April 10, 2007

Fill-in

Posted in Christian Life, My Personal Walk at 4:11 pm by Dan Barnett

In my last post, I asked for prayer for my pastor and his family.  His mom died a week ago, and they are having a realy hard and exhausting time.  Please keep praying for them.  Last Wednesday I offered to preach for him at church.  Oh boy.  I forgot it was Easter Sunday for a second, I guess.  So the first sermon I’v ever preached was one of the biggest days in the Christian calendar.  All-in-all, after a few stumbles over words and losing my place in my notes, it went really well.  I haven’t felt adrenaline like that in a while.  I was going to post the audio on here, but it didn’t record.  So here is the sermon as I typed it out before the service, yet I varied a little when speaking.   Big bold letters are reminders to myself as I speak.

Easter:He’s Alive! What Now?

Imagine you are standing at the foot of the cross. You’re looking up at what you thought was the fulfillment of all the promises God made with Israel. You walked with him, ate with him, hurt with him, rejoiced with him. Now it all seems lost. There is no hope. It seems that redemption was just taken away. It was taken by the very ones who claim to uphold God’s word. Over the last three years you have seen signs and wonders greater than you had ever dreamed. You had grown so close to this man that he loved you as one of his best friends. Now, in his own words, you hear what the words you dread, “It is finished.” Your heart sinks. As you held his weeping mother in your arms, you have just watched your best friend breathe his last breath. Can you imagine the hurt and fear? What now? What are you supposed to do? I can’t imagine what was going through John’s head that day. It seemed like over just a few days what seemed was going to be the culmination of everything Jesus came to do came crashing down and all hope as gone.

As all the disciples gather together fearing those who would seek their death as well, can you imagine the awkward silence of all awkward silences? All of a sudden, Mary runs in screaming, “They’ve taken him! They’ve taken my Lord!” Man, things just keep getting worse. Not only did they arrest him and brutally murder him, to add insult to injury, it seems they can’t leave well enough alone. They go and steal his body, so you can’t go and mourn over it. Ouch, huh? This is getting crazy. As if it already wasn’t, right? So John and Peter take of at a full sprint. They don’t know what they’ll find when they get there, Of course John makes sure he lets everyone know that he can still outrun Peter. But they get to the tomb, John looks in and sees the linen that was around the body. He doesn’t know what to think now, and he’s too scared to go in. Maybe he’s scared to see that they really did take the body. Maybe he’s processing thoughts of what if he’s risen, but I don’t think that’s the case. It says they didn’t understand yet that the Son of God must suffer, die and then raise from the dead. I think he was just too scared to see what had happened. Peter rushes in and sees not only that the body is gone, but the face cloth is folded and set by itself. Boy, if I’m gonna steal a body from a tomb, I’m not gonna stick around to neatly fold the cloth. But Peter didn’t get it yet either. It says they just went home. It seems that their just totally bummed.

Now, Mary seems too depressed to even leave. She just stays there. I wonder if she was thinking, “This just can’t be happening.” Then she looks in and sees an angel in the tomb. Oh boy, this is getting interesting. “He isn’t here. He is risen!” Just then she turns to see Jesus standing there. What elation she must have had. Yeah. It was probably mixed what some confusion and perplexion. After Jesus told her to go tell the others, it says she left with fear and joy.

In preparing for today, I read through all four gospel accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection. We’re going to focus on John, but we’ll draw from the others as well. In reading through the accounts I saw three things that stuck out to me. I’d like to talk about those today.
The first thing I saw was how our greatest hope came in Jesus’ death. When we normally see death as a so-called
end, God used his own son’s death to bring us the greatest hope we could ever have.

The second is that no matter what our struggle, Jesus can break through any barrier to find and save us.

And the third is a response to Christ that we all need to arrive at. All throughout the gospels, when Jesus has come back to the disciples, he tells them to go tell that he is alive. We must realize that we are on mission where ever we are. We are to proclaim the good news that Christ is Risen.

Let’s start with the first, that death can bring hope. There’s an old phrase that where there is life there is hope. So, naturally where there is death, it’s very hard to find any hope. Imagine Mary seeing her son dying, and, although she knew who he really was, still feeling defeated and torn apart. How can there be hope in that? The hope was the fulfillment of promises hundreds of years before given by God through his prophets. The old testament gives over 130 prophesies of who the messiah would be. God did this so that we would know who the savior would be. Jesus fulfilled every one of them in his lifetime. Over 30 will fulfilled in one day. There is no question he is the promised messiah that so many, today, still wait for.

I remember when”The Passion of the Christ” came out. It was so hard to watch as Jesus was beaten and whipped and scorned and led up the hill to his death. In Isaiah 53:7, we read that “Ha was oppressed and afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth. Like a lamb led to slaughter, a a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” Just like any one of us does, he wrestled with God and asked for the cup to pass, but he yielded to God’s will and allowed everything to happen that did. Think about it. This was the God who created the universe. He created everything. Yeah, even the men who would drive the nails through his hands and feet. They mocked him and told him to prove he was God and come off the cross. Of course as we know, he didn’t do it. It wasn’t that he couldn’t, it was that he knew that he needed to follow through with God’s plans that were set in place before the foundation of the world. You wanna see the hope? Look in Matthew 27, when he yields up his spirit to God and breathes his last breath. The earth shook, and the curtain tore completely in half. The soldiers watching him said, “Surely this was the Son of God.” In his death, the glory and power of God was shown. But, the cross was not the end. The reason why most people go to church today happened next. Jesus overcame the grave and rose on his own power from the dead and walked right through the stone meant to keep others out, and to keep him in. This brings us to the second point.


