Posted by: lepages | April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday preach!

What a great morning – exciting celebration throughout! And what a thing to celebrate – Jesus conquering sin and death and hell, rising to new life and bringing new life to us!

Notes from my preach below. Should be online on the church website in next couple of days.

Christ prophesied – He will see the light of life

Isaiah 53:10-12

Introduction
A Happy Easter to you all!!
Easter Day is a day of celebration – we celebrate the amazing reality of Jesus defeating the powers of death and rising to life again. Sometimes on Easter Sunday we’ll do an apologetic on why we can believe in the truth of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
I don’t feel that’s the right thing to do today. What I feel we should do from our Bible reading today is think about 3 themes which lie behind our reading, and what they mean for us in living out our lives today.

So because the first Easter day was a different day, we’re going to do something different!
Christ prophesied – He will see the light of life handoutThey lay out in part what I feel called to share with you today. There are gaps though! They need filling in. When I’ve done some discipleship work with some people I’ve seen the value of filling in the gaps. Its amazing how just writing things down impresses them more on our hearts and minds. So take one, pass them on. If you need a pen, we’ve got some of them.

Now, its a delight today to have Sunday Gang in with us for the whole service (round of applause to welcome them!!) and they have some important values in their group. One of their important values is they value community, something we value as a church which we seek to build through our cell groups – each week they take time to share news and encourage one another. Adventurers do the same. Perhaps that’s something we can do as we share refreshments together after the service! But I understand as well as valuing that time to catch up and share together, Sunday Gang also value something else highly – chocolate! And as its Easter day so what better day to have a chocolate egg – a reminder of the new life Jesus offers to us, a reminder of an empty grave because Jesus is risen!

Now, who do I give the Easter egg to????!!!!
I know! The first person from Sunday Gang who is able to bring me after the service a correctly completed sheet! You then have to work out how much you value your community in what you do with the egg!!

If you haven’t got your Bibles open, please open them at our reading for today

Isaiah 53:10-12

At Easter, we go through a progression. Good Friday is a time of reflection when we think about the cross and Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. Easter Sunday is a time of celebration as we rejoice in Christ’s victory over death, his rising to life again and his gift of new life that he offers to all who will receive it.

In our reading today, we have both of these things combined in a few short verses – things to reflect on and things to celebrate, with one leading to the other!

We’re going to use 3 words to help us think about this – all beginning with the letter ‘D’ – none of which you can actually see written in the three verses – so no scrabbling through the verse to try and find them!!

The first one is the word:-

Delight

You might be looking at these verses and thinking ‘Where on earth does he get this word ‘delight’ from these verses??!!’

Well, its from verse 10!

There’s a word in v10, used twice, that elsewhere in the Old Testament is more commonly translated ‘delight’ or ‘pleasure’. I could only find one modern translation that used either of those words here and its the World English Bible – it translates v10 like this:-

“Yet it pleased Yahweh to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when you shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Yahweh shall prosper in his hand.”

Those of you who remember the King James Version might see a similarity there. King James translated it right – most modern translations have shied away from doing so.

The word we have translated ‘will’ in v10 is translated ‘delight’ or ‘pleasure’ almost everywhere else in the NIV.

There’s something that grates for us in our comfortable Western society to see pleasure or delight being taken in the suffering of another. And yet some of us do take delight in seeing a crunching tackle on an opposing teams rugby player, or someone knocked down in a boxing match, or people sliding off when a corner is taken wrongly in downhill skiing… and so on.

But why would it be the Lord’s delight, his pleasure, his will, to crush Jesus and cause him to suffer?

Does it mean that God is some macabre figure that loves inflicting pain?
I don’t think so.
God delighted in crushing his Son, in causing him to suffer, because he delighted in what Jesus’ sacrifice was to bring about. God delighted that in giving his Son for us, his sacrifice dealt with the problem of our guilt and God delighted in what he saw that would bring about – new offspring, new children for his family – you and me, if we have put our faith and trust in Christ and given our lives over to him. God delights over us as his children.
God saw that his delight, his pleasure, his will would prosper in the hand of Jesus.

So it raises a question

Do we/I delight in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus?

Because we should – its the most incredible demonstration of love. That someone should not only give their life for the sake of others, even others who were not their friends, but that someone should take a punishment on behalf of others that they in no way deserved. Jesus gave his life as a guilt offering, to take away our guilt, so that we can freely come to God without fear.

