Story, Week 26, Palm/Passion Sunday 04/09/17—Highland—Meute
The Story: “Love Wins Every Single Time”
The Story, Chapter 26
Psalm 118: 1-2, 19-29; Matthew 26:14 – 27:66 (selected verses)
Pearl: Love wins every single time.
Function: To grant worshippers hope that through what the Lord has done in Jesus Christ, the most powerful force ever known was unleashed—GRACE.
The Lord God dealt with the problem that causes every other problem.
1. Claude Harmon was a popular golf instructor. Claude gave advice to his four sons who also became golf instructors. “Boys, whenever someone comes to you to learn to play golf, you will see in their swing ten different problems. Your job as their teacher is to find the one that causes the other nine.”
2. With all of the problems in the world, there is one which is the fountainhead of all others. It is the problem of sin. It is the fracture in the relationship between God and his creation. Through Jesus, the Lord solved this problem, the fountainhead of all others, on the cross.
Something occurred on the cross which changed everything. It showed once and for all that LOVE WINS!
In “Holy Week” you remember the “Passion” of our Lord.
1. Why is it known as the “Passion of the Christ?” What does the word “passion” mean? It is used in the most positive terms. Those who are passionate are dedicated and animated and inspired about something. It is a most positive notion. Lovers are passionate in their love for each other.
a. “Passion” is very appropriate to describe the suffering of Jesus on the cross. It is the concrete expression of the intense love of God for his creation. In giving His Son up to death to repair the damage of sin reveals God’s dedication and extravagant passionate commitment to his world.
b. Many often ask “Why do they call Good Friday “Good?” A “B.C.” cartoon answered this question well. One caveman asks another cave man “Why do they call Good Friday “good?” He responds: “If you were going to be hanged on that tree and someone volunteered to take your place, how would you feel?” “Good” “Have a nice day!”)
God’s Upper Story in the Bible reveals the overall progression of God’s action to restore his world. In what happened to Jesus on the cross you recognize God’s ultimate action to deal with the problem causing all other problems.
2. Over and over through the Old Testament God sought to restore the relationship with his people and his world.
a. God is holy. This means that God hates sin and cannot turn a blind eye to it. From God’s intense holiness emerges God’s everlasting love.
b. The fatal flaw of sin separated God from his creation.
c. The complex system of sacrifices to atone for the sin of the people never lasted or solved the problem of sin.
3. Finally God’s holiness and love combined to do something unimaginable: God entered into the created world as one of the creatures—in Jesus who was from Nazareth in the Middle East.
4. After a humble and quite anonymous life of about 30 years, Jesus came forth to carry out God’s mission to restore his creation and deal with this problem behind all earthly problems.
a. He spent three years planting seeds of life in a small group of people who would plant the seeds of the church themselves. Those seeds grew into the worldwide church of Jesus Christ, growing still today.
b. After those three years of planting the seeds of his Father’s kingdom, Jesus of Nazareth gave up his own life as a unique and perfect seed which through dying, as seeds do in a way, new life came forth and something became true and will remain true on to the time when all will be restored: LOVE WINS!!!
Consider the physics involved in creating a nuclear reaction such that powers submarines, energy plants, and even weapons capable of massive destruction. There is a collision of protons and neutrons involving enriched uranium and when this collision takes place forces of immense power are released. North Korea is making everyone nervous with their recent efforts to gain nuclear weapon capabilities. Prayers continually go up that the nations continue to reason together in order that the use of nuclear weapons will never happen again.
1. In just the right conditions the collision of protons and neutrons unleash colossal power.
2. Something of colossal proportions took place in the spiritual realm when Jesus gave up his life on the cross.
a. There was a collision of forces which unleashed a power of such force that EVERYTHING CHANGED.
b. Holy LOVE collided with fallen-ness and the result was GRACE.
c. GRACE is the result of the collision of the truest and purest form of love with fallen-ness/sin. When the imperfect encounters God who is holy, pure love, the resulting reaction is GRACE.
3. Love is the power behind all power because Love is God. Scripture defines God as love. Scripture says that love believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. The only way that love can do all of this is because God is love.
a. A mother was questioning and videotaping her three-year old daughter who suffered from a chronic medical condition. She asked her many questions about her favorite things—movies, foods, candy, and so on when she finally asked her “What does love mean?” The little girl became thoughtful and quiet. Then with a twinkle in her eye and with a clear certainty born of her own experience of perfect love she said one word: God. Her mother was blown away by her answer. She began to cry she was so overcome with emotion at the surprising and unexpected response.
i. “Out of the mouth of babes…perfect praise” (Matthew 21:16).
4. When God’s holy love collides with the fallen world, grace happens and new life occurs.
a. Do you wonder about whether people can change? Think now of someone that you believe cannot or will not change.
b. I AM HERE TO TELL YOU TODAY THAT THROUGH THE COLLISION OF GOD’S HOLY LOVE WITH THIS IMPERFECT, FALLEN WORLD, GRACE OCCURS AND NEW LIFE IS NOT ONLY POSSIBLE BUT IT EMERGES!
There was a man crucified next to Jesus who had been a thief all of his life. He was finally being crucified for his thieving wayward life. Yet, as you may know, in close proximity to Jesus: the physical embodiment of God’s holy love, this man reached out to Jesus and Jesus told him that on that very day of their death, “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.” A lifelong, hardened criminal changed on that day!
1. The thief experienced the collision of his wayward life with Love resulting in grace and new life, even while in the throws of death. It is because LOVE WINS!
2. This thief found that Love believed in him, even when all others wrote him off.
3. He found that Love healed him even though he was about to die.
4. He found out that day that LOVE says: “YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE WHO YOU’VE BEEN BEFORE” and so while dying, he became hopeful. LOVE WINS!
Maybe you need to know that God believes in you; maybe you need to know that God heals you; maybe you need to know that LOVE WINS EVERY SINGLE TIME; maybe you need to hear God say to you: “YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE WHO YOU’VE BEEN BEFORE.”
LOVE WINS EVERY SINGLE TIME. Through the collision of HOLY LOVE with THE FALLEN, IMPERFECT WORLD FRACTURED BY SIN comes GRACE!
This is what the “Hour of Darkness” accomplished! This is what was accomplished by Jesus on the cross.
God’s “Upper Story” became super-imposed upon the “Lower Story” of his world…“God’s Holy Love Wins Every Single Time!”