Faithlife Sermons

"But God", Making the Mark

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I have learned a tremendous amount about production over the last few weeks. I used to think the statement “find you marks” or “hit your marks” was just tv talk for move up or move back or move to one side. Then I remembered watching AGT and seeing true marks on the floor.
I know you are probably thinking, “What does this have to do with Easter or the resurrection?”
Well, more than you might think.
In we are told about how Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. It is a beautiful picture of our reliance on Him. I also think it serves a reminder that we live out of His abundance not He from ours. We have a place in this story. We have a mark.
A mark set by and maintained by the power of God in the person of Jesus Christ.

What man is by nature.

Ephesians 2:1–3 ESV
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Ephesians 2:1-
Romans 3:23 ESV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Psalm 14:1–3 ESV
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.
That was us! You and me. We missed the Mark.
I wander around looking for the mark but constantly miss it.
But there was no mark for me until after the resurrection.
Christ became that mark.
Deuteronomy 12:2–4 ESV
You shall surely destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. You shall chop down the carved images of their gods and destroy their name out of that place. You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way.
Dueteronomy 12:2-4
I did not want to tear down my past belief system. I kept trying to find ways to make my new life in Christ and my old life in the world somehow mesh.
They won’t mesh.
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Galatians 2:20 ESV
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 5:24 ESV
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Romans 6:1–4 ESV
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Not only was there now a mark, but I was to stand on it not simply visit it.

Romans 6:6–8 ESV
We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
I do not want to be like I was, I do not want to have my mind darkened.
I want to be enlightened.
Romans 1:21 ESV
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Romans 1:19–20 ESV
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
I want to know the truth not simply swallow a lie.
Romans 1:25 ESV
because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
Romans 1:32 ESV
Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Romans
Isaiah 53:6 ESV
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
On Easter weekend we celebrate the fact that this description of us no longer has to define us. I may have made a series of bad decisions, a series of mistakes, but

Forgiveness can be known.

Redemption can be known

It can be known because verses 1-3 are not the end of the story. They are not the end because verse 4 says,

“But God”

The power of God came to bear on our predicament.
The Message of Ephesians 3. Resurrected with Christ (2:1–10)

Of this power God has given a supreme historical demonstration by raising Christ from the dead and exalting him over all the powers of evil. But he has given a further demonstration of it by raising and exalting us with Christ, and so delivering us from the bondage of death and evil.

Ephesians 1:18–20 ESV
having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,
1 Corinthians 6:14 ESV
And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.
Of this power God has given a supreme historical demonstration by raising Christ from the dead and exalting him over all the powers of evil.
But he has given a further demonstration of it by raising and exalting us with Christ, and so delivering us from the bondage of death and evil.
Because of this power, the power that rose Jesus from the dead, the power that possesses and distributes grace, we can now see,

What man is by Grace.

Ephesians 2:4–6 ESV
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Galatians 5:1 ESV
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Acts 13:38–39 ESV
Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.
1 Peter 2:16 ESV
Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
Colossians 3:15 ESV
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Colossians
Be thankful for what you have received. Be thankful for the “But God” moment in your life. All week we have been posting people’s testimonies about how Jesus has changed their lives. I am going to play a quick montage of those clips now.
Ephesians 2:5 ESV
even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
1 Corinthians 15:14–19 ESV
And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
Jesus has been raised
We will also be raised
By Grace you have been saved
This Grace is a gift of God, and if a gift of God, guaranteed by God, if guaranteed by God you are the most secure person in the world since,
Romans 8:31 ESV
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
E
1 Corinthians 15:20–23 ESV
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.
Ephesians 1:5–11 ESV
he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
Ephesians 1:4–11 ESV
even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
We celebrate the risen savior
Hebrews 12:1–3 ESV
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
I have finally found my mark in this production, and I will stand on it!
Show pic
John 15:4 ESV
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
I said last week that I cannot save myself and neither can you.

“But God” can save us through the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.

It is no longer just about my nature. Now because of the “but God” of scripture

I am made alive in Christ

There is an old hymn called “Alive in Christ” that’s lyrics to the second verse say this.
Alive, Lord, in You, I rise, Lord, in You, Delight, Lord, in You, My Savior, my Savior. I'm free now in You, Complete now in You. I love You, Lord Jesus, today; I love You, Lord Jesus, today.
May we be truly in love with the Savior who rose from the dead and brought with that resurrection, life for each of us.
1 Corinthians 11:27–29 ESV
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.
As we move to our time of reflection before we celebrate communion together. I want to tell you a little about the song you will be listening to. One of our members, Brenda Tyree wrote this song. My daughter Taylor Spade will be signing it. Listen to the words of the song and reflect on whether there is anything you need to get straight between you and God. We will take a few minutes of quiet reflection and then I will pray.
First, I will pray for those that may not know Jesus as their savior.
Second, I will pray for those of us who do know Him and, maybe more importantly, He knows us.
Then, we will celebrate communion together.
1 Corinthians 11:
1 Corinthians 11:23–26 ESV
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
May this day be one of remembrance of what the Lord has accomplished on your behalf. Thank Him! Praise Him!
Rejoice for our Lord is Alive!
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