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070408AM Easter Seven Wonderful Reminders from Our Risen Lord   .doc

SEVEN WONDERFUL REMINDERS

From Our Risen Lord

Luke 24:44

What does this Resurrection morning mean to all of us gathered in Christ?

Everything. It is everything to us.

All that we believe, all that we hope, all that we trust—everything was on Jesus when He hung on the Cross, when He was Buried, and all praise to God—when He Rose.

Christ’s Risen from the dead is the capstone, the keystone, the vital ingredient, and the sine qua non of all we hold dear, all that we believe, and anything that will be precious and last forever is attached to Christ’s conquest of sin, and death, and the grave.

I would like all of you who know Christ personally, love Him dearly, and rejoice in this greatest of all days to get a little fire from our daughter church. As I read each of these Resurrection truths this morning and pause, please respond like our brothers and sisters at Crossover Bible Church would respond (with an Amen or Hallelujah):

Jesus lives.

The Tomb is empty.

Death is defeated.

The Grave is opened.

God is in control.

His Word is true.

The Devil is destroyed.

Death, and the Grave are powerless.

God won.

From Resurrection morning and onward, Jesus launched His disciples in the reality of what God had accomplished through His death, burial, and resurrection. They needed help fully understanding all that had taken place—and so do we.

To explain what God the Father wanted them to know, God the Son spent 40 days in post-resurrection training of the disciples. After Christ’s resurrection they had many days of talking with Him, learning from Him, and getting established by Him in the power of the Cross and His resurrection.

But how did He do all that? If we look closely we find that the primary tool Jesus used was reminding them of what He had already said. Jesus did not really introduce any new revelations to them; He just opened their minds by reminding them of what had already been said. In other words Christ took them back to the Bible. Jesus reminded them of all that He had spoken to them. This resurrection Sunday, as we again remember the greatest event of all—our Risen Lord, let’s open to Luke 24.44

Luke 24:44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”

After the Resurrection Jesus took His own back to what He had said before His Death. He opened their understanding to those words. That is what we are going to look at on this Resurrection Sunday. Only instead of looking at all His words, we will just look at His last seven words.

These are the Last Words of Jesus. There are seven last words of Jesus. Seven times He spoke to us from the Cross. Last words are always treasures, but Christ’s last words are a treasure mine beyond measure for all who will stop and listen by faith.

Before Jesus died, He wanted to say these things. Each statement for the Cross has a powerful purpose as each word was divinely directed. From the dying lips of Jesus, from His raging-thirst-dried-mouth, in spite of excruciating pain, the horrors of sin and death and the pains of hell—He speaks. We need to listen!

Please start with me at the foot of the cross as Luke 23:32 starts the chronological record of Christ’s seven recorded times of speaking from the cross.

Please stand with me as we read verses 32-43 and be reminded of the first two messages from the seven last times Jesus spoke from the Cross.

Pray.

Remember Christ had been acquitted by the highest court of appeal but He is still subjected to the cruelest of punishment. After Pilate’s washing his hands of the matter, Jesus was seized by calloused Roman soldiers, led through the streets of Jerusalem known today as the Via Dolorossa, and taken out the Damascus Gate to the public place of Roman execution.

There beside the heavily traveled road that headed north out of Jerusalem, in full view of all the city dwellers as well as those who traveled down the highway from Damascus, the death squad who were the pros of Roam crucifixion rudely stripped him, harshly pushed Christ’s already bloodied and torn body onto a rough and filthy wooden beam.

Then those reused, filthy iron spikes were pounded through Christ’s wrists and ankles as mankind murdered their Maker with carpenter’s tools. After they cruelly pierced Him, they raised Him aloft and hung Him up to be seen by all.

There Jesus was nailed to a tree. A tree that He had created became an instrument of horror and torture for it’s Creator. The soldiers wiped off their hands, collected their tools, and took their stations around the crosses to guard them until death came to those three condemned criminals.

But in the midst of all that there is a stir, the prisoner on the middle cross, held by spikes, crowned by thorns, and covered by bleeding wounds is about to speak to His cruel tormentors. His lips begin to move . . .

Jesus spoke from the Cross. What words to clasp, hold, and take to heart.

He spoke in pain.

He spoke in short gasps.

He spoke to us.

He spoke exactly seven times.

Each word holds an ocean of truth for the seeking heart on Resurrection morning. Dive in this morning. Listen and receive what He so freely offered.

