Saturday, April 11, 2020

Easter 2020 the Story of Redemption - April 12, 2020

These are the Sermon Notes for April 12, 2020. Watch our livestream service every Sunday at 9:37 am on our facebook page or watch the livestream recordings any time.

Easter 2020 the Story of Redemption
Good morning and happy Easter!
I hope that the videos that I have been sharing with you all on Facebook have been a blessing throughout Holy Week. I think that it’s really helpful to walk day by day with Jesus through that week, and it all culminates right here, Easter Sunday, the day that the world stops to remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. He is alive!
But today is about much more than just remembering an event. Today is certainly about more than looking for candy filled eggs that a mythical bunny left on the windowsill behind your curtains. Did you check there?
Today is about remembering and celebrating the purpose of the event, embracing anew the eternal benefits of the work of Jesus, His life, death, and resurrection, not just their benefits though… Also their necessity. 
Did you know that the Bible is all one long story, not just one book, but one whole story? All of the individual books and accounts all work together toward the same purpose, to display God’s redemptive plan for mankind. 
Like all stories it begins at the beginning, in the book of Genesis, a word that means, “beginning.” In Genesis Moses wrote the account of God creating the world and all that is in it and proclaiming that, “It is good.” That is high praise from the Father! On the sixth day God created Man.
Genesis 1:26-31 records,
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 
27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
And things were good! For about a chapter… In Genesis 3 it’s recorded how God told Adam and Eve, the first man and woman that they could eat from any tree in the Garden that He put them in except for one. Which tree do you think that they decided to eat from? That one!
The devil appeared to Adam and Eve in the form of a snake and deceived them and got them to eat the forbidden fruit, they disobeyed God at the first opportunity.
Because of their disobedience, what we now call, “sin,” God cursed the serpent, God cursed the ground, and God cursed mankind, death entered into God’s perfect creation as a result of their sin.
But imbedded in the curse was a promise. Genesis 3:15 God says to the serpent,
15 I will put enmity [deep hatred] between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
Do you know who that offspring of the woman is? It’s Jesus!
Most of the rest of the Old Testament is given to God’s preservation of one bloodline from Adam and Eve, to Noah, to Abraham, to King David, all the way through to Joseph and Mary, to Jesus.
Jeff Reed wrote:
“[The whole Bible is given] to unfold God’s central plan and eternal purpose to set apart a people for Himself for all eternity, commissioning them to be witnesses of His purpose and supplying them with a book that contains all the essential insights and guidance that they need to effectively assist Him in carrying out His purpose, which demonstrates His wisdom to the rulers and authorities in heavenly places.”
God sets the stage for this whole story in Genesis with creation and the fall, as I’ve said, as well as insight into how to live in harmony with His created order and mankind’s tendency to resist that order.
God promised to bless all families of the earth through Abraham and his descendants, forming them into a nation and revealing how to live by faith in God, and revealed how man tends to resist that plan and go his own way.
God recorded the history of the nation of Israel, Abraham’s descendants, through whom God continued to sovereignly reveal His unfolding plan, making a covenant with King David and revealing a further aspect of His promise to bless all the families of the earth through a coming descendant who would rule forever.
God provided a kind of a divine hymn book in the Psalms for worship and reflection so that the people of God might internalize the Word of God and acquire hearts for God.
God also provided a kind of “divine guide to wise and skillful living” in the writings of King Solomon and those that wrote in his tradition for use in all areas of family, community, and national living so that God’s people might acquire hearts of wisdom.
But God’s people did not always obey so He sent to them prophets and He recorded their words. The prophets called God’s people on their constant disobedience to His Law and announced impending judgment for disobedience as well as providing a picture of the One who was coming with a new covenant of faith for God’s people and would fulfill all of God’s promises to Abraham’s offspring. The prophets gave the people of God insight into the true condition of their hearts and called them to repentance and godly morality.
In the Gospels God recorded, in narrative form, the transition from the Old Covenant of Moses, Abraham, and David to the New Covenant of faith through the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
Over the course of Holy Week we have read of Jesus’ declaration of His kingdom and His rejection, His crucifixion, and now, finally we celebrate His resurrection.
I’d like to read Luke 24:13-35 to help us gather all these thoughts together.
13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 
28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Jesus explained to those disciples just what I have explained to you, that the whole Bible, both Old and New Testaments are about the person and work of Jesus Christ. He is the One whom God promised would bruise the serpent’s head while the serpent would only bruise His heel.
Through Jesus’ death on the cross the price was paid, once and for all, for the sin of mankind, starting with Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit all the way to you and me. The power of the serpent was broken.
The Gospel of John records the words of Jesus on the cross just before He gave up His spirit, “It is finished.” The work was done, the price had been paid.
But God’s plan of redemption is still unfolding even now through His church, not the buildings but the people, as we serve as witnesses of God’s divine purposes and the only way to participate in this plan is to join with the redeemed through faith in Jesus Christ.
The word, “redeem,” means to buy back. God bought mankind back from death, from His own wrath, from the punishment that we deserve for our sin, and the price that was paid was the life of His Son Jesus. He died on the cross instead of us, he suffered the wrath of God instead of us, and now, if we accept His sacrifice for us, we can be forgiven of our sin, and look forward to an eternal resurrected life like Him and with Him in His eternal kingdom.
If you are watching this morning and you have never accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for you but you want to, I would invite you to pray with me now.
Lord, I am a sinner, but this morning I want to turn from my sin and live for you. I accept that Jesus died on the cross for me and rose again that I might live forever with you. Forgive me. Come into my heart Lord Jesus, my life is yours. In Jesus Name, Amen.