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Sunday, April 16, 2017

[Matt's Messages] "Forsaken No Longer"

“Forsaken No Longer”
Resurrection Sunday
April 16, 2017 :: Psalm 22

Christ Is Risen!
He Is Risen Indeed!

Or in the words we’ve been using recently, “Christ Is Forsaken No Longer. He Is Forsaken No Longer Indeed.”

For the last several weeks, we’ve been studying Psalm 22 together as a church family.

By the way, if you are guest with us this morning, or a newcomer, welcome! You are catching the tail end of our sermon series, but you’ve got here in time for the big victorious ending!

Can I just say, please come back next week and the next week after that if you can? If you’re visiting from out of state or another church, I understand. Don’t come back next week. But I’ve noticed that some people only come on like Christmas or Easter?

And we are so glad you do come at those times. But we want to invite you to come on other Sundays, as well. There is a lot more to this Christianity thing than just two Sundays a year.

Some of you might have expected baptisms today because we often have them on Resurrection Sunday. I love it when we do!  But that’s not the only Sunday that we can do baptisms. I actually expect more baptisms in the next few weeks. I’ve been teaching a class, and they are almost ready to go! So you never know when something like that might happen.

And every week, we open the Bible together and see amazing things.

So, I want to invite you to worship with us again next week and the week after that and the week after that.

Have you found Psalm 22?

Psalm 22 starts out incredibly depressing.

It’s a sad song of anguish and abandonment and excruciating pain.

Last week, we saw that it was on the lips of Jesus when He was crucified on the cross.

The first words of Psalm 22 were some of Jesus’ last words before He died. It starts out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

A cry of dereliction.
A cry of pain.
An anguished cry of torment that was originally written by David to express his affliction but was so much more experienced by our Lord Jesus Christ.

What David merely tasted, Jesus swallowed whole.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

On the Cross, Jesus was experiencing that question as no one ever had or ever will.

And we saw last week that it went further than just that verse. Jesus fulfilled the whole psalm. It was written a thousand years before Jesus was even born, but it predicted how Jesus would suffer, down to many of the details!

His groaning.
His being scorned and mocked.
The wagging of the heads of those around him.
Being surrounded by his enemies.
Their casting lots for his clothing.
Even down to verse 16, “They have pierced my hands and my feet.”

Jesus lived out Psalm 22 to the extreme.
Jesus was godforsaken on that Cross.

The Bible says that Jesus “became sin” for us on that Cross.

And you know how God feels about sin.

He experienced the righteous wrath of God for our sins in His body on the Tree.

Or in the words of Isaiah 53,

“[Jesus] 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.”

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

But Jesus did not stay forsaken.

That’s what we celebrate today.

Not just that He was forsaken, but that He did not stay forsaken for long.

And Psalm 22 predicted that, as well.

We often miss that. At least I do. When I read Psalm 22, I almost tremble to think of what Jesus did for us on the Cross. But that’s just the first two thirds of the psalm.

In verse 22, the psalm really changes. It really takes a big turn and then it gets big and expansive and joyful and glorious as it heads down the last stretch.

I think we often forget to read to the end.

What are some of your favorite comebacks of all time?

Your favorite turnarounds, reversals, returns from behind?

I know that a bunch of you are sports fans, and that’s where your mind immediately goes.

So maybe you go to Penn State Football. November 6, 2010 Penn State versus Northwestern. A 21 point comeback. Biggest of Joe Paterno’s career as coach of the Nittany Lions.

Or maybe you go to Pittsburgh Steeler Football. December 15, 1985. Against the Buffalo Bills. Again, a 21 point comeback. Only happened 3 times in Steeler history. That day, plus against the Ravens in 1997, and the Chicago Cardinals in 1953!

Or maybe your sport is wrestling. And you are thinking about Penn State’s NWCA Dual Championship just this year. They came back from a 13-0 deficit to win 27-13.

Or maybe you’re thinking of the Chicago Cubs and their game 7 of this last year’s world series. And how that was comeback to win the world series after 106 years of never winning the world series.

Or maybe you’re like me and not into sports at all and would have to look up all of games on Google to even know they were ever played!

Whether you are into sports or not, we all have comebacks that we love.

Maybe it’s the twisty ending of your favorite movie when it seems like the hero has lost for the last time, and then (wonder of wonders!) they come back and beat the bad guys.

Or that video game that you love to play. Remember that time you came back from so far behind and beat your brother? Or beat your sister?

Or maybe it was someone who came back from cancer.

Or from the brink of divorce.

Or from bankruptcy.

They were headed for the falls, and they somehow beat back the current and survived.

What’s your favorite comeback?

What if we love comebacks so much because at the very center of history is the greatest comeback ever?

Jesus came back from being forsaken by God.

Jesus came back from the dead.

David anticipated his comeback in verses 22 through 31.

Life was terrible, and he was crying out to God to rescue him.

But he believed that God was going to save him, so he planned in advance to praise him. V.22 again.

“I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! [Why?] For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.”

David expected to be answered. To be saved.

He did not believe that he would remain forsaken forever.

That God would answer his cry for help.

And the same is true for Jesus.

He just had to die first.

Jesus did everything bigger than David.

David felt like he was dying.
Jesus died.

David believed that God would restore him.
Jesus was restored from the dead.

David felt forsaken.
Jesus was forsaken, but is forsaken no longer.

The resurrection was the greatest comeback of all human history.

And it is historical.

The resurrection actually happened.