WORD ONE:

He offers forgiveness

What was the very first subject that Jesus introduces to us from His cross? Jesus again offers to the world Divine Forgiveness. In what is accepted by all as Christ’s first word from the Cross in Luke 23:34 we can listen to Christ’s heart of compassion.

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.

The New Testament records 37 miracles[1] that Jesus performed during His earthly ministry. These include sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, life to the dead, health to the sick – and many other tremendous miracles supernaturally performed by Christ.

Which one was the greatest? If you analyze them they were wonderful but ALL were only temporary.

  • The paralyzed, lame, mute, and blind that Jesus gave back eyes, fingers, toes, and skin eventually lost them all again when they got sick and died some years later.
  • Peter’s mother-in-law was miraculously set free from a fever but years later died of other causes which may also involve a fever.
  • The food miraculously created by Jesus was consumed by the five and four thousands, and used up – and hunger returned the next day.
  • The eyes restored to blind Bartimaeus were used, worn out, and dimmed by the time he died.
  • The hearing that the deaf received were subject to the natural downward slide of the human body and faded most likely by their death.
  • Those dancing feet after Christ’s touch that the lame possessed, soon turned to a shuffle and then stopped working altogether as they lay in bed awaiting death many years later.
  • Lepers who found fresh new skin and limbs saw them again return to wrinkles, weakness, and finally immobility as circulation, respiration, and digestion all slowly were assaulted by the weight of many years.
  • So yes, Jesus performed many miracles – but all of them but one was TEMPORARY.

So, which was the greatest of all Christ’s miracles?

The answer is the one that never faded, never aged, never ended. It was the miracle un-faded by time, untouched by health, unaffected by circumstances. That miracle, the greatest miracle is the one that Jesus Christ is still doing in our midst today. It is the miracle that I have personally experienced. It is the miracle that most of us in this room have also experienced. It is the greatest of all Christ’s miracles – the miracle of complete forgiveness.

Always remember what was on the lips of Jesus at the end of His earthly life. The essence of Christ’s love is seen in His dying gasp offering forgiveness to those at His feet.

Always remember that Jesus offers His love to sinners.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

“Father forgive them.”  Here is His intercession as the only intercessor priest, our only High Priest.  What does He demonstrate by this word of forgiveness?  His Pity towards sinful humanity. 

Bernard of Clairvaux, a believer in Jesus Christ of the 11th century wonderingly said:

O Sacred head now wounded… for this Thy dying hour, Thy pity without end! 

Jesus offered then, and offers now forgiveness.

Christ’s prayer from the Cross makes His forgiveness available to every sinful human, but not all will avail themselves of it.

Forgiveness must be accepted as well as given.

This Resurrection morning have you believed, accepted, and experienced the forgiveness of Jesus Christ toward you a sinful human? If so, you’ve been born again.

Christ’s Last words assure us that He offers His forgiveness and love to us even though He knows that we have failed Him, sinned against Him, and resisted Him.

WORD TWO:

He promises everlasting life

What was the second subject Jesus introduces after forgiveness? Christ’s second word from the cross in Luke 23:34 is His promise of eternal life.

Luke 23:43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

 

Jesus keeps His promises. He told all who were weary of their sins that they could come to Him and find eternal rest. He promised His troubled disciples that beyond the grave there was a place He was preparing for them. Just the night before the Cross Jesus had spoken those precious words expressing His desire to take them with Him to Heaven.  

 

John 14:1-6 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.2 “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.4 “And where I go you know, and the way you know.”5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

 

And here is that promise kept to a lowly, guilty and doomed sinner from the King of Heaven, the Lord of Glory. 

 

Just as hymn-writer William Cooper said “The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day and there may I though vile as he wash all my sins away”. 

Christ’s second word from the Cross assures us that He has a place in Heaven reserved for us.

“It was providential that Jesus was crucified between the two thieves, for this gave both of them equal access to the Savior. Both could read Pilate’s superscription, “This is Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews,” and both could watch Him as He graciously gave His life for the sins of the world.

 

The one thief imitated the mockery of the religious leaders and asked Jesus to rescue him from the cross, but the other thief had different ideas. He may have reasoned, “If this Man is indeed the Christ, and if He has a kingdom, and if He has saved others, then He can meet my greatest need which is salvation from sin. I am not ready to die!”

