4/14: Lent 2019
Secret ChurchApril 26, 2019 - 5:30 PM - 5:30 PMThe objective of Secret Church is not just to come and learn for one night but to take what we’ve learned and pass it along to others. We want to use what we’ve learned during this gathering to make disciples of Christ—both locally and globally.
- Bible Trivia
- Come, Thou Fount
- Scandal of Grace
- How Deep the Father's Love for us
Secret ChurchApril 26, 2019 - 5:30 PM - 5:30 PM
- IntroThis week marks the final week of Lent. It is the height of suffering we remember our Lord going through. As you will recall and are reminded each week, a significant event that marks Lent is when our Lord and Savior, Jesus, is in the wilderness. When he is tempted by Satan, after having fasted 40 days and 40 nights. But that was not the end of his suffering, we recall that the end of his suffering was when His work was accomplished on the cross. This week is what is known as holy week. Not because this week is somehow any better than any of the other weeks of the year. It is not as though we are any closer to God. Holy week, or sometimes called Passion week, is the 6 days that lead us to the cross.Included within Passion Week are Palm Sunday, Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, Spy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. And it all ends on Easter Sunday. The Bible never labels these days and the events within the Gospels were not necessarily arranged chronologically. So it is important that we do not become dogmatic about these days or strict about holding on to when the events leading up to Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection occurred.Palm Sunday - Jesus’ triumphal entry into JerusalemHoly Monday- Jesus cleanses the templeHoly Tuesday- Believed to be the day when Jesus faced his several challenges from the Pharisees and Sadducees on marriage in heaven, paying taxes, and the source of his authority. The day when the 8 woes were spoken against the Pharisees.Spy Wednesday- Thought to be the day when Judas conspired against Jesus. It would have been the day when Jesus was anointed with spikenard during his meal.Maundy Thursday- The day of the Last Supper. Maundy means command. What command? The command to love and serve one another. We are reminded of Jesus’ humility.Good Friday- Was the day when Jesus was betrayed and he was crucified on the cross. It is good because in his death, our sins are atoned for.Holy Saturday- Reminds us that we live in a world of darkness. A world that killed the Son of God. Only biblical event on this day is that the chief priests and pharisees visit Pilate to guard the tomb of Jesus.Easter Sunday- Christ is risen from the dead. His resurrection ought to be celebrated daily. Beware of letting fun and games distract us from what the day is all about.That is what this week is leading up to. That day, when Jesus defeats Satan and death is what Lent is pointing us towards. Redemption!BodyBut before we get to that, I want us to take one final lap through memory lane.We began in Gen 3, seeing that the world that we live in is not a perfect one. It has been corrupted in the fall and it began with a rebellion against God. And we were all rebels like Adam and Eve, and we participants even in their sin.We looked at Psalm 38 next to be reminded that, when we sin, the proper response is repentance. Forgiveness is offered by God to those who come to him in godly repentance. That means taking responsibility and acknowledging your sin. Not simply blaming others for your sin nature.We looked to Matthew 4, and looked at that first temptation. After we looked at our own sins, we looked to Christ. And we saw that in the first temptation from Satan, not the first temptation that Jesus had ever faced, that Jesus truly is the Son of God. He was not a fraud, he was the real deal. And he showed us that there is a way to defeat the tempter, a way that is right to live. It is to be in dependence on the Spirit and trust in God’s Word.In Exodus 14, we walked through the grumblings of God’s people at the Red Sea. And we saw how God was able and did deliver them. We are also people who are in trouble. We have the wrath of God on one side and death on the other. And no one will escape either. But those who put their trust in Him will find salvation. The people of God could not do anything and were not required to do anything. In the same way, we do not contribute anything to our salvation. We cannot even do anything to earn it. Just like the cry of Jonah, we acknowledge that Salvation is of the Lord.In Matthew 15, we remember that we are all worshippers. And God is not looking for vain, superficial worship. In fact, His children will bring true worship and we are able to do so because we have hearts that are renewed. We do not continue to walk in darkness, but in light, because we have hearts that are of flesh and not of stone.Finally, last week we read of how brokenness is not a sign of weakness but, rather, is what God desires. And so, we come humbly before our God, repenting of our sins to walk in righteousness.Which brings us to today’s message which continues on in our sermon series theme.Let’s say it together, “Lent leads us to repentance and that repentance produces in us sanctified and grateful lives”Scripture ReadingCharles Spurgeon said: “Here we come to the Holy of Holies of our Lord’s life on earth. This is a mystery like that which Moses saw when the bush burned with fire, and was not consumed. No man can rightly expound such a passage as this; it is a subject for prayerful, heart-broken meditation, more than for human language.”Another writer said, “Surely this is a passage we must approach on our knees.”D.A. Carson said, “As Jesus’ death was unique, so also was his anguish; and our best response to it is hushed worship.”So let’s read this text, as David Platt said, “discloses the center of all history and the reality that determines every single one of our eternal destinies.”26 As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take and eat it; this is My body.” 27 Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He gave it to them and said, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood that establishes the covenant; it