Follow Along

Get new posts by email:

Sunday, March 27, 2016

[Matt's Messages] "Brought Back from the Dead"

“Brought Back from the Dead”
Jesus Paid It All :: Resurrection Sunday
March 27, 2016 :: Hebrews 13:20-21

I invite you to turn in your Bibles with me to the Benediction of the Book of Hebrews.

It’s almost the very last few verses of this letter, and it is a blessing. A prayer from the writer, to God, reported to the readers.

The author of this letter writes this blessing as a prayerful exclamation mark for his epistle, and I want us to dwell on it a little bit together this morning.

Now, I know that on a Sunday that we have baptisms, I’m just the opening band for the main act. We’re all excited to hear Aspen and Hunter tell us their stories and see them get dunked in this tank back here for the glory of Jesus Christ!

So I promise to hurry up with this and not go long. I know also that we have no children’s church today, so attention spans will be shorter than usual.

And that’s another reason why I’ve picked just these two short verses at the end of the book of Hebrews.

But there’s gold in these hills, and I want us to dig a little bit today to discover some awesome treasure.

Question: Why would you tell somebody what you are praying for them?

It’s good to pray for somebody and to pray for somebody in private and secret.

People don’t always have to know that you are praying for them for those prayers to be good and loving.

But it’s also a very good thing to tell somebody that you are praying for them and even to tell them what you are praying for them.

And even to pray in front of them so that they can hear you pray those things for them.  Do you see what I mean?

Every night at bedtime, Heather prays with and for Robin, and I pray with and for our three sons.

I also pray for my kids at other times. Times they don’t know about. But at beditime, that’s one moment every day that they hear me pray for them. And they know what I pray. They are listening and agreeing with me in prayer.

And that’s important isn’t it? When I pray for you here at Lanse Free Church before I preach, I could do that silently. But I pray out loud for you right here before we get into the meat of the message, and you hear what I pray, and you pray it along with me.

Well, that’s, at heart, what a blessing is. What a benediction is.

It’s a prayer to God, reported to the people being prayed for. Why? So that they are encouraged and strengthened and reminded Who God Is, What God Has Done, and What God Wants for Them.

Who God Is
What God Has Done
What God Wants for Us.

That’s what we will find in this benediction. And I hope that we will be encouraged to pray it, too.

Here’s what it says: “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

#1. WHO GOD IS: THE GOD OF PEACE.

First, who is God?

He is the God of Peace.

And that’s a good thing because we live in a world at war.

Ever since our first parents Adam and Eve disobeyed God, the human race has lived in a world at conflict.

Conflict between God and humanity.
Which leads to conflict between humans, one with another.
And also conflict within humans. War in our own hearts.

Humanity is in desperate need of peace because we live in a world at war.

Do you feel that?

I think we all feel that the world is broken right now.

There is so little peace.

It’s in every headline in every newspaper. Brussells?!

And we’re all ready to point the finger at someone else for breaking the peace.

But the fact is, we are all responsible. It’s the curse on our world due to sin.

And we need the God of peace to restore it, to restore shalom to our world.

And the good news is that He has done it! And is doing it. And will finish the job.

#2. WHAT GOD HAS DONE: BROUGHT JESUS BACK FROM THE DEAD!

What has the God of peace done?

He has brought back Jesus from the dead.

Here’s where I want to spend most of our little time this morning.

The God of peace has done the miracle of miracles.

He has taken a dead man, the man named Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified on a wooden cross in the first century during the rule of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem and who was buried in a garden tomb [The God of peace has taken this dead man], and brought him back from the dead!

That is the miracle of miracles.

And it’s why we are here today.

It’s what we are celebrating this Sunday and, really, every Sunday.

The God of peace has brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ.

That means that Jesus went into death.

We believe in a crucified Savior. If Jesus didn’t die, then all is lost.

But we also believe that He has risen. He didn’t stay dead.

God brought Him back.

And if that’s not true, if that’s not history, if that didn’t actually factually happen, then we are wasting our time here this morning. Hunter and Aspen are wasting their time in this tank.

How utterly silly to get baptized if Jesus has not risen from the dead!

But we believe.  We believe that the God of peace has brought Jesus back from the dead.

He was dead, and now He is alive again.

And the God of peace has done it.

Now, I want you to notice something strange in verse 20. Have you ever noticed this before?

HOW did the God of peace bring back the Lord Jesus from the dead?

What does it say?

He did it, “through the blood of the eternal covenant...”

Isn’t that a little strange?

It says that God brought Jesus back from the dead through or by means of the blood of the eternal covenant. What does that mean?

How did the blood bring Jesus back?  The blood refers to His death. That’s the wrong direction, right? Doesn’t the blood take Jesus into His death?

What this guy saying?

He’s saying that JESUS PAID IT ALL.

Jesus’ sacrificial death was sufficient and acceptable for our sin debt.

And because that debt was fully 100% paid, God would raise Jesus from the dead.

Jesus would be vindicated because the innocent had perfectly died for the guilty.

Do you see what I’m saying?

When Jesus died on the Cross, He took on our debt with Him.

He took my debt. He took Aspen’s debt. He took Hunter’s debt. He took your debt.

You could not pay it.

And the blood of bulls and goats and rams and lambs could not pay it. Not fully.

But Jesus paid it all. Once and for all.

Hebrews 10:14 says, “by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”

And catch this. Because of that, Jesus could not stay dead.

His death was too good to last.

When that blood was shed so perfectly, so beautifully, so sufficiently, it would have been an injustice for Jesus to remain in the grave!

I think that’s why it was through the blood of the eternal covenant that Jesus was brought back from the dead.

Jesus paid it all. Therefore He could not stay dead.

And now He lives forever.

It’s the blood of the eternal covenant. The everlasting one. What that blood did then will stay true for all eternity (Ezekiel 37:26)!

And you’ve got to see this, too. He has been brought back from the dead to be our Great Shepherd. Look against at verse 20.

“May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus...that great Shepherd of the sheep,”

We’re the sheep, and Jesus is the shepherd.