Jesus came back from the dead, not in some metaphorical or analogical way. Not in some mythical way. Like just a great story.

But really. Truly. Jesus was dead. Flatlined. No brain activity. His body had become a corpse.

But three days later, He was alive again.

If you don’t believe that yet, I challenge you to review the evidence.

Read a good book about it like The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel which, I understand, has been made into a big movie in theaters right now.

It’s not just a story, not just a fairy tale.

It’s history.

And it’s the greatest comeback of all history.

#1. IN THE RESURRECTION, JESUS IS FORSAKEN NO LONGER. 

You know, I believe that Jesus had the whole of Psalm 22 on His mind when He was the Cross, not just the first verse.

I wonder if he didn’t quote the whole thing down the very end. From “forsaken” to “I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you.”

You know the early church saw Jesus in these verses at the end of Psalm 22 and not just at the beginning.

Verse 22 is quoted word for word in Hebrews chapter 2, verse 12.

“I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you.”

And the author of Hebrews says, “That’s Jesus! That’s Jesus saying that.”

And the only way He can say it, is if Jesus has risen from the dead.

And He has.

He is forsaken no longer.

And because He is forsaken no longer.

We are never forsaken.

#2. BECAUSE OF THE RESURRECTION WE ARE NEVER FORSAKEN.

God says to His children who have put their faith in Jesus, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  That’s Hebrews chapter 13:5.

And it’s all because of the resurrection.

Think about what Psalm 22 predicts.

It predicts that we will become the brothers and sisters of Christ. V.22 again.

“I will declare your name to my brothers.”

According to Hebrews 2, that’s Jesus saying that.

Who are Jesus’ brothers?

It’s you and me.

Do you know that Jesus never called his disciples “brothers” until after the resurrection? He called them by name, He called them His children, His disciples, His flock, etc.

But it wasn’t until Mary ran into Him in the garden that He said this. John 20, verse 17, “Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Isn’t that interesting?

The resurrection makes us the brothers and sisters of Jesus.

By adoption and by new birth.

And if you are the spiritual brother of Jesus, you will never be forsaken!

Read Romans chapter 8 sometime to see how secure and loved are the children of God!

Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Because He is Risen, We are Never forsaken.

“Brothers!”

And it’s more than just that. We are satisfied forever. Look at verse 25.

“From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows. The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him–may your hearts live forever!”

The poor there in verse 26 could be translated “afflicted” or “meek.” They are the ones who know that they are needy.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Do you know that you are needy?

Jesus says that those who come to Him will be satisfied. And their hearts will live forever.

Do you see how the kingdom comes here?  This psalm goes so big. Bigger than David could have ever imagined. V.27

“All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD [even the people in Pennyslvania?!], and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations.

All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him–those who cannot keep themselves alive. [Everybody] Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn–for he has done it.”

You know what that sounds like to me?

It sounds like Philippians chapter 2.

Jesus “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.”

Forever and ever and ever!

Because of the resurrection, we will never be forsaken and we will enjoy Jesus forever. Kingdom come!

All glory be to Christ our king!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign will ever sing,
All glory be to Christ!

So, how should we respond to the greatest comeback ever?

Three things.

#1. REPENT.

Look at verse 27, what we are suppose to do.

“All the ends of the earth will remember and TURN to the LORD.”

Another word for that is to repent.

Jesus has come back to the dead, and He is calling for our allegiance to Him.

He doesn’t just want us to nod our heads and say, “What’s up. Welcome back, Jesus.”

He wants us to say, “I turn from our sin and trust in You. I want to become your follower. Please take me as your own.”

Don’t wait for this.

Don’t wait until Jesus completes His comeback.

When He comes back from heaven, there will be no second chances. Now is the time to turn to Him and be saved.

Repent.

If you forsake Jesus, you will be forsaken.

But Jesus says, “If you come to me, I will never drive you away” (John 6:37).

His arms are open wide.

Repent and come to Jesus.

#2. PRAISE!

Isn’t that the theme of this last third of Psalm 22?

V.22 “I will praise you.”
V.23 “Praise Him! Honor Him! Revere Him!”
V.25 “The theme of my praise...”
V.26 “They will praise Him....”
V.27 “Bow down before Him.”

Jesus is alive and that changes everything.

Including our worship.

We are never forsaken!

We have every reason to praise God!

We don’t sing enough.
We don’t praise enough.

We can’t praise enough for what Jesus has done.

In His suffering and death, Jesus has brought unbelievable blessing to everyone of His children. So we sing and praise and revere and worship Him.

And we tell others.

#3. PROCLAIM.

Look at verse 30 again.

“Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. [Who is going to do the telling? That’s our job. We’re the future generations!] They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn–for he has done it.”

It is finished. And it’s our job to tell other people.

Who do you need to tell this week that Jesus is no longer forsaken and therefore anyone who comes to Him in faith will never be forsaken?

They won’t know on their own.

It’s our job to get the word out.

In past years, we’ve had a baptism at this point in the service.

Somebody has gotten up and praised Jesus’ name in the assembly.

I think it’s appropriate for us to end this service today planning to be that person this week in somebody else’s life.

Whom could you proclaim it to?

Jesus planned to get up on that Resurrection Sunday morning and declare God’s faithfulness to Him even after being forsaken for us.

We should plan to get up tomorrow and go declare God’s faithfulness to us because we will never be forsaken.


Messages in this Series
1. Godforsaken: David
2. Godforsaken: Jesus

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