That is Jesus’ ability to break through any stronghold. It started in Matthew 28 when the two Marys came to the tomb. It says there was an earthquake, and an angel moved the stone away. When they went in he wasn’t there. It doesn’t say the stone rolled away and he walked out. He was already out. He rose and went right through the stone. In John 20:19, when he appears to the disciples, it says the doors were locked good for fear of the Jews. Then Jesus appeared among them. Then once again in verse 26 they were gathered together with the doors locked, and Jesus appeared among them.



How many of us have times in our lives when we’re afraid or just plain frustrated and ready to give up? How many of you parents have come to a point with your kids that you just don’t know what to do anymore? How many of us have been so defeated that life has no meaning anymore, and sometimes it seems that it isn’t worth living at all? How many of us have just never felt the joy of an unconditional love? Look at how Christ showed up for his disciples. If he can raise from the dead on his own power and walk through the stone and the locked doors, can’t he break through the strongholds in our lives and show us his power? Ya know, I think he breaks through more than we accept or realize that he does. Turn with me to Luke 24. Starting in verse 10. Read from bible!!!!!!! Mary had already gone and told all his disciples that he was alive. A lot of people think it was just the eleven, but right here in verse 13 it talks about Cleopas and Ananias, who were not one of the original twelve, but, referring to Cleopas and Ananias, it says two of them. On the road to Emmaus, Cleopas and Ananias were walking and talking about what had happened over the last several days. They had to sound a little depressed, and they were probably speculating a bunch of “what-ifs”. Jesus was walking near to them and asked what they talking about. They turn to him and basically ask, “What? Are you stupid? Do you seriously have no clue what has happened?” Notice also that they clearly mention it’s the third day after his death. Then Jesus, just as he had done in the past and took them back through scripture and prophesy and explained why these events had to take place. They still didn’t get it! So he, probably intentionally, acts like he’s going on to the next town, and they urge him to come stay with them for the night. So of course he did. He blessed the bread and broke it and gave it to them, and their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, and he vanished from their sight. These weren’t just a couple of guys who happened to be present at his execution. These were two of his close followers, and they didn’t recognize him. I look at my life and wonder some times, how many times does God have to show up for me to realize it. So many times we’re looking for a huge breakthrough. We want God to part the sea to show us himself. But how did he speak to Elijah in 1 Kings 19? Let me read what it says. (Read 1 Kings 19:9-12) Elijah went on the mountain, and what happened? There was a mighty wind, then an earthquake, and then a fire, but God was in none of those things. Then, in a low whisper, he spoke to him. If we truly want to experience God, we need to accept the seemingly small things he does in our lives as well larger things if he show chooses. It’s unfair that he chooses to work in our lives at all. We all deserve hell and no intervention by God, but in his perfect will he chose to work in us. Ephesians 2:8-9(If you’ve been through AWANA, you should know this by heart.) says, “That by GRACE you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God. Not of works lest any man should boast.” He saved us through His GRACE. He did it! Then, in verse 10, Paul says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Can you believe it? He called us to do good works. He CALLED us.

This brings us to the third point, and that is a response. When Jesus appeared to Mary, he told her to go and tell the others that he was risen. Then he walks with Peter and tells him to tend to his sheep. Then, the final words he speaks on Earth. He’s getting ready to ascend into Heaven, and he says, let me read it to you, “All authority in Heaven and Earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always to the end of the age.” Let me read it again in case anyone missed it. “……………………….” He has called us to go and make disciples. Don’t miss this. He didn’t say go and make Christians. Only he can save. It’s also pretty much a given that part of making disciples is evangelizing, but if that is our end goal then we’ve missed the point. Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 2 to teach the things he has learned to faithful men that they may teach others as well.

We have been, not only called and set aside for his glory, but he has sent us out on mission. Look at Acts 1:8, He says in the second part of the verse, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Many look at this and parallel the areas he mentioned with our local town, county, state, country, and then the world, which is true, but look at who he was talking to. He was talking to his closest disciples in Jerusalem. They were in Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives when he spoke this to them. Guess where we are. We are at the end of the earth. This is the mission! We are on his mission.

The cross was not the end of our hope. The grave was not the end for Christ, and the resurrection was not the end for his mission. Let’s not make salvation the end of our calling. When Jesus walked out of the tomb, the payment had been made for our sins, but the mission wasn’t over. There was still work left to be done. Today is an awesome day. It’s a day to rejoice that Satan is defeated. It’s a day to rejoice that we serve a risen savior. Isn’t that awesome? But, if we stop at the empty tomb and go no further, we’ve missed it. “Go, there fore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, and behold I am with you always, to the end of the age. SALVATION Let’s pray.















Scripture Reference in order:

John 20: read this from Bible

Matthew 28:2-6:

John 20:19:

Luke 24 Read this from Bible

1Kings 19:9-12:

Ephesians 2:8-10

Acts 1:8

Matthew 28:18-20

2 Timothy 2:1-2

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2 Comments »

  1. Becki said,

    It’s all in black buddy, so it’s hard to read. You could change the sermon font to white or we could just highlight it to read it ;>)

  2. Dan Barnett said,

    Thanks. I had to change the color in the original file. By the way, if you guys put your blog url on your sign-in thing to leave comments, it will make your name a hyper link to your site.


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