It took courage for this thief to defy the influence of his friend and the mockery of the crowd, and it took faith for him to trust a dying King! When you consider all that he had to overcome, the faith of this thief is astounding”.[2]

Analyze Christ’s response, word-by-word:

  • TODAY: Not after purgatory, not after limbo, TODAY!
  • YOU: Yes, you a guilty man near death, TODAY, THOU!
  • WILL: Not maybe, hold on, if you make it and if God doesn’t waiver; no Jesus said it would happen. God never changes, what assurance!
  • BE WITH ME: Not soul sleep, but conscious existence.  Not purging left over sins, but today with Jesus, immediately upon death, entering life with His Savior!
  • IN PARADISE: Yes, heaven, the presence of God forever, no sin, no sickness, death nor sorrow, endless conscious bliss.

Christ’s last words assure us that He keeps His promises. He told all who were weary of their sins that they could come to Him and find eternal rest. And that is what He offers to all this day!

So from the Cross Jesus spoke–WORD ONE: He offers forgiveness; WORD TWO: He promises everlasting life; 

WORD THREE:

He offers His Compassion

Christ’s third word from the cross in John 19:26, was a reflection of His most frequent emotion displayed throughout His earthly ministry—compassion.

John 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!”

To the end of His life, and most clearly here, we have a compassionate Savior! Jesus in His dying hours was caring for the needs of His widowed mother. He was providing for her earthly needs.

This reminds us of the truth that He shared in our humanity and knows our needs. That is exactly what the writer of Hebrews declared.

Hebrews 2:14-15, 18 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

Christ’s Last words assure us that He knows what it is like living on earth, struggling with day to day needs – and has faced the same temptations we face. He can help us! He can provide all that we need.

So from the Cross Jesus spoke–WORD ONE: He offers forgiveness; WORD TWO: He promises everlasting life; WORD THREE: He offers His Compassion; 

WORD FOUR:

He took our place

Christ’s fourth word from the cross in Mark 15:33-34 is a powerful reminder that He took our place. He absorbed the wrath of God rightly poured out upon our sins.

Mark 15:33-34 Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?

Because of our sin—we are all guilty convicts in God’s sight; so we need justification.

Jesus died to take guilty convicts and destroy any record that that ever committed a crime and takes their place in the punishment—that’s the miracle of justification! A Sinner stands before God as accused and is declared righteous by His imputed righteousness.

Remember this word that speaks of His absorbing of the wrath of God against our sins. He was forsaken so that we would never be. He was made sin so that ours can be removed. He faced God’s Wrath so we never will.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

In Justification we go from being accused and guilty before God to being righteous and with no record of any wrongs!

We need to experience what the Scriptures often declare—God has once and for all through Christ’s sacrifice justified us. That means that He has accused us, declared us guilty of sin and then made us righteous and forever deleted the record of all our wrongs.

Christ’s Last words assure us that He absorbed all the punishment for our sins forever. We are saved to the uttermost. This is the heart of Christ’s justification of sinners by taking our place.

For a moment listen to the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ reflected in Charles Wesley’s great hymn, “Arise my soul arise”.

Arise my soul arise,

Shake off thy guilty fears;

The bleeding sacrifice,

In my behalf appears;

Before the throne my surety stands,

My name is written on His hands.

Five bleeding wounds He bears,

Received on Calvary;

They pour effectual prayers,

They strongly plead for me;

Forgive him, O, forgive they cry,

Nor let that ransomed sinner die.

My God is reconciled,

His pardoning voice I hear,

He owns me for His child,

I can no longer fear;

With confidence I now draw nigh,

And Father, Abba Father, cry.

So from the Cross Jesus spoke–WORD ONE: He offers forgiveness; WORD TWO: He promises everlasting life; WORD THREE: He offers His Compassion; WORD FOUR: He took our place; 

WORD FIVE:

He feels our weaknesses and pain

Christ’s fifth word from the cross in John 19:28, is a reminder of His empathy. Jesus actually has felt our weaknesses and knows our pains.

John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!”

Remember this word that speaks of His feeling our pain. No one ever knows us like Jesus; no one can ever comfort us like Jesus.  

Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

I thirst (dipso) is the shortest of all the words from the cross. Jesus began His ministry with the gnawing hunger of 40 days fasting in the wilderness; Jesus closed His ministry with six hours of burning thirst.

