New Life Chapel

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Sermon Easter 2010 – The Master Plan

Easter Sunday – April 4, 2010

Easter: Part of the master plan

 Last week Pastor Stacy talked about the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. In Matthew 21 we find the crowds of people worshiping Jesus. The Jews believed that their triumphant king was coming and going to lead them out of servitude to the Roman Empire. When Jesus did not act like a conquering king, they left Him and then completely turned on Him.

In Matthew 26 we find Jesus being arrested and then tried before the Sanhedrin, the spiritual rulers of the Jewish people. They spit on Him and beat Him. This was the man that most of Jerusalem was worshipping days earlier, now they despised Him.

In chapter 27 we find them taking Jesus over to Pilate the Roman Governor. Pilate questioned Jesus and tried to release Him. The Jews wanted nothing to do with Jesus and pressured Pilate to crucify Him. Pilate had Jesus beaten, and tried to release Him again, to no avail. Pilate eventually gave into the Jewish people and ordered Jesus to be crucified. Jesus hung on the cross fulfilling the plan that was put in place before time began.

Jesus died on that cross! Let’s read Matthew 27:45-50:

“45From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. 46About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” 48Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”  50And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.” NIV

These verses start out by talking about how it became dark from the 6th hour to the 9th hour. What makes this out of the ordinary, is that this was from 9:00 am to 12:00 Noon. Here it is starting out as a beautiful morning with the sun shining and people preparing for the Passover celebration and all of a sudden, as Jesus is hung on the cross an un-explainable darkness came over the land. While all of this was part of the Master plan, the darkness was a sign from God that He was not pleased. This was the first time in all of eternity that God the Father was not in communion with God the Son. Verse 46 tells us:

46About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 

This is the only time you will see that Jesus does not call God His Father. Jesus does not feel the presence of the Father anymore. As Jesus is suffering on the cross, He is taking on all of the sin from the world. This single act of taking on the sin and that it is separating Him from the Father shows the ultimate sacrifice that was made. The Father and Son have been in complete communion, in a loving relationship, since before time began. They knew each other’s thoughts, their wills, and desires. Now there was nothing but emptiness, where a Holy loving relationship existed. Jesus for the first time ever was alone.

Think on this for a minute, sin separated the Father from the Son when they had the perfect relationship. Our relationship with God the Father, while amazing, is nothing compared to the relationship He shared with the Son. What do you think happens when we sin? As sinners, which all of us are, we cannot be in a relationship with God the Father. He cannot be in a relationship with sinners. He cannot be in a relationship with us. For this short period of time, when Jesus took on the sin of the world, when He sacrificed Himself for our sin, Jesus could not be in a relationship with His Father.

Let’s continue with Verse 47-49:

47When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” 48Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”  

These verses are included to show how little the people waiting by the cross understood about Jesus. They thought He was calling out to the prophet Elijah to come help Him, instead Jesus was crying out about the separation He felt from His Father.

Verse 50 says:

50And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.”

To understand the significance of this verse we need to understand a little about how one died on a cross. When someone was crucified they would be nailed to the cross and as their body grew weak they would eventually suffocate. This was an extremely painful way to die, that took many hours and sometimes even days. What Scripture is telling us, is that Jesus died on that cross in 3 hours. This is one more example we are given so that we can understand that Jesus was in control of His destiny. This verse tells us that Jesus “gave up His spirit”.  John 19:30 tells us that Jesus cried out saying ‘it is finished’.  In other words, even on the cross Jesus decided when He would die. Jesus’ life was not taken from Him, He let go of it to fulfill the master plan of taking on our sin, and sacrificing Himself.  Later that day Jesus was buried, after all He was dead.

Thankfully the master plan did not end there!

Matthew 28, starting at verse 1 tells us:

1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.  2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.  5The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” 8So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.”

 The Master Plan did not end with Jesus’ death! Jesus defeated death, He took on the sin of the world, He took on my sin, He took on your sin, sacrificed Himself on the cross and defeated death. Jesus Christ is Risen!

Jesus’ ministry on Earth was step 1. Step 2 was that He would take on all of our sin. Step 3 was that He would die as the ultimate sacrifice. Step 4 was that He would rise again, and showing the world that He is triumphant over death and sin. 

What is the significance of Jesus taking our sin and being triumphant over it?

Romans 3:23 tells us:

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

Romans 6:23 says:

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Plain and simple, we are sinners and cannot be in a relationship with God on our own, we deserve to die and spend an eternity in hell. We need Jesus to bridge that gap for us, we need Him to connect us to the Father. Without Jesus we are lost forever. With Jesus we have eternal life.

Here is a quote from the book Death by Love: Letters from the Cross written by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears:

“If you die as a non-Christian, this life will be as close to heaven as you will ever experience, and nothing but hell awaits you. But if you die as a Christian, this life will be as close to hell as you will ever experience and nothing but heaven awaits you.”

That statement is very true. Without Christ, here on Earth is the only place we can experience love. With Christ, the love we experience in this life will pale in comparison to what we will experience in Heaven. We need Jesus to experience true happiness!

Some people may say, ok I understand I need Jesus to get to heaven, but I have plenty of time. That may not be true. Have you heard the saying “that tomorrow is promised to no one”? While this is not biblical, it is a very true statement. Our time here on Earth is limited. The Bible tells us that Jesus is coming back, and when He does He will take His Church with him but those that do not know Him will be cast into the fiery pit. While scripture tells us a lot of things, it does not tell us when this will happen.

Matthew 24:44:

44So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” NIV

We know Jesus will return we just do not know when. We need to be prepared for when He comes or we will be left out of the greatest celebration ever.

We also need to be aware that our time here on Earth can end at any moment.

1 Peter 1:24-25

24For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.” NIV

Like the grass and flowers in these verses our lives are short. We do not know if we have 10 minutes, 10 months, or 10 years left. We can die at any moment. We need to be prepared.

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, knowing that He died for your sins, is the only way you can have a relationship with God the Father and have eternal life. If you have yet to make that decision or have slipped away from Jesus, I would like to give you an opportunity to change that.

Pray with Me!

I would like to end with a quote from Martin Luther that can help us to remember what Jesus did for us. Martin Luther said “Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring time.”

As we leave service today we can see that promise by the new growth that comes with each spring.

Thank you for reading. Hopefully next week I will be able to post an audio file.

Blessings to All,

Pastor Robert

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April 4, 2010 - Posted by | Sermon

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