And that’s not very flattering for us because sheep are dumb.

But it’s good news for us because sheep need caring for.

And here we have the Greatest Shepherd ever who is going to live forever.

Isn’t that good news?

I sat at the bedside of Jane Fox this Wednesday. Edie Sipe’s mom. Jane was in her 90's and at the very end of her life. She died two days later, on Friday.

And it was my privilege to share the gospel with her at her bedside.

And you know what I told her?  What I read to her in the Bible?

John chapter 10. Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep....The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full...I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me–just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–  and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life–only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.”

I said to Mrs. Fox, “Jesus is the good Shepherd. He laid down His life for us, the sheep. And He took it back up again to give us abundant life. You can trust Him.”

And Mrs. Fox indicated very clearly that she was trusting in Jesus as her good shepherd. Praise God!

How about you? Have you trusted in Jesus as your own Shepherd?

We all need one. All the time. And He’s the greatest that ever was.

And in fact, He’s come back from the dead to Shepherd His people!

Turn to Him. Trust in Him. Put yourself in His hands.

Return to Him. Repent and trust in Jesus.

The Apostle Peter echoed Isaiah 53 when he said, “For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25).

Have you done that? Everyone has gone astray. Have you returned to the Great Shepherd of your soul?

He has returned from the dead. I urge you to put yourself in His caring hands.

So that you can say, “Jesus is my Shepherd. I shall not want.”

“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

That’s what the God of peace did. He brought Jesus back from the dead through the blood of the eternal covenant to be our Great Shepherd forever.

You know the best thing about that tomb over there? It’s empty!

Jesus has been brought back from the dead by the God of peace.

That how we have peace with God.

And it’s only IN Him that we will find our peace with others and our peace within.

#3. WHAT GOD WANTS FOR US: TO EMPOWER US TO PLEASE HIM. 

One more thing to say and that’s to see what God wants for us.

We’ve been reminded of Who God is and what God has done.

But the writer has one more thing to pray for his readers and that is that we would be empowered to please God. V.21

“[May this God of peace that we’ve been talking about] ... equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

That’s actually the prayer request of this benediction.

The request is that God would empower us with everything we need to know and do what He wants and to make Him happy.

Do you want to do what God wants?
Do you want to make Him happy?
Do you want to please God?

Good.

Because that’s what God wants for us, too.

God wants to empower us “to equip” us with “everything good for doing his will” and to “work in us what is pleasing to him.”

What pleases God most of all?  FAITH. (Hebrews 11:6).

He wants to work faith into us. He wants us to believe. To trust Him. And to obey Him.

And He wants to empower us to do just that.

And here’s the best news.

He’s got the power to do it.

That’s how the logic of this benediction works.

Does God have the power to equip you with everything good for doing his will and work in you what is pleasing to Him through Jesus Christ? That’s verse 21.

Verse 20 has already supplied the answer.

The God of peace has brought Jesus Christ back from the dead, so I’m thinking, “Yes” he can do it.

Yes, he can pull this off!

Do you see why the author of this letter might include this prayer request, this blessing at the end of his epistle?

He wants to encourage his readers that he isn’t praying something far off or nearly impossible for them.

He’s praying something that God wants to do in them and can most certainly do in them.

God wants to empower us to please Him.

And He’s brought Jesus back from the dead to accomplish it.

Are you encouraged?

Sometimes we get to thinking that we can’t please God.

That God is constantly unhappy with us and disappointed.

"Oh, there they go again."

But this benediction tells us another story.

It tells us of a God of peace who brought back our great Shepherd from the dead through a perfect sacrifice of His own blood. Jesus paid it all.

So that now as that blood is applied to us, we can please Him.

We can do His will. We can do what He wants and make Him happy.

And live for his glory. V.21

to Jesus “be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”


Messages in This Series
Jesus Paid It All
What If Jesus Had Not Paid It All?
Freed from Debt

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Sunday, March 20, 2016

[Matt's Messages] "Freed from Debt"

“Freed from Debt”
Jesus Paid It All :: Palm Sunday
March 20, 2016 :: 1 Peter 2:24

Our series this month has been named after song:

Jesus Paid It All
All to Him I Owe
Sin Had Left a Crimson Stain
He Washed It White As Snow

The first Sunday of March, we meditated on the Suffering Servant predicted in Isaiah 53–“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (v.6).

Jesus Paid It All.

And then last Sunday, we read about the fulfillment of that prophecy in the gospel of John chapter 19. We read about how our Lord Jesus was tortured, mocked, and killed for us with the dying cry, “It is finished. Tetelestai. It is completed.”

Jesus Paid It ALL.

And we even thought for awhile about what it would mean if Jesus’ death was not sufficient to pay for our full sin debt. We’d still have unending work to do and unending punishment to suffer.

But our debt is paid in full.

Jesus Paid It All.

Today, I want us to go one step further and think about how being freed from that debt frees us to live in a new way.

Our title for today’s message is “Freed from Debt.”

If Jesus has paid it all, then we are free.

We are no longer under debt.

We no longer have a sinful liability to our names.

We are no longer in “in the hole.”

We are free.

What does that mean?

I’ve only two points to share this morning, but they are big ones.

And the first point comes from 1 Peter chapter 2, verse 24.

Speaking of Jesus. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”

#1. WE ARE FREED FROM DEBT TO LIVE FREE FROM MORE DEBT.

Here’s what I mean.

By the way, did you catch what Bible passage Peter was referencing here?

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”

Where’s that from?

It’s Isaiah 53, isn’t it?

Peter has been riffing off of Isaiah 53 since verse 22 in this chapter.

He’s writing to Christians who are suffering, unjustly. They have gotten a raw deal. They have gotten a beating when they had done something good instead of something bad. It’s totally unjust.

And Peter is telling them to follow the example of our Lord when injustice comes. He’s teaching them how to endure unfairness and inequity. V.20

“... if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ [That’s Isaiah 53, verse 9.]  When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”

And then our verse.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray [Isaiah 53 again!], but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

Now, I want you to see a few things from this passage.

