Life & Love of Christ Pt. 1
1. I’d like to welcome you all to True Worship Church and let you know we are excited to have you here today.
We start a brand new series today titled, “The Life and Love of Christ.” I want to share with you about how Jesus’ life and love has transformed so many of us and created a movement to transform the world. So over the next 3 weeks, you want to make sure you are in the house to hear why Jesus’ story is such good news for all who hear it.
The story of Jesus and the resurrection is all about redemption and reconciliation. People call this week Holy Week because of all that Jesus went through leading up to His death on the cross. Sadly, too many remember Jesus’ sacrifice for the world and mankind during this week alone. Every week should be our Holy Week. 1 week to dedicate to holiness does Jesus an injustice and lowers the significance of what He did for us.
This leads to what I want to talk to you about today. I want to tell the story of Jesus but in a different way. I’ve been thinking for weeks of how I was going to preach this message because this is like the Super Bowl of Sundays for churches all over the world because this is the Sunday that most people will come. People who are not saved will visit churches with friends and family. Christians do the most inviting for this Sunday. People who are saved will most likely if they don’t regularly attend church, will come back to visit on Easter. Some people like to come to church on Easter because they want to dress up really nice and see what colors they can wear and get away with because its Easter.
The Bible is full of stories and it should be read that way. Jesus life of His birth, miracles, travels, death, burial and resurrection is all part of His story. His time in prayer, His fasting, His disappointments with people and even His issues with ministry. He said, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done."
Anybody in ministry, have you ever asked God if there is another way. Am I supposed to be doing this, how much more of this can I take, I’m not sure you’ve called me to do this?
Understanding the story, helps you with perspective. We can read stories in the Bible all the time without looking at the whole picture.
I want to take a different look at the is story today to see if there is something new to see.
I want to show you a picture. Put up the picture for me. (Picture of Jesus on the cross)
Powerful picture of God’s life and love right there.
His life poured out for all of us. He died and He didn’t have to but He chose to. Why? To show how much we are loved. He said in that picture that you and I were worth dying for. If you’ve never seen love in action, it’s right there!
But I also see this picture focused only on Jesus and His story but something amazing happens in that changes the focus altogether.
Let’s read: NASB 39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was [l]hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the [m]Christ? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving [n]what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come [o]in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
3 Crosses (Trading Places)
3 Crosses (Trading Places)
Jesus brings us into His story. His story now becomes our story. So instead the pic of only Jesus, we should see our story in Jesus with this pic.
Jesus was on the cross with 2 criminals.
We tend to forget Jesus dies as He lived in the company of bad people.
We can’t just show the cross with Jesus on it. We need to show 3 crosses.
Jesus died with prisoners. He died with people He hung out with.
This is why the church really needs to do some soul searching because we have a tendency to want to be around people that are like us. But that’s not the church.
The church is a place that people from all walks of life come to learn how to be more like Jesus.
So, we’ve got 3 convicts up there on the cross because only bad people get crucified right?
We know there were 2 thieves on the cross but what about the third one?
We need to talk about this 3rd thief.
Yep, that’s right. I called Jesus a thief too!
The thief that was supposed to be up there with the other two criminals was Barabas but Jesus steals his spot and takes his place.
Jesus steals his place to die just like he stole ours to steal our hearts.
There are so many other instances of Jesus’ thieving ways. Stealing blindness from those who couldn’t see, stealing deafness and disease, stealing hopelessness, stealing lameness from those who could not walk, stealing hunger from thousands with 5 loaves and 2 fish, stealing guilt and shame of our past lives and last but not least, stealing death and the grave!
Jesus was the biggest thief there was! Because He was the only one in the world qualified to steal to what He stole.
Somebody give Jesus some praise!
So, we’ve got 3 bad on the cross but one becomes good. One of the thieves asks to go be with Jesus in the Kingdom and Jesus says, “You will be with me in Paradise.”
So, the 1st convert in heaven was a criminal!