One word with two syllables in Greek, expressed the most intense agony the human body is capable of experiencing.  The One who spoke heaven and earth into being has a parched tongue! And that is exactly what God’s Word had predicted would ghappen.

Psalm 69:21 They also gave me gall for my food, And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

The Roman Army’s wine was vinegar, was common, and was always with them. When offered vinegar wine mixed with a pain reliever (myrrh) He refused to drink. Jesus faced death fully and un-muzzled. But now He takes a refreshing drink. Just as Jesus drank to the last drop His cup of suffering, so He would drink no more than the Father had given. The drink allowed Him to shout out His triumph.

Christ’s Last words assure us that He knows where we are, knows how we struggle, knows all our pain and suffering – and waits with open arms to help us every time we cry out to Him!

So from the Cross Jesus spoke–WORD ONE: He offers forgiveness; WORD TWO: He promises everlasting life; WORD THREE: He offers His Compassion; WORD FOUR: He took our place; WORD FIVE: He feels our weaknesses and pain; 

Do you know Him yet, He knows you? Have you trusted in Christ your only hope?

WORD SIX:

He Accomplished Salvation

Christ’s sixth word from the cross is in John 19:30; and this is the Word of Divine Accomplishment.

John 19:30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

Salvation is always presented as being totally of the Lord. We do not produce one bit of salvation by anything we do or have done. Jesus paid it all, no achievement of man can atone for sin. That is why our righteousness that we try to produce is just like a filthy rag in God’s sight. Jesus accomplished salvation.

This word speaks of His power to save us. He has done all that ever needs to be done. Nothing is left but to believe. Jesus save me now is what He waits for us to ask.

Hebrews 1:3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Hebrews 7:24-25 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

After Jesus received the vinegar, He said, ‘IT IS FINISHED’. If we could have been standing by God’s Throne in Heaven and seeing and hearing events ion Earth through God’s eyes we would have trembled with awe. At that word of Christ’s Divine Accomplishment we would have heard—tombs exploding, chains breaking, prison walls crumbling, barriers falling, the gates of Hades opening, and Death fleeing.

Christ’s Last words assure us that He has done all that ever needs to be done to save us forever and get us safely home!

So from the Cross Jesus spoke–WORD ONE: He offers forgiveness; WORD TWO: He promises everlasting life; WORD THREE: He offers His Compassion; WORD FOUR: He took our place; WORD FIVE: He feels our weaknesses and pain; WORD SIX: He Accomplished Salvation…

Are you trusting in Jesus who paid it all?

WORD SEVEN:

He shows us how to die peacefully

Christ’s final word from the cross is in Luke 23:46, and it is the Word of Divine Assurance.

Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last.

Remember this word that speaks of His power to keep you safe forever. 

Jude 24-25 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, 25 To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.

John 10:27-29 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.

So from the Cross Jesus spoke–WORD ONE: He offers forgiveness; WORD TWO: He promises everlasting life; WORD THREE: He offers His Compassion; WORD FOUR: He took our place; WORD FIVE: He feels our weaknesses and pain; WORD SIX: He Accomplished Salvation; WORD SEVEN: He shows us how to die peacefully!

Christ’s Last words assure us that He has the power to get us safely home to be with Him forever!

He spoke of Forgiveness so we can know we are forgiven.

He spoke of Assurance so we can know we are heaven bound.

He spoke of COMPASSion so we can know we are not going alone.

He spoke of SUBSTITUTION so we can know took our place.

He spoke of Agony so we can know He felt our weakness and pain.

He spoke of Triumph so we can know that our salvation is secured and finished.

He spoke of Confidence so we can know we are heaven bound!

This morning I am going to ask you to respond to our Lord Jesus Christ’s first two words from the cross.  I am going to ask you to set aside your plans to hurry to your family lunch plans.  They can wait for you. 

This Easter morning Jesus speaks from the Hill called Calvary. His words ring out loud and clear: forgiven, secured, cared for, assured!

Have you personally experienced in your life this Resurrection morning the pity of Jesus Christ toward you a guilty sinner?  Are you born again, saved, do you have eternal life? 

That’s the powerful offer from the King of Heaven risen for you!  Do you know you are saved, washed forever clean from all sins? 

As we pray, I ask you, don’t delay—come to Jesus while He offers salvation!


[1]  See Table at the end of the message.

[2]Wiersbe, Warren W., The Bible Exposition Commentary, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1997.

 
 
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