June 22, 2013
“At Just the Right Time…”
At our last Chapel, in both Iowa and Lebanon, MO I ask you probably the most important question you will ever be asked. Today, I am going to ask another one to think about.
Predicaments, …one after another dot our lives at times. Sometimes we just cannot imagine how we were in the right place at the wrong time.
In our sport how many times have you been in that exact situation out on the track? You had nothing to do with the accident except being on the same race track! Most of the time that is likely to be mostly true, isn’t it.
But then …sometimes it is our own doing, isn’t it?
Whoops, now the shoe is on the other foot.
We need forgiveness instead of us giving forgiveness.
Chances are that you have never thought about that “I forgive you” really means. It may stun you! It might even make you think “Wow, maybe I didn’t really understand and want to take that forgiveness back.”
Forgive is a Biblical word and carries a deep spiritual meaning.
Forgive means: to per pay the debt yourself & set the person free from their debt to you.
The Hebrew word means to take the load off, …To lighten the load.
Whoa! That really sort of shocks us doesn’t it?
You mean that we are the ones paying off what we think they owe us?
…Like WE are the ones saying we’re sorry?
…Well, NO, not really.
…It is just that we are lifting the weight they should feel and let them off the proverbial hook for what transpired.
Now that you know what forgive means…
…what does this say about Jesus and the cross?
Romans 5: 6-8: “At just the right time Christ arrived to make this happen. He didn’t wait for us to help ourselves. We couldn’t anyway. He presented Himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak, rebellious and sinful to do anything to help get ourselves even the slightest bit pure which God demands a sacrifice to be. And even if we hadn’t been in that human condition we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a good person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatsoever to Him.” (GBB)
2 Corinthians 5:14-15: This simply means that one man, Jesus Christ, died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own. (GBB)
The Real Love of forgiveness is personal exchange. One chooses to limit oneself. “I’ll move toward a place of discomfort/ pain/danger/ for you.”
You know the story, but look at Luke 23:32-37: Two other men, both criminals, were taken along with Jesus for execution. When they got to the place called Skull Hill, they crucified him, along with the criminals, one on his right, and the other on his left.
Here’s the biggie: Jesus simply but pointedly prays: …“Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.”
Dividing up his clothes, they threw dice for them. The people stood there staring at Jesus, and the ringleaders made faces, taunting, “He saved others. Let’s see him save himself! The Messiah of God—ha! The Chosen—ha!” The soldiers also came and mocked Him, making a game of it. They toasted Him with sour wine: “So you’re King of the Jews! Save yourself!”
…It’s The Great Reversal.
…It’s The Great Exchange.
…Everything is turned Right Side Up forever, and restored the way God intended it to be.
Colossians 2:13-15 points us to the truth today: While we were alive, but already dead in our sins, and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made us alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the principalities and powers of demonic authorities holding us, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Side Note Here: There are very significant statements and history here. In those days when a nation was defeated the victorious army went out of their way to publically humiliate the defeated king and national leaders …usually before they tortured and killed them, also publically. For one thing they wanted to demoralize and intimate their newly captured subjects. In most cases in that those days they would strip them naked, put a collar and chain around their neck and march or drag them through the streets in front of the people. The Old Testament is full of examples of this type of treatment.
After Jesus execution and death, upon His resurrection, Jesus makes a like spectacle of the demonic forces that have enslaved humans throughout history. Personally, I believe we will get to see this stripping of their power and authority that we only THINK they possess over us. I think we will be astonished and wonder why on earth we ever thought they had rule and reign over us!
The Cross is the ultimate reversal…
We become people who can forgive…
Yes, we become people who, like Jesus will be persecuted as different..
Our history is changed…
Our relationship to God, our Creator, is restored…
There is no other religion with a cross that changes us from guilty to guiltless.
So, …here’s my question to you today:
“Who do you know today that would die for you?”
…Who would be willing to pay the price for all your sin and wrong doing if they were able?
In truth and possibility …ONLY Jesus Christ. And He already has!
You only have to simply recognize that gift and believe.
Simply follow the Apostle Paul & Silas when they told their jailer: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved (Acts 16:31)
In closing there is a perfect worship chorus lyric from Francesca Battistelli and Hillsong United in Sydney, Australia that goes like this:
“Lead me to the cross
Where Your love poured out
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to You
Lead me, lead me to the cross”
To listen to the church version of this message with our close friend Bruce Stefanik, select the link below: