Morning. My name is David Sorn, and I’m the lead pastor here at Renovation Church. Happy Easter to you.
I gotta tell you…I love to sleep. A lot. Even at 30 years old, I still love a day to sleep in when I can.
When I was in college, I was the kid who, when everyone else was already watching the 2nd half of some college football game, I was just getting up at 1:30 in the afternoon.
You call it lazy, I call it a spiritual gift.
God called us to rest, right?
But do you ever sleep too long? You know what I mean?
Doctors say we should get to 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
Why not 9-10? Or 7-10?
Well, for one, most of us have a life.
Why miss out on it?
But sometimes we get that oversleepy feeling.
You just slept 10 hours, but you feel like you slept 5.
You feel kind of groggy…still tired…maybe a headache…and you just kind of slog and drift through your day.
And sometimes…I think we do that in life.
We just kind of oversleep on life.
We’re just kind of drifting through it like we slept too long
Let me come back to that in a little bit.
You ever flip through the channels on TV and come across a good movie...but, the movie’s almost over?
There’s maybe like 20 minutes left?
What do you do?
Well, first of all, it depends on if you’ve seen it before…and on if you liked it, I suppose.
But say it’s a good movie…one you’ve seen before.
You might just watch the last 20 minutes…and enjoy it.
But, it’s still not as good as seeing it the whole way through.
Like, for instance, if my favorite movie of all time was on…”Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” (Don’t judge me).
Sure, I’ll watch the last 20 minutes and watch Kevin Costner win against all odds!
But really, I want to see it from the beginning: Because what makes the movie…is the context.
That this guy, is able to band together these forsaken peasants, unite them with vision, and fight back against evil.
Makes me want to watch it right now. In fact, you’re all dismissed.
But I bring it up to say, that sometimes at Easter…we start the movie with 20 minutes left.
Jesus rose from the dead…Woo Hoo!!
But what makes it so amazing is the rest of the story.
It’s the context.
And today…I want to provide a little context.
Maybe to help enhance the story for some of you, or maybe for some of you, to hear it for the first time.
Because here’s the deal…Yeah, in the end, he rises from the dead…but for a while there…things looked pretty bleak. REAL BLEAK!
Jesus started his ministry at the age of 30, and for 3 years, he and his closest followers went around the country teaching about the Kingdom of God…
Thousands and thousands and thousands of people flocked to hear him teach.
He cast out demons, healed people of leprosy, made the deaf hear again, helped the blind see, raised people from the dead, you name it.
If Jesus would have had a twitter, there wouldn’t be a person alive that wasn’t following it. Grandma’s would be getting Twitter just to follow Jesus.
This thing was taking off.. God was moving.
And then…all of a sudden. Things start to go down hill. Fast.
These Pharisees and other religious Jews start to plot against him. They’re trying to trap him in his words.
He gets to Jerusalem on a Sunday, and at first things look to be going ok.
Here’s what happens… We’re going to look at the story in the book of Matthew in the Bible, chapter 21:
If you want to follow along, there’s a Bible underneath every chair. We are going to be on PAGE 802
By the way, if you want a Bible, to start checking it out, take that one. It’s our Easter gift to you.
We even placed a chart in there for you to help you know where to start reading
Also, if you want to follow along on your smartphone, you can even do that.
We use the “Holy Bible App” Also called the “YouVersion” App.
Once in the App, just click LIVE, find Renovation Church, and all of our verses are right there.
You can even submit prayer requests on it.
(Matthew 21:6-11) – NIV
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
So, Jesus rides in on a donkey, and they’re laying down palm branches for the guy, shouting “Hosanna! Hosanna!” Which went, “Save.” Or, it was a saying of praise, like, “Savior!”
That’s on Sunday. Things quickly escalate during the week, and by late into the evening on Thursday night. He’s arrested.
This Jesus, the one who did miracles, and taught with such brilliance that he astounded everyone he met…This Jesus that loved with such a huge heart that even the prostitutes felt they could be forgiven…This Jesus that was so dynamic, that everyone from the outcasts to the prominent followed him.
This Jesus…is arrested…late on a Thursday night.
The same week that they just lined the streets for Him!
After a few “shams” of a trial, he is beaten, required to carry his cross through the streets of Jerusalem, and killed on that Friday afternoon.
AND NOW WHAT????
IN A DAZE
This thing was supposed to take over the world! They were gonna reach the world with this guy. And he’s dead. He’s dead.
“He had said some stuff before he died about how he was gonna be killed and 3 days..and something or other…but he’s dead!
And the disciples, and his followers, shocked in grief and horror and disbelief…they scatter.
In fact, only 1 of the 12 of them even bothers to show up at his crucifixion on Friday. They had all already scattered.
The disciples didn’t understand the whole story.
So they were walking home dazed, bewildered, and without hope.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been through a tragedy before, but often after one, that’s how people walk around:
Dazed. Eyes sort of glossed over…and just walking. Not even thinking. Just walking.
But as the disciples are walking without hope…God is in the midst of doing the impossible.
Jesus had just died on the cross for our sins. In OUR place. To take our punishment…that we deserved. He loved us so much, he died for us! It’s incredible!
But it’s not just that.
See, Jesus…didn’t just pay the price for us. It wasn’t just about Friday…when he died. It was about Sunday too!
HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD.
I don’t know if you just heard me… Jesus rose from the dead!
Or maybe…maybe it’s just too common of a phrase in our culture.
Let me put it in the vernacular: Dude was dead. Not just crucified, murdered. Not just suffered, they nailed stakes right into his hands, pounded them into his feet. Then, to top it all off, they thrust a spear through his side.
He’s dead. No one’s coming back from that.
But jesus isn’t a no one.
And His Father isn’t a “nobody!”
He’s gonna raise from the dead.
And He did.
Look at the story from the Bible:
(Matthew 28:1-10) – NIV
1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” 8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
And when God raised his son Jesus from the dead…he proved a few things:
That this was indeed the Son of God…not some blasphemer that people accused him of being
That Jesus now lives forever…you can talk to Him…He’s real…He can save you.
And it proves, that just as God raised Jesus from the dead…he can raise us from the dead when we die. And raise us to eternal life.
If we believe. If we follow.
But here’s the problem:
This incredible event of history DID happen.
It’s written down in the most historically accurate book of all time.
A book that was also inspired by God
It’s proven by the drastic life changes of both his skeptics and followers
Jesus died on the cross for US, and rose from the dead.
Yet, so much of the world is asleep to it.
This unbelievable moment happened, AND it has direct consequences, personal ramifications and impact for our very own lives…and yet…most of us…just kind of drift through life.
Maybe you’re just caught up in the proverbial rat race
Move out of the house, hopefully go to school some, get a good job w/ a pretty corner office that’ll solve all your problems…
Find a spouse you can put up with, have some kids, hopefully they’re not too annoying, buy that house you always dreamed of, until 10 years later you can dream of a better house…
Buy your dream car. You now hate your dream car. It’s dumb. It’s out of style. It’s a piece of crap. Buy another car.
All so you can one day retire on the beach only to be abandoned by your family, and die alone in a nursing home.
Ahhh…the “American Dream!”
But sometimes I worry that the “American Dream” is like one of those super long flat/walking escalators (moving sidewalks) at the airport.
You know the ones they put in long hallways because we’re now too lazy to even walk at an airport.
It’s not enough that they’re about to FLY you in a moving AIRCRAFT ABOVE THE CLOWDS at 500mph!
We can’t even walk to the gate… “Carry me moving sidewalk!”
But on those moving sidewalks, you’re just kind of locked in on a boring ride until you hit your destination on the other end.
There’s walls on both sides…you’re not going anywhere.
And for a lot us…that’s life.
Just kind of drifting along…from one thing to the next along with everyone else.
College, work, spouse, kids…ho hum.
All kind of dreading the day we hear, “The walkway is ending! The walkway is ending”
But then again, never doing anything about it.
And, some us just drink to numb the pain or the boredom… or experiment with drugs or sex or you name it
But really…we’re just drifting through life w/ everybody else
I mean let me ask you…Are you really living for something?
Are you living for something worthwhile?
Are you living for something more than just life on this earth?
Because this life…is just gonna be a BLINK OF AN EYE…and then it’s over.
And then eternity continues. Somewhere else.
IN a way, it’s like we’re asleep.
It’s like we’re unaware of a deeper reality that’s going on.
The deeper truth. The most important thing that happened in the history of the world….2,000 years ago. On a cross.In a tomb
But here in America…I wouldn’t say that we’re actually asleep.
It’s more like sleep-walking.
When you sleepwalk, you’re aware of your surroundings but in so many ways, you’re not aware.
Sleepwalkers can perform activities that you can do in a full state of consciousness, but their true awareness to what’s really going on is blurred.
A lot of sleepwalkers can navigate around the house just fine. walk through hallways, walk around furniture, you name it
Some have been known to be able to clean, cook food, and some have even driven a car!!
And you thought drunk driving was bad!
But in other ways, they’re dead to the world. Their eyes are glazed over, you can’t really have a coherent conversation with them, or get them to do what you want.
They’re dead to what’s REALLY, TRULY going on.
Too many of us are walking around in the daze of this life. Really not all that different than the daze that the disciples were walking home in after Jesus was killed
We’re in a daze like, “yeah, yeah, Jesus cross…something…I’ve gotta get some work done”
The world is still sleepwalking like the resurrection never happened!”
But I’ve got incredible news for you! IT DID HAPPEN.
Jesus not only died for our sins, but God raised him from the dead, and He’s alive…right now. We can have a relationship with Him…right now.
Now, we don’t really know what the moment looked like, but can you imagine what it was like when Jesus rose from the dead on that first Easter morning?
All we know…is that at one time…there was this cold, beaten, half-mutilated body...dead…in the tomb.
And suddenly…..an awakening. Jesus is alive.
An awakening. He’s not only alive, he’s NEW.
He’s got this new body, the Bible says, he tells his disciples to even put their fingers in his side wound. He can walk through walls. He can transport from this place to that.
This is Jesus…in his new resurrected body.
There has been a complete awakening on Easter morning. A complete renewing.
Death can not hold him down. The grave can not conquer Jesus Christ. God reigns victorious over death!
AND HE CAN IN YOUR LIFE TOO!
It’s often really hard for us to admit…really hard…but maybe you have been just been drifting on the moving sidewalk…
You’re aware of this Jesus thing on the side. How could you not be…but you’ve just been drifting along on earth..not thinking too much of spiritual things
Or maybe you have been kind of just sleepwalking through your time on earth
Again, you’re “aware” of what’s going on…
But the whole Jesus thing…is kind of hazy.
But here’s the truth:
This life…right now…your life…it’s just a blip. And then there’s heaven or hell…for eternity.
But here’s what Easter is really about….not bunnies, or coloring Easter eggs, or egg hunts.
2,000 years ago, Jesus LITERALLY came to earth and died on the cross to take our place.
Because we’re not good enough. We sin against God. All the time.
And punishment is what we justly deserve.
We’ve never done ANYTHING to deserve ETERNITY in HEAVEN with God.
In fact, we deserve the opposite.
But God, in His love for you, FOR YOU, sent His Son Jesus…ON A RESCUE MISSION!
To die in your place. To take your punishment on the cross.
And He died for us.
And then He rose again, to prove his victory over death, and that if we believe in Him and follow Him that we too can conquer death…and spend eternity with Him.
And that’s the offer that sits before you right now…
The greatest offer of all time. It’s why Easter is so exciting.
To be forgiven…for EVERYTHING you ever done and start following this incredible Jesus who loves you so much.
And I want to give you that opportunity this morning.
I want to give you the opportunity to get off the moving sidewalk and start living.
I want to give you the opportunity to wake up out of the sleep walk that is so often the American life.
And see the spiritual side of things.
Jesus is real. This really happened. You have a choice.
So, if today you want to say, “I want Jesus to be my leader and forgiver.”
I want to follow him and be forgiven. I believe He died for me.
I want to give you the chance to do that right now.
Here’s what we’re going to do.
Let’s all bow our heads and close our eyes…as I want this to be a special moment between you and God.
If you want to follow Jesus today, and believe that He died on the cross for you…I want to give you the opportunity to tell Him that you believe.
The Bible tells us in Romans 10:9 that if we confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts, we will be saved
That’s all it takes…just for you to say, “God. I believe now. I’ll follow you”
And when we do that…cross the line of faith…WE WAKE UP!
We’re forgiven. We’re free. God will start to move in you. You can have a relationship with Him. You can spend eternity in heaven.
And it’s time to wake up….it’s time to come alive… It’s time to live for the deeper reality of why you’re here on this earth! It’s time to believe!
Would you tell Him that right now?
Let’s make it official. If you want to believe and start following Jesus…(you want to make him your leader & forgiver), hold your hand up to Him right now.
Just hold it in the air. Tell him you want to follow.
Let’s make it official
I’ll give you a moment.
If you held your hand up to Jesus this morning…would you pray this prayer with me…
It’s not a magic prayer…but just a prayer to tell God where you’re at…and the Bible says, we 1) believe in our hearts and 2) confess with our mouths.
So I encourage you to say it out loud with me. Repeat after me.
I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.
And that I have fallen short
But God, I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place
And God, I thank you, for forgiving my sins.
And now I commit, to following you, with my life.
Thank you God. Amen.
AMEN!! I just want to pray and praise God…… Let’s pray.
If you gave your life to Christ today, I need you to do just 1 thing for me
At the end of the service, I need you to come up here to your front right, and we’re going to give you a gift to help you get started in your relationship with Christ. So awesome!
Won’t take you long at all, but it’s important that you have direction in where to go next.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.