Sunday, March 25, 2012

Not Recorded

It was such a great morning at Crossroads.  Only God knows how the "Easy Worship" file got corrupted -- and because that happened we have no recording of this Sunday's service.  All I have are my preparation notes which I share here. Today we had a Bible study of Romans 1:18-32; some of that was incorporated into the message. I don't think the Evil One liked this message one bit.

Pre-Service Music
"Shout  to the North" (song)
Welcome! and church family time (Tom Harpole's birthday, Altar donated from Stockholm township and plants Barb Yeager and her crew are getting ready, call to 84 hours of prayer)
Time for Children  (comparing idols to children's stuffed animals that make them feel better--fine for children, not for adults... God desires us to turn to him)

Isaiah 41:1-10
    1     Listen to me in silence, O coastlands;
let the peoples renew their strength;
        let them approach, then let them speak;
let us together draw near for judgment.
    2     Who stirred up one from the east
whom victory meets at every step?
        He gives up nations before him,
so that he tramples kings underfoot;
        he makes them like dust with his sword,
like driven stubble with his bow.
    3     He pursues them and passes on safely,
by paths his feet have not trod.

    4     Who has performed and done this,
calling the generations from the beginning?
        I, the LORD, the first,
and with the last; I am he.----------

    5     The coastlands have seen and are afraid;
the ends of the earth tremble;
they have drawn near and come.
    6     Every maker of idols helps his neighbor
and says to his brother, “Be strong!”
    7     The craftsman strengthens the goldsmith,
and he who smooths with the hammer encourages him who strikes the anvil,
        saying of the soldering, “It is good”;
and they strengthen the idol with nails so that it cannot be moved.----------

    8     But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
    9     you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
        saying to you,
“You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
    10     fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
        I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

"Here I am to Worship" (song)
 Confession and Forgiveness
"From the Inside Out" (song)

First Peter 2:20b-25
“…if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is com-mendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
22    “He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness;
by his wounds you have been healed.
25 For you were like sheep going astray,
but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

"Beneath the Cross of Jesus" (song)
I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by to know no gain or loss,
My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.

Message - Consider It Done
    My glory… my pride… my joy… my love… the Cross.
    Up until last week we had been going through this series of messages about the Cross.
    First we talked about how the cross was promised.  Promised hundreds of years before Jesus and then promised again by Jesus himself weeks or months before he was actually crucified.  But the Cross of Jesus brings peace—because after the Cross we know there is Resurrection, New Life—Jesus did not stay dead and neither will we!
    Then, on March 11, we saw how the Cross is POWER.
First Cor. 1:22
Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
    Through the cross sinful, sin-filled human beings are rescued, redeemed, bought back and brought back to God.
Oh the wonderful Cross!...  All who gather here by grace draw near and bless your name!
    At the cross my sinful self, my shame, my unworthiness, all of my past unfaithfulness, my hypocrisy, my lack of love, my unwillingness to obey God – at the cross it’s all gone, it’s all done, it is taken care of.
    Jesus was given for me at my worst.  That’s what I can let go of today.
    But in order to let Jesus take my sin away, I need to let him do it.  I need to let him take it.  I need to give up any and every other way that I come up with to deal with the sin and brokenness of my life.
    That’s the temptation.  We human beings hate to humble ourselves before God.  We run away from like Adam and Eve in the garden.  We pretend God can’t see.  We try to hide ourselves in fig leaf flimsy lies.  Or, like we read in Isaiah 41, we set up idols. 
    In Isaiah 41 God is on the move.  The wages of sin is death and there are many different ways that death comes.  In Isaiah 41 and in much of the Old Testament you’ll see armies on the move.  God has told his people that there is no escape from his decisions, and when God allows an army to march people reach for whatever they can to protect themselves… In Isaiah 41 you see how spiritual experts get busy… idol makers… men and women who specialize in spiritual protection.
    Isaiah 41:6 and 7 – this is the New Living Translation…
6 The idol makers encourage one another,
saying to each other, “Be strong!”
7 The carver encourages the goldsmith,
and the molder helps at the anvil.
“Good,” they say. “It’s coming along fine.”
Carefully they join the parts together,
then fasten the thing in place so it won’t fall over.