First, it’s Jesus that paid it all and nobody else.

“He HIMSELF bore our sins in his body on the tree.”

Jesus paid it all. Nobody else.

I talked to the teens in the FCA Bible Club on Thursday about this passage, and I emphasized that point.

Jesus didn’t delegate this responsibility.

Jesus didn’t send Moses or Aaron or David or Isaiah or John the Baptist.

Jesus didn’t send an angel to take our place on the Cross.

Jesus did it Himself.

This task was too much to assign to another person.

No other person, no other entity could do what Jesus did.

He had to do it himself.

He had to bear those sins.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree...”

Jesus paid it all.

We couldn’t do it!

Notice again how important are the pronouns here.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree...”

That’s what we’ve been celebrating this whole month.

We are freed from debt.

If you have trusted Jesus as your Savior, you are freed from debt.

My sin–O the bless of this glorious thought,
My sin–not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the Cross and I bear it no more, 
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Freed from debt.

Now. What difference does that make?

Last week, we thought about what difference it would make if it wasn’t true.

What difference does it make that it’s true. What does Peter say? Look again at verse 24.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness...”

Isn’t that interesting?!

Here’s how I say it: we are freed from debt to live from free from more debt.

Last week, my friend Pastor Dan Ledford and his family were visiting us and worshiped with us.

And while I was preaching, I gave the illustration of being freed from my school loans. Do you remember that?

The amazing feeling of no longer being in debt financially.

I could burn the paperwork. I didn’t owe Sallie Mae even one more red cent!

And my friend Dan said to me afterwards that he remembered that same moment in his life of being freed from his school loans, and his first thought was, “I’m never going to borrow another dime ever again!”

Can you relate?

Now, that’s financial debt.

And it’s not necessarily wrong to incur it.

But what about sin debt?

What about the hole we get ourselves into when we sin against God?

Some people think that if they are freed from debt, that they’d just run out and sin some more.

Like we said last week and in Romans 6, why not sin all the more so that grace may abound?

May it never be.

That’s not where Peter went was it?  “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins.”

We are freed from debt to live free from more debt.

We are freed so we could stop sinning!
So we could stop doing the things that offend God.

Jesus' death wasn't just so that we could be forgiven.

It was also so we could be empowered to repent.

Die and live.
Die to sin and live for righteousness.

Those are powerful words.

That's what baptism is a picture of.

Next week, when Hunter and Aspen go down into the water, there will be a picture of death, of burial.

Dying to sins.

Jesus' death means the death of our sins.

And when Hunter and Apsen come up out of the water, it will be a picture of new life, of resurrection.

Living now for righteousness.

What sins in your life need to die?

What do you need to repent of?

To live free of?

The death of Jesus means that we need to consider ourselves dead to sin. No longer enslaved. No longer do we have to live in sin.

We can say no.

We can resist gossip.
We can resist pornography.
We can resist hating our enemies.
We can die to sexual immorality, to sex outside of the covenant of marriage.
Living with our boyfriend or our girlfriend outside of marriage.
We can die to gluttony.
We can die to greed.
We can die to being anxious about the future.
We can die to cussing and lying and boasting.
We can die to getting drunk or stoned.
We can die to taking the Lord's name in vain.
We can die to envying what someone else has.

And not only CAN we die to sins, but Jesus CALL US to die to those sins.

He died for them, so we can die to them.

"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree so that we might die to sins..."

To live free from more debt.

What sins do you need to repent of right now?
What sins are you holding onto?
What sins are you hiding from others?

Jesus is calling you to die to them.

And more than that, to (v.24) “live for righteousness.”

That means that we are freed from debt to live free from more debt.

Not just to NOT sin but to live well, to live good, to live for righteousness.

Jesus Himself bore our sins so that we could live for righteousness.

So it’s not enough to just resist gossip, we get build others up with our words.

It’s not enough to not just sleep around or sleep with your boyfriend or your girlfriend.

We get to, outside of marriage to “treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”

And, within the covenant of marriage, we get to bless our spouse with the gift of our bodies.

It’s not enough to just not steal. We’ve get to work to earn to care for our families and to get to others.

“Die to sins and live for righteousness.”

Are you living for righteousness?

That’s what the Cross was all about.

That’s what I told the teens on Thursday.

If you think of the Cross as just a get-out-of-jail-free card, you are missing so much.

The Cross frees us to live a new way.

To live lives of love.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”

You are no longer sin-sick.
You are no longer diseased by sin.
You are no longer under the curse.

You are healed.

His wounds have done it.

His stripes. His bruises. His lashings. His beatings.

His wounds have healed your sin.

You are freed from debt to live free from more debt.

And to live free to love!

Isn’t that great?

What difference will that make for you today, this week, this month, this year?

Do you feel free? Do feel freed?

I remember when I realized that I no longer have to sin.

I don’t have to sin any longer.

I will still sin because I’ve yet arrived. I’m not perfect yet.

But the power of sin has been broken in my life.

I don’t have to sin. I’m free.

And not just free from debt, but free to live for righteousness.

I only have two points today, but they are both really big.

And for this second one, I want to take you to a whole other passage of Scripture.

It’s Matthew chapter 18, starting in verse 21.

This is a story that Jesus told Peter.

Peter had come to Jesus and asked him (v.21), “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Do you see where this is going?

Peter wants to know what the limit is on forgiveness.

And he suggests something pretty high.

Many of the rabbis had said that the magic number was 3.

Three times to forgive. So Peter is being generous.

Have you ever been sinned against 7 times and had to forgive 7 times?  It's hard to do.

But (v.22), “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

Again and again and again. And let me tell you a story. V.23

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.  As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. [That's over one billion dollars in today's money.]  Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt [and even that wouldn't have done it.].

The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.'  The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.”

“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii [Now, that’s not a small amount of money–a hundred days' wages  a considerable sum – say $14,000 – It's a real debt but nothing compared to what he's just been forgiven].

[This fool] grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' [Sound familiar?] But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.

Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.  Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

#2. WE ARE FREED FROM DEBT TO FREE OTHERS FROM THEIR DEBTS.

