All American Speedway
April 16, 2011
“The Worst of Easter,
The Best of Easter”
(This is the Complete, unabridged message for our BCFM website)
Kathy and I will not be together with you next weekend on Easter, so I wanted to speak about it today. There is so much to say about it …and often not actually said. I want to take a little different approach to the issue this time, …so here you have it:
Personally, Easter is “Resurrection Day” to me and my family. It is the most important day in human history and has gone from the worst day in history to the best. Let me explain:
At the time of Jesus, crucifixion was the most feared, despised, and terrible way of death devised by mankind. It also carried a stigma of being reserved for the worst of society’s criminals and loathed men. The cross was the focal center of people’s most intense negative feelings. People were terrorized by the crosses in total public view. The cross was one of the Roman Empire’s keys to controlling their conquered nations & people. A similar cross emblem was also used by a number of largely detested heathen gods and groups …sort of like the swastika today.
There are over 300 prophesies that were fulfilled in the Bible alone about Jesus and His crucifixion …AND resurrection. That’s where things get interesting. The cross goes from a feared and hated symbol in people’s thinking, mindset, and emotions to the very opposite almost overnight …at least in three days!
The Apostle Luke, a medical Doctor of his day, gives the account of the entire event in the Book of Luke 22 through 24. Isn’t it interesting that God chose a learned Doctor to bring His account of this world and life changing event? I believe that God chose Luke because he was the best suited to convey the impact of the torture of crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
Take time this week to quiet your life down and then read and ponder Luke 22-24. That is your homework this next week.
If you want a fun, musical celebration of this Resurrection day event try this: It is three songs, one by 2nd Chapter of Acts, one by Keith Green and one by Carman. Yes, they were “back in the day” but they will never go out of date: I am not sure if this was one of the times, but look quick around the Keith Green video and you might find Kathy & me before we were married! (Yes, there are stories with Keith back in that day too. But they are not for today.)
Here are the YouTube websites of each:
Easter Song – Anne Herring & 2nd Chapter of Acts:
The Victor – Keith Green:
The Champion – Carman
Here is an extra one here from Keith for you; it is our bottom line:
And one more from Anne Herring & 2nd Chapter of Acts:
I hope you enjoyed the messages these classics brought!
Continuing now on today’s message:
Hebrews 12:2 “For the joy of the final results set before Him, Jesus endured the cross, scorning its shame, and then sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (GBB)
When that third morning came to be and the tomb stone rolled away, Jesus body gone, He appeared to His Disciples in hiding and over 500 more people, the world changed. At that point we could be reconciled to the Creator God of the universe, forgiven of every sin, and washed clean …and actually feel clean, as was my case!
That changed mankind’s’ viewpoint of the cross, but only when one experiences it through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. Only then does the realization become real, understandable, precious and holy, becoming the most important part of your life. That is Resurrection!
Otherwise, one is caught in the folly of the world as 1 Corinthians 1:18-21 & 26-31 relates:
“This is the sum and substance of the gospel. Christ crucified is the foundation of all our hopes and our joys. By Jesus’ death we live. The preaching of salvation for lost sinners by the sufferings and death of the Son of God, Jesus, …if explained and faithfully applied, appears foolishness to those on the way to destruction. The sensual, the covetous, the proud, and ambitious, alike see that the gospel opposes their favorite pursuits. But those who receive the gospel, and are enlightened by the Spirit of God, see more of God’s wisdom and power in the doctrine of Christ crucified, than in all the other works of Jesus. God left a great part of the world to follow the dictates of man’s boasted reason, and the resurrection event has shown that human wisdom is folly, and is unable to find or retain the knowledge of God as the Creator.
Therefore, it pleased God that it would be by the foolishness of preaching that saves them that believe. But the Gospel preached is foolishness to worldly-wise men. The Gospel and Its’ doctrine of salvation by faith, forever was, and forever will be, foolishness and despised by all not seeking to understand and are on the road to destruction. This Gospel of a crucified Savior, God in human form and nature, purchasing the church with His own blood, to save all that believe, from ignorance, delusion, and vice, has been blessed in every age since. And, the weakest instruments that God uses are stronger in their effects, than anything the strongest men can use and it overcomes all their admired wisdom and strength. God delights in using what the world considers dumb and never has had a clue about in how to know God, thereby bringing those who trust Him into salvation. (GBB)
So, here we have the dividing line of Resurrection. The experience!
Until this happens their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. They live as enemies of the cross of Christ and their destiny is destruction. (Philippians 3:18-19)
The only thing lacking in Jesus work at the cross is its incarnation to those who haven’t yet experienced it.
Today God has given those who have experienced resurrection the exact comfort, ability, and experience to help Jesus bring resurrection to those who have not experienced it and remain dead in their trespasses.
2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
This is exactly what this verse is talking about along with
1 Corinthians 1:24 “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church…”
We get to share, explain, and use the same comfort Jesus provided us through the Cross and Resurrection so that we can help Him bring new life, salvation, and watch a resurrection take place today!
But remember: It has nothing to do with us. Only the Holy Spirit can bring resurrection! We are off the hook and not responsible except to be God’s instrument of love and comfort by obeying Him and His command to “GO …into All the world …”
Hmmm …does that mean here at the track too? Isn’t that what Bob and Kathy are here for?
Well, to be truthful …yes and no! It includes you also. God will choose the person for the message and the comfort. Will you respond? That is His question for each one of us.
Every day people we all know and work or interact with people who are in God’s heart and maybe ripe to come face to face with God’s intervention:
- Maybe they are struggling with a drug or alcohol dependency
- Maybe a marriage problem or family issues
- Maybe a career going away …and struggling to face it
o Yes, it could be a driver. It was me once. That still isn’t easy until I face what He has asked me and honored me to do today. Then my joy is quick to return.
- Maybe sickness, whether terminal or just dehabilitating
- Maybe the loss of a mate or child
Or …maybe it is a Christian that has slipped and has become a hypocrite by putting on a show of righteousness while hiding sinful thoughts and behavior. We all struggle with this, don’t we?
Friends, the tomb is still empty. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father and continually looking for new authentic believers to resurrect from their tomb today.
He is still resurrecting lives and washing us clean also by the power of The Cross.
God built us for love and resurrected us to live an authentic life in this world today.
Let’s take time to dwell on this and process it in our hearts this week.
Then, on Friday we can say as we think about Jesus as He is crucified …we ca say:
Yes, …It’s Friday, BUT Sundays Coming!
Truly, the emblem of the Cross has become beautiful, an object of affection, and beautiful in our lives this Resurrection Day!
Have a safe and prosperous race today!