    I’d like to pause here and say something more about idols.
When God-sized problems come into our lives; when we come across situations or emotions or trouble that we can’t handle on our own… at times like that what does God want us to do?
    God wants us to humble ourselves.  God wants us to cry out to him.  God wants us to turn to him in prayer.
God says to us (Philippians 4:7):
Do not worry about anything, but in everything, with prayer and supplication MAKE YOUR REQUESTS KNOWN TO GOD…
    God says THAT is the way we are to deal with our fears.  That is the way to find peace.  Anything else we use to handle our fears is an IDOL.
    In Isaiah 41… this was about 500 years before Jesus… the very real problem that provoked terrible fear was that King Cyrus of Persia was out to conquer the world…
    The people in other countries were horribly afraid…
    But they didn’t turn to God… they didn’t turn to the creator…
    The Bible tells us, and this is in the book of Romans… The Bible tells us that
the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men and women who suppress the truth. 
In Romans 1:19 it says this:
What may be known about God is plain to them since God has made it plain to them. 
Verse 20 –
Since the creation of the world God’s power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from the creation… so that human beings, men and women, have NO EXCUSE.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God no gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for IDOLS… for “images” made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
    In Isaiah 41, the people of many nations were afraid because they knew that King Cyrus’ armies were stronger than theirs…
    But instead of crying out to God in prayer, they turned to they turned to their idols… to statues of metal and wood that their idol makers had made.
    Romans 1 goes on to talk about the perversions and evils that come upon human beings… these perversions and evils… using sex for purposes that it was not intended for, other sorts of evils… verse 29…
“They are full of envy, murder, strive, deceit and malice.  They are gossips, slanderous, boastful, they invent ways of doing evil…
(At this point in my not recorded message I spoke with amazement about the ways people, and especially young people now in the 21st century, have come up with to soothe themeselves... truly hurtful...)
   Verse 31 –
Although they know God’s righteous decree that such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
   Turning to idols… turning to anything else except God with your fears is a death sentence.  It puts you outside the grace of God.

   But there is no idol that can beat death.  There is no idol that can beat the cause of death—sin.  Nothing you or I can EVER do will succeed.  We will always be the victims of sin and death and hell itself… we will always be the victims and the guilty ones… we will not escape… not until we give in to the Lord.
   Isaiah 41 continues with verse 8--
8 “But as for you, Israel my servant,
Jacob my chosen one,
descended from Abraham my friend,
9 I have called you back from the ends of the earth,
saying, ‘You are my servant.’
For I have chosen you
and will not throw you away.
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
   When you and I give in to Jesus—when we come to the Cross with NO EXCUSES then the promises that God gave Israel… the promises God gave Jacob and Abraham and all of God’s chosen people… when we come to Jesus all those promises come to us too.
   When we come to the cross we can hear God say:
I have called you back from the ends of the earth,
saying, ‘You are my servant.’
For I have chosen you
and will not throw you away.
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
   And all of those promises come because of the Cross.
What can wash away my sins nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus!  Oh precious is the flow, that makes me white as snow, no other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus.
   God has set up the world in such a way that there is always justice.  Sin will be punished.  The consequence is death. 
Revelation 20 says this:
11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
   And nothing can rescue you from that death—nothing but the Cross.  Nothing but Jesus risen from the dead.
   No one but God.
God has provided a way, one way, to take away all of your sins.  As we read in    First Peter chapter 2 –
24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.  25 For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
   Have you returned?  Have you come back to God?
   Have you asked him for grace? 
   Or are you still fighting?
   Anything you have or anything you do that gives you spiritual strength outside of a personal relationship with Jesus, who died on the cross for you, anything other than that is an idol, a lie, a trick from hell.
   And it will not protect you.
   I don’t care if it’s shopping or sports or activities that keep your mind busy, I don’t care if it’s religious work for God, if there is any way that you think you’re building yourself a safe place it will not hold.
   Without Jesus there is no hope.  Your sins will follow you until the day you die.  And then comes judgment.
   It makes no difference how good you think you are.  One sin is all it takes.  James 2:10 -
whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
But when you surrender you will find life, you will find freedom, you will find joy, you will find total and tremendous peace.
Revelation 21
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making every-thing new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 He who over-comes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
   So that’s why we come today to communion, to the Lord’s Supper.  We come here to receive grace and mercy, for the first time or for the twelve hundredth time.  Receive the body of Christ—broken for you… the blood of Christ—shed for you for the complete forgiveness of all your sins.
A   nd then the transformation can begin.  And the Holy Spirit can take hold of you.  And you can be remade from the inside out.  You do not need to keep living the way you are living today.  You can quit hiding, quit pretending, stop being afraid, stop avoiding whatever it is that is most troubling… because the Lord will be with you, he will fight for you, not against you, and you will be his, not just now, but forever and ever.  In Jesus’ name.

Invitation, Words of Institution, Prayer
Communion, "Above All" (song)
Blessing, "Hallelujah, Your Love is Amazing" (song)


  1. preach it Pastor!!!!

  2. preach it pastor! from the inside out is a song which takes me into His presence.