Not just so that we can be free, but so that we can free other people.

In other words, so that we can learn to forgive.

Uh oh. Now he’s “gone to meddlin’.”

Have you been sinned against?

Of course you have. Maybe not in a major ways, but all of us have been sinned against in minor ways.

Some of you have been sinned against in terrible terrible ways.

And there is no excuse for them.

But there is forgiveness.

Because we have had our sin debt canceled, we can free others from their sin debt against us.

We can be forgiving people.

Now, I know that raises a whole lot of questions.

And I’m not going to answer them all this morning.

The best book I’ve ever read on the subject of forgiveness is called Unpacking Forgiveness by Chris Brauns.

He answers a lot of the tough questions that come along with the topic of forgiveness.

For example, do you forgive somebody who is not yet repentant?

If they haven’t asked for forgiveness, do you still grant it?

And the answer is both “yes” and “no.”

“Yes” to a kind of forgiveness that takes place in the heart, an attitudinal forgiveness or a releasing of bitterness. But, also “No,” for forgiveness to go the full way to reconciliation, there needs to be a measure of repentance first on the part of the offender.

And there are a lot of other questions you might ask about forgiveness.

But the main point I want to make today is the one Jesus makes here in this parable.

If you have been forgiven, then you will be forgiving.

If you have experienced the canceling of your sin debt, then you will be ready to forgive the sin debt of others.

Does that make sense?

Do you feel it?

So often we feel how others have sinned against us MORE than we feel how we have sinned against God.

But that’s totally backwards.

We have a hard time seeing our own sin.

But we feel the pain being sinned against.

That’s why Jesus tells this story. So that we understand just how audacious grace is and let it change our hearts to become gracious ourselves.

Who is the King in the story?

Who does he stand for?

It’s God, right?

And our sin is the millions probably billions of dollars.

We’re the forgiven servant.

But are we forgiving?

When we are wronged–and we are genuinely wronged. Those 100 denarii are a real debt. When we are wronged–are we merciful to others?

That ending of this story is so scary, isn’t it?

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

We need to believe that.

Jesus is not teaching that we can earn our forgiveness by being forgiving.

And He’s also not teaching that we can lose our salvation by being unforgiving either.

Jesus is teaching that grace changes us.

And that if we are not changed then we have not been graced.

If we are not merciful, then we have not yet known mercy.

And that if we have been freed from debt, then we are now able and expected to free others from their debts against us.

“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

Flipped around, we can forgive our debtors because we have been forgiven our debts.

Is that hard to do?

It’s so hard to forgive people. To cancel a debt.

We’ve been wronged!
We’ve been hurt!
We’ve been cheated!

We have every right to be angry.
We have every right to demand satisfaction.
We have every right to make them pay.

But so did the Lord.

So did our heavenly Father.

And that’s not what He did.

He sent Jesus to pay it all.

Jesus Paid It All
All to Him I Owe
Sin Had Left a Crimson Stain
He Washed It White As Snow

But I’m going to keep holding a grudge????

I’m going to stay bitter????

I’m going to demand satisfaction and make them pay????

Colossians 3:13, says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Is there someone you need to forgive?

I remember a few years ago I preached this on that verse and one of you took it to heart and forgave a friend who you had been estranged from for several years.

And the relationship was perfectly restored.

It’s better now than it has ever been.

I love it when I see the two of you together today because I know that it was hard to do.

But it’s so good to forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Freed from debt.

Because Jesus paid it all.

So that now we are able to live free from making more debt. We can die to sins and live for righteousness. We our healed of sin sickness.

And free to free others from their debts against us.

Isn’t that wonderful?

The gospel so powerful, friends.

Let’s believe it and live out of its truth.


***

Messages in This Series

Jesus Paid It All
What If Jesus Had Not Paid It All?
Freed from Debt

***


Questions for Group Discussion

1. Recap and Review the previous sermons in this series. Thinking back over both Isaiah 53 and John 19, what have you learned so far about “Jesus Paid It All?” What has meant the most to you personally?

2. Read 1 Peter 2:13-25 and discuss it. Why does Peter quote from Isaiah 53? How should Christians follow Jesus’ example in the face of injustice?

3. Re-read 1 Peter 2:24. How does our being freed from debt enable us “to live free from more debt?” What does it mean to “die to sins and live for righteousness?” What does that look like in your life right now?

4. Read Matthew 18:21-35 and discuss it. How does our being freed from debt enable us to free others from their debts? Have you forgiven someone it was hard to forgive because you realized that you have been forgiven an even greater debt? Do you have a story you can tell the group (without gossiping about the one who sinned against you)?

5. What has been your biggest “takeaway” from this sermon series on “Jesus Paid It All?”  How do you hope to live differently because you have taken it to heart?

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Sunday, March 13, 2016

[Matt's Messages] "What If Jesus Had Not Paid It All?"

“What If Jesus Had Not Paid It All?”
Jesus Paid It All
March 13, 2016 :: John 19:30 

Last week, we started a short sermon series that focuses our attention this month on the Cross of Jesus Christ.

Every Sunday this month, we are singing “Jesus Paid It All. All to Him I Owe. Sin Had Left a Crimson Stain. He washed it white as snow.”

Last week, the words up here were red. Now, they’re white as snow.

Last Sunday, we started this series in the Old Testament prophecy of Isaiah. We read Isaiah chapter 53 and heard the prediction of the Submissive Suffering Servant who sacrificed Himself for our sins. A prophecy made over 700 years before Jesus fulfilled it.

“...he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (vv.5-6).

Jesus Paid It All.

Now, this week, I want us to begin by reading a New Testament account of the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. John chapter 19 tells us the story of the crucifixion of Jesus.

The older I get, the harder it is for me to read the story of the crucifixion.

It’s just more real. More terrible. More awful.

But also more precious.

This chapter begins with a flogging. V.1

“Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.”

Just that sentence should make us wince and weep.

I’ve never seen a real flogging, I think that I’d throw up if I did.