Jesus was still ministering on the cross. He was still winning souls on the cross!
Even on the cross Jesus says come with me. Every opportunity in life is an opportunity to win someone to Christ no matter how bad it gets.
Jesus is dying on the cross and still loves and forgives someone and promises them eternity with Him in Paradise. In Greek, (paradeisos) paradise means a garden. So Jesus promises the thief an Eden like place where everything he needed would be provided despite his past life and misdeeds!
Let’s continue to look at story of Jesus on the cross.
Jesus the Singer
Jesus the Singer
1. We can picture Jesus doing a lot of things. We can picture him walking, talking, maybe making cabinetry or making something with wood. We can picture Jesus discipling, teaching the disciples and we can see Jesus preaching to the masses.
But can you picture Jesus singing??? Throughout all scripture do you recall Jesus ever singing a song.
There is a book in the Bible full of songs called the Book of Psalms that we read and recite but they are really intended to be sung.
Part of Jesus’ story is that He sang too!
In , Jesus is about to lay down His life. He is about to die on the cross but before He dies, He does something strange.
Let’s read My God My God – Song of (Reminder of what was happening)
45Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. 46About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKENME?”
Jesus does something we all have done before. Have you ever tried to tell someone about a song but you don’t know the name of it so you start singing parts of it.
Jesus does that here. On the cross, dying and in excruciating pain, He starts to sing a song!
Now you need to know this if you don’t know already.
Crucifixion was the worse way to be punished because not only was it designed to kill you. It was designed to kill you over time, over a matter of several days.
Your body would be totally exposed for a reason. People would watch and taunt you.
Your body would go through all types of changes because your body would lose all of its bodily function so you would have moments to uncontrollable shaking & twitching, loss of bodily fluids and feces. People would just watch to see your body do some pretty gruesome and disgusting things.
The vultures would come and start feasting on your body. It was the worse way to die.
So when Jesus says, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” He Is a reminding the Jews and His followers what was happening.
· Jews memorized the 1st 5 books from ages 6-10 years old.
· After that, they learned and understood the books of the prophets
· From ages 14-30, they would select a Rabbi
They were very well versed in scripture.
Jesus sings a song. This song is from . Jews didn’t recite the Psalms, they chanted them.
We won’t sing them, but I do want to end our message today by reading through this chapter together to see what Jesus wanted to tell them.
Let’s read it together (Please stand).
My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
-The Jews who heard this would have immediately drew heir attention to this book and chapter and think about what the Psalm was about. [b]Far from my deliverance are the words of my [c]groaning. 2 O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but [d]I have no rest. 3 Yet You are holy, O You who [e]are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. 4 In You our fathers trusted; They trusted and You delivered them. 5 To You they cried out and were delivered; In You they trusted and were not [f]disappointed.
6 But I am a worm and not a man, A reproach of men and despised by the people. 7 All who see me [g]sneer at me; They [h]separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying, 8 “[i]Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.”
-Jesus had just gone through the very thing He’s singing in this Psalm
9 Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb; You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts. 10 Upon You I was cast from [j]birth; You have been my God from my mother’s womb.
11 Be not far from me, for [k]trouble is near; For there is none to help. 12 Many bulls have surrounded me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me. 13 They open wide their mouth at me, As a ravening and a roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water,
-Jesus was as a man experiencing total hopelessness and loss
-it couldn’t get any worse because he could see no light at the end of the tunnel experiencing this form of torture
And all my bones are out of joint;
-the way they were hung on the cross caused their bones to protrude and stick out in different places because of their body weight and gravity pulling them down. My heart is like wax; It is melted within [l]me.
- Jesus didn’t die of the crucifixion, He died of a broken heart
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws;
-Jesus had just been beaten prior to this and the whip they used was braided leather with broken sharp pieces of bone woven in to the braids with metal weights on the ends.