is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 But I tell you, from this moment I will not drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it in a new way in My Father’s kingdom with you.”All of Lent is pointing us to Christ, just as the Scriptures themselves are centered on Christ. In our time of self-denial and fasting and prayer, we are looking to bring down the high places in our lives through the aid of the Spirit. Because there shall be no other gods before Him. We turn from all of our idols and our sins, and we know that God is faithful, always, even when we are faithless. And that is marvelous.I mean how many of us, when we are wronged are looking and scheming on how we are going to get back at the other person. That is all of us. Someone cuts us off on the road, we are waiting for an opportunity to return the act. When someone is rude to us in the office, we look for ways to undercut them. When our sibling mistreats us, we hold it against them. When our significant other speaks ill towards us, we devise our perfect comebacks. How ungrateful we present ourselves to God.He has bought our redemption with His blood. And we are faithless. And even in our faithlessness, we read of Jesus before the day when he would drink the cup, bear the full wrath of God because of our sins, he is sitting with his disciples having his last meal. And he says, knowing completely what he is saying, “For this is My blood that establishes the covenant; it is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.”In light of our sin and rebellion against God, He still chose to die on the cross for us. This causes us to gain a better understanding of the mercy and grace that He has given to us. Completely undeserved, but freely given. We know that we will face trials in our lives. We will be tested, but we understand the grace we have received. As Paul put it...1 What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? 2 Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?We cannot go back to the way that we were living, and we do not desire it any longer. And we need to be honest with ourselves. The sad truth is that there are many who believe that they are saved, even some who are listening to my message right now who think that they are saved, but your life speaks volumes. How can you who died to sin, still live in it?Paul puts it pretty strongly...6 For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin,11 So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires. 13 And do not offer any parts of it to sin as weapons for unrighteousness. But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness.My prayer is that you do truly examine your life, have you truly repented from your sins? Have you really placed your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Lent brings us back to focus. We hate our sins. And so we continue to lean on Him for strength to keep ourselves from idols. Depending on Christ, who also faced temptations just as we do, but overcame them through the power of the Spirit and the Word of God.As we end our journey through Lent this Holy Week, we look to the nature of our redemption in Christ. Notice how Jesus redefined the Passover meal in a radical manner as the new covenant meal. And we see that he even substitutes himself as the elements of the Passover. Christ himself is the replacement for the Passover lamb.The Passover was the significant event in the story of redemption for Israel. For Jesus to take the meal and say I am going to redirect your focus and attention. He was telling these Jews “I am going to redefine this whole thing that you are doing and direct it toward My work on the cross” That, of course, would have been blasphemous to them, unless of course He was truly the Savior of God’s people.Then there is significance to what he is saying and there are some real implications if you reject what it is that he is establishing. There are real consequences if you deny Him.“Take, eat, this is my body”- His body was the final sacrifice that would atone for sins. As we have seen in our study throughout Hebrews, there aren’t any longer any sacrifices that we continually offer up each year after year after year. Just as the Passover lamb signified atonement for the people’s sins every year, Christ was the lamb for sinners.And then he says, “Drink, this is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the remissions of sins”.And then they sing the hymn, most probably it was the last Hallal, somewhere in Psalm 116-118, which If you read this triumphant psalms you will read verses like:Ps 116:8: "You have delivered my soul from death ..."Ps 118:17: "I shall not die, but live, and recount the deeds of the Lord ..."Can you imagine them singing that knowing that Jesus would die very soon. Jesus singing that out as he knows he will be heading to the cross!And then he goes to the garden and is eventually, through a series of events, led to the cross.Now why is this passage so important? What is the significance of this passage? Well for one, it speaks to the condition of man. If man, and when I say man I mean humanity as a whole, if man is not bad, or totally depraved in the sight of God, then this passage is a bit unnecessary. There is really no need for Him to establish this new covenant. There is no need for all of the claims that Jesus makes. There is also no real need for him to go through the suffering on the cross IF we are not totally separate from God.But you see this passage, and many like it, are declaring something. And I think it needs to be our main focus. That God is Holy. And as we have been fasting in this season, do you not see His holiness as we cast out any sin or weight that so easily ensnares us and fix our eyes on Jesus. Do you not see the holiness of God?And if you understand the holiness of God, do you not then see the sinfulness in yourself? And that we deserve the wrath of God! But don’t we forget that too often? Or worse, we start to think that God is unjust.But God is not unjust, he is fair and we are the ones who have disregarded His wrath. We have pretended it is not there. We have questioned, mocked, and ultimately ignored the wrath of God to our detriment.5 But if our unrighteousness highlights God’s righteousness, what are we to say? I use a human argument: Is God unrighteous to inflict wrath? 