“...by his wounds [by his stripes] we are healed.” But it was much more than that. V.2

“The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. [A mocking crown that hurt. That made his scalp bleed.] They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ And they struck him in the face.”

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” v.4

“Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, ‘Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.’ When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, ‘Here is the man!’ As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, ‘Crucify! Crucify!’ But Pilate answered, ‘You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.’ The Jews insisted, ‘We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.’ When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. ‘Where do you come from?’ he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer.”

“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” v.10

“‘Do you refuse to speak to me?’ Pilate said. ‘Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?’ Jesus answered, ‘You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.’ [Judas. But it’s all part of God’s plan. “It was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer...”]

From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, ‘If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.’ When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge's seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour. ‘Here is your king,’ Pilate said to the Jews.”

“Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?’ Not these people. V.15

“But they shouted, ‘Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!’ ‘Shall I crucify your king?’ Pilate asked. ‘We have no king but Caesar,’ the chief priests answered. Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus.”

And then the unthinkable occurs. V.17

“Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others–one on each side and Jesus in the middle.”

We can’t really understand what that means. Nailed to a Cross. How many times have we sung our song, hymns, and spiritual songs about the Cross? About this cruel instrument of torture and asphyxiated death. V.19

“Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek.

The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, ‘Do not write 'The King of the Jews,' but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.’ Pilate answered, ‘What I have written, I have written.’

When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. ‘Let's not tear it,’ they said to one another. ‘Let's decide by lot who will get it.’ This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, ‘They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.’ So this is what the soldiers did.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”

Now he’s coming to the end. V.28

“Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’ [I’m not sure how many passages of Scripture were being fulfilled here but Isaiah 53 is in the mix. Jesus knew that He was fulfilling Scripture.]

A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. [Now listen.] When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

“It is finished.”

Those are three words in English, but in Greek, it’s just one word. “Tetelestai” “It is finished.” Or “It is accomplished.”

That’s not a cry of desperation. Jesus does not say, “I am finished. I am done for.”

No, he says, “It is finished.”  It’s a cry of triumph and victory and accomplishment.

He has done it. He has done what He set out to do.

He had fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 53.

He had born “the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

“It is finished!”

Jesus paid it all.

John used the same word in verse 28 to say that “all was now completed.” It’s “tetelestai.” Jesus knew that it was finished so he took one last drink and one last breath and yelled it out for all to hear.

“It is finished!”

Jesus paid it all.

History tells us that this word “tetelestai” was often written on a business document or a receipt to indicate that a bill had been paid in full.

There was no more payment required.

Like that red stamp we put on a bill today.

“Paid in Full.”

Tetelestai!”

Jesus said, “It is finished. With that he, bowed his head and gave ups his spirit.”

He died.

These words on his lips.

“It is finished.”

But what if it wasn’t?

Today, I want us do a little thought-experiment together.

And think some truly terrible thoughts so that we can truly appreciate what is true.

I want us to ask the question, “What if Jesus had not paid it all?”

Now, I don’t mean what if Jesus had never come or if Jesus had never died.

I mean what if Jesus’ death was not enough? Not sufficient?

What if Jesus’ death was a partial payment for our sin and not a full one?

Last week, we emphasized the word “paid” in “Jesus paid it all.”

This week, I want us to really meditate on that last word “all.”

Jesus paid it ALL.

What if he only paid it some?

Why would we think that way? Why would we do that thought-experiment?

I believe it helps to know and appreciate what you have when you realize what you would lose if you didn’t have it.

For example, I never knew what a gift good digestion was until I lost it last Summer.

When you lose something or something is threatened to be lost, that’s when you know how precious is.

So let’s think about how precious it is that Jesus cried, “It is finished.” By thinking what if he said, “Now it begins.”

“Here you go. That’s the first part. Now it’s up to you!”

And He dies.

What would that mean for us?

What if Jesus had not paid it all?

So many ways we could go with that dystopian idea.

Here are two major ones to consider:

#1. UNENDING WORK.

If Jesus’ payment for our sins was only partial, then you and I would still have a lot of work left to do.

Somebody has to earn our salvation, and if Jesus’ death only got us so far, then we’d have to get to work earning our way to God.

And you know what, that’s how lots of people think it works.

People think that Christianity is about doing good works to please God.

“Yeah, Jesus died for our sins. But that can’t be enough. I’ve got to do something to contribute to all of this.”

Do you know what we call that doctrine?

We call it “legalism.” Legalism is the doctrine that we must work to earn our salvation.

It’s a performance mentality. If I perform well, then God will reward me. Really, He’ll owe me.

Maybe Jesus gets me in the door, but I have to keep myself in the room by my good works.

Is that how it works? Well, if Jesus’ death was not enough, then we’d be on the hook for it.

But that’s not how it works.

I got the idea for this message from a parody of “Jesus Paid It All” called “Jesus Paid It Some” by Stephen Altrogge.

Jesus Paid It Some

I hear the Savior say,
You’re not doing enough;
Work your fingers to the bone,
I will save those who are tough.

Jesus paid it some
I will do the rest
Sin had left a crimson stain
Now I will give my best

For now indeed I’ll try
To earn your love and grace
I’ll add the works I have
To complete the price you paid.

REFRAIN

And when before the throne
I’ll give my deeds to you,
I’ll hope I’ve done enough
To make you let me through.

REFRAIN (3x just to be sure)

Isn’t that terrible?

It almost sounds right, and yet it sounds so awful!

How would that affect you if Jesus paid some and you had to pay the rest?

Well, in one way, I think it would foster pride. Wouldn’t it? Pride.

If I was contributing to my salvation, then I would have something to boast about.

I think about the parable Jesus told about the Pharisee and the tax collector.

Look at Luke chapter 18, verse 9.

“To some who were confident of their own righteousness [dikaousunai] and [therefore?] looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:

‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

[Which one of those is supposed to be the good guys? Two guys went up to pray. One was a preacher named Pastor Matt Mitchell and the other was dirty low down extortionist who worked for the oppressive government.”]

“The Pharisee [Matt] stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. [I contribute to my salvation.] I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”

[I do. I do. I do. I work hard for the Lord. I do good deeds. I am confident in my own righteousness.]

