT STEP? _____________________________

So, what’s your NEXT STEP? ____________________________________________

Maybe it is to make a commitment.
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.
Maybe it is to figure out the first step.
Maybe it is to take the last step.
We do all this not to earn God’s forgiveness....NO it is finished. Jesus paid it on the cross. our debt is PAID IN FULL.
However, It’s finished, but it’s not over.
Acts 20:24 NIV84
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.
It’s finished, but it’s not over.
The pastor stands behind the Lord's table.
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
It is right, and a good and joyful thing,      always and everywhere to give thanks to you,
Father Almighty (almighty God ), creator of heaven and earth.
In love you made us for yourself;      and when we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death,      your love remained steadfast.
You bid your faithful people cleanse their hearts      and prepare with joy for the Easter feast,      that, renewed by your Word and Sacraments      and fervent in prayer and works of justice and mercy,      we may come to the fullness of grace      that you have prepared for those who love you.
And so, with your people on earth and all the company of heaven      we praise your name and join their unending hymn:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,      heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,      heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Holy are you, and blessed is your Son Jesus Christ,      whom you sent in the fullness of time to redeem the world.
Holy are you, and blessed is your Son Jesus Christ,      whom you sent in the fullness of time to redeem the world.
He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant,      being born in our likeness.
He humbled himself and became obedient unto death,      even death on a cross.
He took upon himself our sin and death and offered himself,      a perfect sacrifice for the sin of the whole world.
By the baptism of his suffering, death, and resurrection      you gave birth to your Church,      delivered us from slavery to sin and death,      and made with us a new covenant by water and the Spirit.
On the night in which he gave himself up for us, he took bread,      gave thanks to you, broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said:
"Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me."
When the supper was over he took the cup,      gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples, and said:
"Drink from this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant,      poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."
And so, in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,      we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving      as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ's offering for us,
And so, in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,      we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving      as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ's offering for us,
as we proclaim the mystery of faith.
Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here,      and on these gifts of bread and wine.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here,      and on these gifts of bread and wine.
Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ,      that we may be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by his blood.
By your Spirit make us one with Christ,      one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world,      until Christ comes in final victory, and we feast at his heavenly banquet.
By your Spirit make us one with Christ,      one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world,      until Christ comes in final victory, and we feast at his heavenly banquet.
Through your Son Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church,      all honor and glory is yours, almighty Father, now and for ever.
Amen.
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