Why are we doing this “STORY” series? Well I believe it is VITALLY important that for the health of every Christian and non-Christian that they are a part of something bigger than themselves. For the Christian, that is the STORY of the Bible—the Story of God. It is in this Story we find joy, happiness and fulfillment in. At the height of that Story is the story of Christ!
So hear is what we have learned so far. God created this beautiful awesome world that is hard to imagine. And that is because our first parents rebelled against God and brought sin into the world. Every generation that has come after them has been in this cycle of sin and rebellion. God chose a certain family through which He would bring healing to the world. Jesus came from that family. Through Jesus all the families are blessed.
Last week my new friend Garrison Greene had the pleasure of starting that story of you. He primarily spoke to you about the Life and Mission of Christ by looking at the incarnation of Christ—God in flesh.
Today we will be looking at the HEIGHT of Jesus’ ministry on earth—the DEATH and RESURECTION of Christ. What I hope we will see today is...
Theme: The death OF Christ brought life IN Christ.
1. The multilayered meaning of Jesus’ death.
The meaning of Jesus’ death in some senses can be multifaceted. That is what we have been trying to help people see for the past 3 years at Refuge. I am not sure how much success we have had in that, but it is what we are trying to do. I have been meditating on Mark 10:45 for some time now. So let’s turn to MARK 10.45.
All throughout Jesus’ life we see Him modeling for us what it means to come into the world to serve and not be served. The words, “For even”, tell us Jesus was building on something He previously said. So what did He say?
Well let me give a little context here. Two disciples of Jesus, James and John, come to Jesus and ask to be His two right hand men. Jesus wants them to understand what that will mean—Mark 10.38-39.
First, let’s take notice the baptism language here. The language of baptism here is related to the OT language of CUP. The cup was a symbol of the WRATH of God being POURED out. It would remind a Jewish reader of JUDGMENT and DEATH. Being baptized like Jesus is a call to come and die with Him. Our conviction here at Refuge is that is what Baptism symbolizes. That is what you will see later in our service today. It will be people who want to acknowledge before you, “I treasure what Christ has done, and I want to come die with Him so I can live with Him.”
Now let’s look back at Mark 10.45. We have seen what it means for Jesus to serve, and for us to serve—service in the kingdom of God is to DIE to SELF. But the last part of this verse says, “...to give his life as a ransom for many.” Here is SECOND the UNIQUE part of Jesus’ death. This is something only He could do, and we will NEVER be able to do. A ransom is always paid to someone else. If someone is kidnapped, then the kidnappers will ask for a ransom. If you want the person back alive you will have to pay something. So who is this ransom paid to? While Christians disagree on this, what we believe here at Refuge is that the ransom was paid to God—READ Psalm 49.7-8:
Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice.—Psalm 49.7-8
According to Romans 6.23 what we have earned with our lives is DEATH. What Jesus earned was ETERNAL LIFE, therefore, what happened at the Cross of Christ was an exchange—a RANSOM. Look with at II Corinthians 5.21:
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.—II Corinthians 5.21
This is what we call the GREAT EXCHANGE. At the Cross Jesus took on our SIN. For those who believe this truth they receive the benefits of Jesus’ righteous life—what He earned—eternal life.
As you continue reading II Corinthians we see in 6.1 we are not supposed to receive the Cross in vain. The Cross of Christ is not supposed to be meaningless to us and the world around us. God is making His appeal to others through Christians. This would not have come to you unless something proclaimed it. We have been called to proclaim this message to others. My question to you is, who is that one person this week you could go proclaim this story to?
2. The multilayered meaning of Jesus’ resurrection.
We pointed out earlier in Baptism we are acknowledging we will die with Christ, but when we come out of the water we proclaim we will be raised with Him too.
Jesus’ death is the end of Jesus’ story. As Christians we do not just believe that Jesus died for our sins, but He also conquered them. The way we know Jesus conquered sin is through His resurrection. Paul tells in I Corinthians 15 that if Jesus was not raised from the dead then we are still in our sins. He says our faith is meaningless—we should be pitied more than anyone else on earth.
In the Bible there are two types of responses to this truth. The first are those who do not BELIEVE in the resurrection, and the second are those who believe but do not LIVE like it. First, I want to address the latter group, because those are the Christians. If the story of Jesus Death and Resurrection has become stale, trite, or trivial to you, then this is a call tail sign that you fit into this category. You believe in the resurrection but not VERY deeply.
Some of you may be familiar with Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. But that is not true resurrection because Lazarus died again. When Jesus rises from the dead death has no more power over Him. Jesus is not a shell of himself after He dies, but He becomes more. I Corinthians 15 explains how Jesus’ death and resurrection made Him MORE awesome!
This is supposed to be slowly happening to the Christian. We are supposed to be seeing that natural person dying, and the new person in Christ coming to life. This is called PROGRESSIVE sanctification. We are getting BETTER over time. Therefore, if we are not getting better, then we to reexamine our lives. We are supposed to be asking, “What is wrong with me? Why am I not growing? What is getting in the way of that?” This does not mean we aren’t Christians, but we might be blind to some sin. What sin or sins are preventing you from experiencing a resurrected life right now? Think on those this week and I would encourage you to go confess them to someone. I John 1 tells us we are to confess our sins, and God is faithful to forgive our sins. James 5 tells us to do that to one another so we can be healed.
For those of you in the other group—those who don’t believe. I appreciate your honesty in that, but want you to also honestly consider what we are talking about here. I want to encourage you to look deeply into this Story. Belief in this is not due to a lack of evidence, because there is plenty. I do not have the time today to present all that, but I have before. I have plenty of resources where you can do your due diligence. If you came with someone from our church, or you know someone in our church talk to them. They would be HAPPY to help you work through that. We strongly believe this is a life and death matter.
Lastly, I would encourage you to listen to the stories in the rest of this service. What you will hear today from people are different journeys with this Story. Some grew up in Christianity and others did not. Even those who grew up in Christianity did not necessarily believe just because they grew up in it. They struggled. Everyone here has at one time or another wrestled through whether or not they really believe this Story. But we all have wrestled. Our call or plea today is will you come wrestle with us?