‘But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

‘I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified [dedikaiumenoi] before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.’”

That’s what happens when you contribute to your salvation.

When you become confident in your own righteousness, you get proud.

Remember what Dave Learish said about pride two weeks ago?  God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Raise your hand if you want God to oppose you?

But, I can see how someone might want Jesus’ death to not be enough for them so that they can get some credit for being good and doing good.

But Paul said in Ephesians 2. “It is by grace [sheer grace!] you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”

No one but God.

Jesus said, “It is finished.” Jesus paid it all. So He gets all the glory.

Now, it is true that we have work to do. But we are to do our good works, not to pay our part, but out of gratitude for His grace. Paul goes on to say after saying that salvation is not by works, Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

So, humble yourself and do good works but don’t try to pay your way. Or you’ll only get proud.

AND you’ll get desperate.

I think that legalist who is being honest with themselves will eventually move away for pride and into despair.

Because we’ll see that our good works are never enough.

When we realize that the standard is perfection and that we will never match up to it, then if we come up also against a Savior whose death only gets us into the door but doesn’t get us home, then we’ll despair. We’ll lose hope. We’ll get depressed. We’ll fall apart.

I know I will.

There are a lot of religions out there that tell their followers to be good people and add to what Jesus has done to make it home.

Some of those religions call themselves Christian.

But if they are teaching that we add to our salvation by our works that we make up for what Jesus left undone, then they are preaching a false gospel that does not honor Christ and does not save.

And I worry about folks trapped in those religious systems because it’s got to be depressing. It’s got to wear them down.

Unending work. When will we be good enough? When will I have racked up enough points to be saved, to be secure, to be safe?

Or do I have to get some good works from others, from other people, even dead saints, to go on my account?

Don’t despair.

Jesus did pay it all.

Jesus did say, “It is finished.” Our redemption is paid in full.

Now, some people hear that and they think, well, if it’s already paid then why should I be good? Jesus paid the debt, so why not sin so that grace may abound?

What do we say to that?

“May genoita!” Right?  We learned that from Paul in Romans?  May it never be. I don’t think so. No way, no how!

That’s not how it works. If Jesus paid it all, then I’m going to hate sin and fight against it. My life is fundamentally changed by that full payment.

Why would I want to add to what put Jesus on the Cross?

No.

But don’t despair. Hope in Jesus.

Number two. What would it mean for us if Jesus had only paid it some?

#2. UNENDING PUNISHMENT.

Not only would it mean that we had a lot of work left to do, but it also would mean that we had a lot more punishment to absorb.

Just feel that. Just feel John 19 and Isaiah 53 and say, “If that wasn’t enough, then I deserve to get the rest.”

What Jesus went through is what I deserved.

Do you believe that?

That’s what Christians believe.

There are people out there that don’t think that way. They think that people are pretty good and just need a little push in the direction of being good.

But if we are good, why did Jesus have to be pierced and crushed and cut off?

When we see the wounds of Jesus and the suffering of Jesus on the Cross, we realize how ugly, how blameworthy, how culpable, how shameful is our sin.

As the hymn says:

Behold the man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

But what if it isn’t finished?

Then we have some more punishment to absorb!

If it wasn’t for Jesus’ sacrifice, then we would get the punishment that we deserve.

And it would be eternal. It would be unending punishment.

Jesus’ death satisfies the righteous requirement of God’s justice because Jesus was innocent and infinite.

He was able to take our place and basically experience and absorb the infinite wrath of God for the sins of His people.

And because He was innocent and infinite, that payment was sufficient and Jesus was resurrected and vindicated.

But don’t believe that your rebellious sins against an infinitely perfect God would be so “easily” paid for by your finite death. It will take an eternity in conscious eternal torment to pay for any sins which were not covered by the blood of Jesus.

Yes, God’s holiness is that valuable.

No amount of penance. No amount of “purgatory” will pay our remaining debt.

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Two implications of that.

First, we’ve got to trust in the blood of Jesus and Jesus alone.

Remember Romans 3?

“[A]ll have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.”

Jesus paid it all.

So trust in Jesus alone.

And tell other people to do that, too.

We’ve got to share this message with others.

Because there is unending punishment for those who do not trust in the blood of Jesus.

His blood is so powerful!  “It is finished!”  “Paid in full!”

But people have to put their faith in that finished work of Christ.

But here’s another implication. I hope it’s encouraging to you today.

Your sufferings today are not punishment for your sins.

Your sufferings today, if you are in Christ, are not punishment for your sins.

Jesus paid it all. He took all the punishment.

Romans 8:1, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

No condemnation. No punishment.

Yes, you’re suffering. Your suffering is real. It is real painful! It hurts.

And Jesus understands that. Jesus is the man of sorrows. He gets it. He walks with you through your pain. Whatever it is.

But He took your punishment, so whatever reasons God has for allowing that suffering in your life, none of them are punitive.

Does that help you?

It helps me. “What did I do to deserve this?”

Well, everything! And nothing.

My suffering is for my good. My suffering is for God’s glory. My suffering is evil and wrong and painful and not good or enjoyable. It’s a result of the Fall and the curse. It may even be on some level a consequence of my own sin.

But it is not punitory.

It is not washing away my sin. It is not paying for my sins.

Jesus paid it all.

I’m guessing that some of you. I know that some of you are going through horrendous things.

Let this lighten your load if just a little bit. God is not punishing you.

There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Why?

Because Jesus paid it all.

Because Jesus said with his last dying breath, “Tetelestai.” It is finished.

We could go on. We could take a part every blessing that the Cross brings us and say that they are also taken away from us.

10,000 reasons for our hearts to sing?

We’d have 10,000 reasons for our hearts to cry.

Because this is everything, friends.

Jesus Paid It ALL.

And if He didn’t then we are in miserable trouble. Unending work and unending punishment.

But He pay it all. He did fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah. He did go to the Cross for you and for me.

Let it humble you. Let it give you hope. Let it give you joy.