-when they hit you, it would take flesh and muscle exposing your bones
-this would cause your body to start drawing fluids to vital organs to try to keep you alive which would make you very thirsty
- Jesus had loss so much blood that He had low blood pressure – this is why He couldn’t carry His cross. He was too weak.
And You lay me [m]in the dust of death. 16 For dogs have surrounded me; [n]A band of evildoers has encompassed me; [o]They pierced my hands and my feet.
-Jesus is again quoting from a book the things happening to Him which was written long before He hung on the cross
17 I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; 18 They divide my garments among them,
And for my clothing they cast lots.
-didn’t the guards split his garments in to 4 parts and cast lots for His tunic?
19 But You, O Lord, be not far off; O You my help, hasten to my assistance. 20 Deliver my [p]soul from the sword, My only life from the [q]power of the dog.
- Dogs are mentioned here again
- the flesh would rot being in the sun for days and vultures eating away from the bones, the bones would then fall to the ground to the dogs
21 Save me from the lion’s mouth; From the horns of the wild oxen You answer me.
Things Shift Here
MSG: Here’s the story I’ll tell my friends when they come to worship, and punctuate it with Hallelujahs: Shout Hallelujah, you God-worshipers; give glory, you sons of Jacob; adore him, you daughters of Israel. He has never let you down, never looked the other way when you were being kicked around. He has never wandered off to do his own thing; he has been right there, listening.
25-26 Here in this great gathering for worship I have discovered this praise-life. And I’ll do what I promised right here in front of the God-worshipers. Down-and-outers sit at God’s table and eat their fill. Everyone on the hunt for God is here, praising him. “Live it up, from head to toe. Don’t ever quit!”
27-28 From the four corners of the earth people are coming to their senses, are running back to God. Long-lost families are falling on their faces before him. God has taken charge; from now on he has the last word.
29 All the power-mongers are before him —worshiping! All the poor and powerless, too —worshiping! Along with those who never got it together —worshiping!
30-31 Our children and their children will get in on this As the word is passed along from parent to child. Babies not yet conceived will hear the good news— that God does what he says.
So, there you have it! The good news! Jesus pours out His life and at the same time sings a song of victory!
What seemed hopeless with Jesus hanging on the cross was a demonstration of God’s love.
I wanted you to see Jesus’ life and love in what He did for you and me.
You see in the 22nd Psalm, that Jesus gave good news to every person in the world. It didn’t matter if you were still trying to figure life out, if you were rich or poor, if you had sin in your life, and He even says, “for those who never got it together” that I came to love you and tell you that what I did for you was enough.
This good news would cause everybody to worship Him.
Today, if there is anybody here who falls in to any category, got it together, don’t have it together, still struggling with things, are older, is younger, battle with negative thinking, low self-esteem, dealing with unforgiveness, it doesn’t matter. Jesus came to love you to a better life.
He does this by stealing everything the devil could use against us and hold over our heads to make us feel like God wouldn’t want us. He took what we owed and paid it in full.
-It is finished ladies and gentleman
The closing words of the High Priest when the Passover lamb is slain to bring Pentecost to a close was “It is finished!”
Good News or euangélion (The Latin Word for Good News) is really a military term.
When there was a war, there was a winner and a loser. If you lost, women were raped, men, women and children were made slaves and people were killed.
If your side won though, you got the spoils. The spoils are the women, men and children taken for slaves and all their possessions.
Each side who was battling against each other would have a runner and a watchman.
The runner would come running for days to deliver the words so the people would know if they had won or loss. If they loss, the runner would scream run for the hills.
You know the scripture, “Blessed are the feet of those who bring good news?
If you won, they would bring good news that you are saved!
Their feet would be covered in blood because of the distance they would run!
is the runner’s cry. Jesus is the runner with bloody hands and feet to bring us the good news that you’re saved!
You have no excuse to delay now. Come to the altar and let us pray with you for this new beginning and Good News that Jesus died so you could be free.
What is happening with you today was so important that Jesus sang it on the cross.
Today is your day!