Ask yourself the question, ‘Do I delight in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus?’ – and its up to you, whether you then write down a truthful answer to that question or not…

On the table at the front here we have vivid reminders which Jesus asked us to take to eat and drink to help us remember his sacrifice – bread and wine (well grape juice). If you love Jesus, if you delight in his sacrifice on your behalf, then we invite you to come and eat and drink and share in remembering him and his sacrifice. Its not something to share in lightly, and we should only share in it if we are truly thankful to God, we shouldn’t do so out of a sense of habit or duty, but only out of a sense of thanksgiving and worship. When we come to that point in our service if you’re in that place then come forward and share, if you’re not then you’re wise to hold back. Sunday Gang folk, the same applies to you. As a church we believe that if you have given your life to Jesus then you are welcome to come and share in communion, if your parents are happy for you to do so.

There’s another question to ask yourself before we come to share in communion:-

Do I delight in sharing in communion?

Perhaps reflecting on your answer to that question should determine whether you come forwards and share in communion or not.

So our first ‘D’ was the word ‘delight’ – the Father’s delight, his pleasure, his will in crushing Jesus, in causing him to suffer, in making his life a guilt offering, because the outcome was that the Lord’s delight, his pleasure, his will was that many should come into new life in God through him.

Our second ‘D’ is also not written in these verses, but again the theme lies behind the words we read. Our second ‘D’ is the word:-

Deliverance

It was God’s delight, not only to give Jesus as a sacrifice, but also to know that he would be raised to life again.

V11 ‘After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied;’

Over 700 years before the time of Jesus it was prophesied that he would suffer, that his life would be given as a sacrifice, but it was also prophesied that it wouldn’t be the end.

V10 ‘though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.’

After Jesus had given his life to deal with the guilt that separates us from God, his life was going to be prolonged, he was going to see the light of life again – he was going to be raised to life again – and he was going to be satisfied.

His life was going to be delivered, but his satisfaction was not going to come from that, his satisfaction was going to come from the people he brought deliverance to – everyone who receives his gift of new life! They are delivered from the guilt of the wrong things in their lives, because Jesus has taken it all on himself.

Jesus was delivered from death.

Jesus doesn’t deliver everybody. The second half of verse 11 says:-

‘by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many’

It doesn’t say everybody. It says ‘many’.

The most translated sentence in history says this:-

‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ John 3:16

Deliverance comes to those who believe

And it brings with it another question

Do I believe?

Do I really believe that Jesus died as a sacrifice to put me in a right relationship with God?
Do I really believe that he rose from the dead to new life, never to die again on that first Easter Sunday, so that he can give me a new life now?

If we believe that and give our lives to him then we have been delivered, we become the adopted children of God and we can know him personally in our lives, in every part of our lives.

To know God for yourself, rather than just see him as some sort of distant figure is a wonderful deliverance!

So, do you believe?
If you haven’t thus far, why not choose to give your life over to God now, become one of the ‘many’, be delivered and enter into this wonderful friendship with God for yourself?
You can do it as you sit there. If you do, please come and share it with me afterwards so that we can help you grow in your life with God.

Which brings us to our final ‘D’

Destiny

Jesus in fulfilling his Father’s delight through his death and resurrection was not only bringing deliverance to people, he was also fulfilling his destiny.

When he became a human being he set aside his rights as God and became a human being just like us. When he rose from death on that first Easter morning it was to prepare his people for the destiny they had and to receive his own destiny as he 40 days later ascended back to his Father in heaven, back to the glories of heaven, from where as victor he now reigns, ready to give out gifts to those who go with him to fulfil his destiny.

Jesus taught us to pray ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’

And he has a role for each one of us who receive his gift of new life to fulfil in seeing his kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. You have a destiny for your life. For some of you your destiny will be worked out in your place of work, in your community as you seek to be salt and light, to bring God flavouring to every part of life, to brighten every part of life with his presence in your life. For others you have a destiny, called by God to focus on bringing transformation in society. For others you have a destiny to set aside your so called secular employment and give yourself full-time to serving the cause of the kingdom whether here in Britain or in other parts of the world.

God says of Jesus v12 ‘I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong.’

Jesus in his death and resurrection won the victory over sin and death and hell, and he wants to share the spoils of that with all who follow him and give themselves to fulfilling his destiny to see his kingdom coming on earth as it is in heaven.

Stephen Wilson, who preached here at Lesley & Maria’s baptism a few weeks ago wrote this on Facebook yesterday:-

I want to give my life to seeing Jesus’ name made famous.
What are you giving your life to?

Jesus has a destiny to fulfil in your life.

The Father delights in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, because it brings deliverance for all who will receive his gift of life and it provides a destiny to drive life on with meaning and purpose.

If your life feels like it lacks meaning and purpose then ask God what his destiny is for your life; perhaps share this with members of your cell group (if you’re not in one, then join one!!) or with members of the prayer team after the service and perhaps God will bring us some prophetic revelation to help us fulfil our destiny.

Lets pray together.

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