Rejoice that Jesus paid it all.

Hallelujah, What a Savior!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Sunday, March 06, 2016

[Matt's Messages] "Jesus Paid It All"

“Jesus Paid It All”
March 6, 2016 :: Isaiah 53 

You may have noticed a slight change in the furniture up here at the stage.

In fact, I think it’s pretty hard to miss.

It’s not going to be up here every Sunday, but I wanted to do something different this month to focus our minds and hearts together on the Cross.

We just recently finished the book of Romans. And the big question when you finish something big like that is, “What’s next?”

What is our next sermon series? What are we going to study next? What are we going to learn next? What’s up next?

And the big, long-term answer to that question is the Old Testament books of 1st and 2nd Kings. 1st and 2nd Kings. Soon, we’re going to pick up our long-term ongoing journey through the big story of the Bible that we’ve been on since 2003. Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, and most recently 1st and 2nd Samuel.

So, 1st and 2nd Kings is what’s next in the long run.

But I don’t plan to start us in those books until after Resurrection Sunday. Not until April begins will we dive into the stories of the Kings.

So what’s next in the short run?

“Jesus Paid It All.”

We sang a newer version of that song this morning. We’re going to sing it every Sunday this month.

And I want us think about the truth of that song every Sunday this month.

“Jesus Paid It All.”

That’s what this table is all about.

Jesus Paid It All
All to Him I Owe
Sin Had Left a Crimson Stain
He Washed It White As Snow

Did you ever have one of those moments when everything in the world made sense?

Where the “penny dropped” and you finally “got it.”

When I was a very young man, maybe 15 years old or so, maybe 14, the choir at my home church was doing a cantata.

Do you know what cantata is? Cantata is the Latin word for long, boring, choir concert.

I’m just kidding. Actually, I love choir concerts!

But a cantata is a longer choir concert often on a single theme.

And this was an Easter one.

And I was listening closely. I didn’t always listen closely when I was a kid, but that day I was.

I wasn’t searching for something spiritual. At least, I didn’t think I was.

But the choir sang this song and a younger adult named Jim Artz sang the verse as a solo.

Jesus Paid It All
All to Him I Owe
Sin Had Left a Crimson Stain
He Washed It White As Snow

And the Holy Spirit used that solo at that moment to draw me to God and to give me an understanding of the gospel like I had never had before.

I remember it so clearly, and it got me through some painful times that I was going through right then. And it strengthened my faith as I debated Christianity with my friends at that time.

It was all suddenly so clear!

Jesus had paid for it all. And I owed Him everything.

Turn with me, if you would to the prophecy of Isaiah chapter 53.

Because the lyrics of that song are powerful because they are true. What they are saying is in the Bible. And probably the place where it’s the clearest is Isaiah 53.

Isaiah 53 is one of the most famous passages of holy Scripture, and rightly so.

For it predicts the suffering of Jesus Christ over 700 years before He was born!

Isn’t that amazing?!

Isaiah was written at least 700 years before Jesus was born, but when we read it today, you can hear it. It’s so obviously about Him.

It doesn’t use His name.

It actually refers to Him as “God’s servant.”  And describes Him in prophetic terms as God’s Suffering Servant.

A servant undergoing an almost unbearable amount of personal suffering.

But not in vain.

Now, we won’t be able to talk about every detail of this chapter. A few years ago, I preached Isaiah 53 in 3 messages, and I still didn’t get to all of the nooks and crannies and glorious nuances in this prophecy.

But I do think that we can feel the weight of it. That we can do some justice to the potent heaviness, the weightiness of this passage of Scripture and feel it in our bones that Jesus paid it all.

Let’s actually start in Isaiah 52, the last 3 verses, because that’s where this part of the prophecy really begins to unfold. Isaiah 52:13.

“See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.”

God speaks first.

In the King James, it says, “Behold!”

Look at this! God has an appointed servant, and He will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.

It starts on a good note. And that’s important to remember because it goes down really fast after that.

But it starts with a vision of the end so that we know the story has a happy ending.

No matter how awful the story gets in the middle, the end is going to be glorious. V.14

“Just as there were many who were appalled at him–his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness–so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.”

Again, something good is going to happen. God’s servant will “sprinkle many nations.” He’ll purify them. He’ll sanctify them.

And alternate translation will be, He’ll “startle” many nations. They’ll be surprised so much so that the “kings will shut their mouths because of him.”

They’ll be saying, “Wow! I never saw that coming!”

“Nobody ever told me that this could happen, that this would happen! That He would do that!”

But to get there, to this sprinkling or startling of the nations, it will take massive suffering.

V.14 says that the Servant’s appearance would be disfigured beyond that of any man.

I think that means that He wouldn’t even look human.

Now think about the Cross.

This month, think about the Cross. Pick a gospel, Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John and read the last several chapters slowly. Maybe do each one. And see what Jesus went through.

Think about how they treated him at His trial, His scourging, His crucifixion.

Do you think when they were done with Him, that he looked like a man?

In verse 1, the prophet speaks.

“Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?”

Who is listening? Who has gotten the gospel? Who has been paying attention?

Who gets what I’m saying about this Suffering Servant? He is the arm of the LORD. He is the Messiah who has been promised. He is the Lord’s strength.

Is anybody listening?

Very few. He didn’t seem like much. V.2

“He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”

He didn’t stand out in the crowd.

He seemed like a little weed, a little shoot from the stump, not a real tree.

Not anything to be reckoned with.

He wasn’t a Joseph or David or even a Saul.

He came from Nazareth. Can anything good come from Nazareth?

It’s like Pinchy. Can anything good come from Pinchatoly?

We wouldn’t take Him seriously.

You see that’s part of His suffering. Jesus who was God laid aside His glory and lived in obscurity. He deserved all worship and He got ignored. V.3

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”

We turned our back on Him.
We did not care that He was suffering.

He was obviously a loser.

Only losers suffer!

But it turns out that the suffering He was doing was our suffering. V.4

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows [the pronouns are so important], yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. [Those were our sufferings! V.5] But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Jesus paid it all.