6 Absolutely not! Otherwise, how will God judge the world?And so we are reminded of the holiness of God, our condition as man, and the justice with which God will deal with us.... for His own glory!We have heard the gospel presented as God’s answer to human problems—and it is that in many ways. But first and foremost, it is God’s answer to a divine problem. It is God’s vindication and declaration of His glory—God demonstrating His justice and His righteousness.And this is what drove Jesus to the cross. The glory of God drove Jesus to the cross. Look in John 12; John 12:27–28: “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”And in remembering His holiness, you cannot but stand in complete disgust of your wretchedness. In this narrative we see that played out.1. Jewish Leaders: Rejecting, Arresting, Accusing, and Judging the Son of GodThey bring false witness after false witness. Hypocritical in their judgment, they say we want justice, but at the same time they cast a blind eye to it.Deuteronomy 19, verses 16 to 19. “If a malicious witness rises up against a man to accuse him of wrongdoing, then both of the men” – that is, the one accused and the accuser – “who have the dispute shall stand before the Lord, before the priests, and the judges who will be in office in those days.” In other words, the Lord will bring about His will through that group. “And the judges shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother; thus you shall purge the evil from among you,” Deuteronomy 19:16 to 19. You get rid of false witnesses if they realize that that which they seek falsely is what they’re going to get if they’re caught, because obviously the system of justice depends so much on true witnesses.What were they doing?Matthew 26:63, where the high priest is sitting in judgment upon Jesus and he says, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” And Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”Jesus says, “You are sitting now in judgment of me, but one day you will see Me sitting in judgment of you.” This pushed the high priest over the edge: he tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What is the judgment?” And the Jewish leaders answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spit in His face and struck Him. Jewish leaders judging the very Son of God.2. Roman Leaders: Sentencing and Crucifying the Son of GodPilate tries to wash his hands of the manner, but ultimately his fear of man he sends Jesus to his death3. Soldiers: Stripping, Scourging, Mocking, Beating, and Spitting on the Son of GodOne writer said,“Crucifixion was unspeakably painful and degrading. Whether tied or nailed to the cross, the victim endured countless paroxysms [pereks- isms] as he pulled with his arms and pushed with his legs to keep his chest cavity open for breathing and then collapsed in exhaustion until the demand for oxygen demanded renewed paroxysms. The scourging, the loss of blood, the shock from the pain, all produced agony that could go on for days, ending at last by suffocation, cardiac arrest, or loss of blood. When there was reason to hasten death the execution squad would smash the victim’s legs. Death followed almost immediately, either from shock or from collapse that cut off breathing.”4. Crowds: Ridiculing, Reviling, and Shouting at the Son of GodThe very people who were earlier in the week praising and rejoicing over him are the same ones saying let his blood be on us and on our children.5. Disciples: Betraying, Denying, Disobeying, Scattering, and Deserting the Son of GodThey all desert and abandon him.When you think of the passion narrative, who do you identify with most? We like to think of ourselves as better. We are the good guys in the stories. Oh no, that wouldn’tve been me. Certainly not I. I would’ve been Simon of Cyrene—carrying Jesus’ cross for him. I would’ve been the thief—asking Jesus to remember him in His kingdom. Or the Roman centurion, who after Jesus died, shouted out, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” You know who I identify with? I identify most with the angry mob screaming, “Crucify Him!”It’s who we all identify with. Because apart from the grace of God, we’d all be standing there, and in the words of C.J. Mahaney, “We’re only flattering ourselves to think otherwise.”This is key—John Stott said: “Until you see the cross as that which is done by you, you will never appreciate that it is done for you.”ConclusionChrist knew this. He new of the rejection, injustice, the beating, the ridicule, and the betrayal and abandonment that he would endure. He understood that he was going to bear the complete wrath of God on our account. And yet, he establishes a covenant with His people to redeem them.26 As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take and eat it; this is My body.” 27 Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He gave it to them and said, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood that establishes the covenant; it is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 But I tell you, from this moment I will not drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it in a new way in My Father’s kingdom with you.”He establishes a covenant with a promise. Not only would he die for our sins, but we would be with Him in Heaven. How good is that?Lent yes is a time of ever increasing darkness as the light of the world is killed as we see the wickedness of man. As we examine this man of sorrows being celebrated in his entry into Jerusalem and then not even a full week later, being despised and rejected. It gives us pause. Lent is a season that really brings pause into our lives. It is a time of examining and repenting of sin.And by God’s grace we can reflect on His Word and on what Christ has done for us completely on the cross.William Henry- HymnThere’s salvation full and free, At the cross; Sinner, come and pardoned be, At the cross; Lo, the Savior waiting stands, See His bleeding side and hands, He will break sin’s awful bands At the cross.May the lamb who was slain, receive the glory, honor, and praise which is His.Let us pray.
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