Now, I want this to be really clear.

It’s possible to see the suffering of Jesus and not realize that it’s because of our sins.

V.4 says that He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows.

So, one thing He did was suffer with those who suffer. He hurt with those who hurt.

He was pained with those who are pained.

And that’s encouraging if you are someone who has experienced great suffering yourself.

Jesus understands and is going through it with you.

He is man of sorrows and familiar with suffering–including yours.

But verse 5 says something more. It says that the sufferings the Servant went through (and it’s so obviously Jesus, isn’t it?), that his sufferings were because of our transgressions, our iniquities. That’s not just our trials, that’s our sins.

His hands were pierced because of my gluttony, my gossip, my lust, my hate, my anger, my jealousy, my arrogance, my deceit.

And yours, too.

He was crushed because of your sins.

Think about your last week, your last seven days.

How many sins?

Either things you did that you shouldn’t have done.
Or things you should have done that went undone.

How many sins?

V.6 “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Substitution is at the heart of the gospel.

Jesus got what we deserve.

When you see Jesus on the Cross in your minds’ eye, realize that that is the treatment that you deserve for your crimes against humanity and more importantly your crimes against the Deity.

Your crimes against God.

“The LORD has laid on [Jesus] the iniquity of us all.”

Jesus paid it all.

He suffered, and we profited.

We are in Isaiah 53. We’re the sheep. Stupid little sheep choosing our own way. No matter who we hurt. No matter how wrong we are.

Verse 6 should read, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has...sent us all to hell.”

But that’s how it reads.

It says, “Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

By His wounds, we are healed.

Saved!

Jesus bore our sins.

I know that we say that all of the time. Let’s never take it for granted.

Let’s never get used to that idea.

The servant suffered for our sins. And He did submissively. V.7

“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”

That’s Jesus at His trial, right?

He could have easily defended Himself and accused them. But He had chosen this and was following His Father’s will. V.8

“By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.”

He didn’t deserve it.

But He died for our sins.

Interesting about being assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich (?) in His death. That’s fulfilled in Joseph of Arimathea, isn’t it?

Jesus was sinless. Jesus was innocent. Jesus was pure and spotless.

Yet Jesus was sacrificed. V.10

“Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer...”

Those are some of the hardest words in this prophecy to swallow.

The King James rightly translates that it God was “pleased” to crush him and cause him to suffer.

Not because God is cruel. But because God is just and loving at the same time. Perfectly just and perfectly loving at the same time.

And this, in God’s wisdom, was the way to save His people from their sins.

To be both just and the justifier of those who believe. (Romans 3)

Because Jesus’ suffering was not in vain.

Jesus’ sacrifice was salvific! His life was a guilt offering. V.10 again.

“Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.”

What?

I thought it said that the Servant was going to die?

Yes. Pierced, crushed, slaughtered, taken away, cut off from the land of the living, a guilt offering sacrificed up.

But then RAISED UP!

Good Friday was a evil as it comes. But Resurrection Sunday was just 3 days away!

What’s amazing about Isaiah 53 is that it not only predicts the crucifixion, but also the resurrection.

What is this offspring of the Servant? It’s you and me. It’s Jesus’ children by faith.

It’s God’s children by adoption. “And the will of the Lord will prosper in His hand.” v.11

“After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

Jesus paid it all.

You know what that means?

That means that our debt is fully paid.

And it means that Jesus will be rewarded for His suffering, and He’s planning to share the rewards with us?!!!  Can you imagine?!!?!

The very people whose sin placed Him on the cross?  Victory in Jesus!

Do you hear God’s voice in verses 11 and 12?

Just like He spoke in verse 1, “My servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted,” God speaks again in these last two verses.

“I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

God says that He will reward His Servant for paying that terrible price.

That’s what Paul was meditating on when he wrote Philippians 2.

“Christ Jesus, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Jesus paid it all.

He bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Do you feel the weight of that?

That’s what I felt when I heard that song sung when I was 15.

I got it. In many ways, for the first time right then.

I want to live there this month.

All the time really, but I want to dwell at the foot of the Cross and look up and see my Savior and what He did for me.

Jesus Paid It All.

Three points of application as we celebrate around this table.

#1. REPENT.

I hope that none of us take Jesus’ sacrifice for granted.

Oh, that’s Jesus’ job. I do the sinning. He does the suffering.

Thanks for the blood!

When I read this and see what Jesus went through for me, it should cause me to blush with shame over my sin.

To regret it and hate it and turn from it.

I can’t pay for it. He’s done that already.

But I can hate it.

I can turn from it. I can wage war on my sins.

Today, at this table, tell the Lord how much you hate your own sin and turn away from it.

Use this as a time of confession.

If you don’t see your sin at all, then don’t eat the bread and drink from the cup.

Because this is a meal for sinners.

Only sinners eat this meal. Only those who can see how vile they’ve been are welcome here.

Repent.

#2. RECEIVE.

Receive the forgiveness of sins.

Jesus has paid for them all. He was pierced for your transgressions. He was crushed for your iniquities. The punishment that brings you peace was upon Him.

By His wounds you are healed.

By His knowledge of suffering, God’s righteous servant will justify many.

Or as John said it, “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

Receive Him.

Maybe for the first time.

If you have not received Him as your Savior, we invite you to do so right now!

This table is only for those who have received Jesus.

Maybe for the thousandth time, receive His forgiveness.

Because Jesus paid it all, your debt is paid.

Walk in that. Don’t keep trying to pay your own way.

Receive His payment on your behalf.

#3. REJOICE!

Rejoice that all of this is true.

Jesus is satisfied. Jesus is happy about His work and what He did for us.

Even as we regret and repent of our sins, we rejoice that they are paid for.

So praise Him!

“Praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead!”

Rejoice!

Thank the Lord for His goodness and kindness and mercy and grace.

This is a table of thanksgiving.

This is a table of rejoicing.

This is a table of celebration.

We’re dividing the spoils with the Savior!

“Because he poured out his life unto death and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sins of many and made intercession” for us.

Saturday, March 05, 2016