Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor of Renovation Church. Happy Easter. Welcome to our (1st/2nd service this morning)
I’m excited you’re here this morning to celebrate with us. It is an amazing day!
I want to start this morning by talking movies with you…
The great thing about movies is that…everybody likes movies. Because you can always find something that fits your interest.
It’s the same thing w/ food. I’m a super picky eater, but I can usually find something I like.
IN fact, just last week, I was at an all-day meeting and everybody decided that it would be a great idea if we all went out to a local Mexican restaurant for lunch.
Which was not a great idea because I don’t like Mexican, or Chinese, or…well, I pretty much don’t like anything unless it’s like a kid’s menu food. J
It’s all right for a 29 year old to order corn dogs at a restaurant, right? Right?
But, even at this Mexican restaurant, Praise the Lord, they had, no joke, a section called, “The Gringo Section”
So I promptly ordered a cheeseburger.
And movies are the same way. You can always find something you like.
Some people like action movies, some like sci-fi, others like chick-flicks (don’t ask me why), others prefer documentaries..
NO matter what your personality you can find some sort of movie that fits you.
And yet, I find when I look at movies…irrespective of genres, there are plot developments that we all respond to.
It’s like we can’t help ourselves.
And one of the greatest examples of this, is the “Comeback.”
And by the way, this plot development is EVERYWHERE…in EVERY Genre.
It’s in Western’s. Right? Just as the hero gets shot, and he’s lying on the ground while the villain is laughing, the hero musters enough strength to lean over, grab his gun and shoot the bad guy.
And then, miraculously in the next scene he’s okay.
Action movies thrive off “the comeback”. Except, in action movies, the hero not only gets shot like they do in a Western, they get shot…in the heart…five times…while there’s an explosion happening…and while falling off a 10 story building.
BUT SOMEHOW…They survive! To save the day!!
Sports movies?? Perhaps the king of “the comeback” plot development.
It’s the championship game, and your favorite team seems to be down and out. They are down by an impossible score with only minutes remaining.
But the coach calls timeout. And he gives them this incredible speech that has you crying at home, and before you know it they all come back out unified by some stupid speech, and all of a sudden they’re going “Quack, Quack, Quack”
And before you know it, they’ve come back and won…as time expires I might add!
And you love it! Every time!
I mean seriously, why do these types of movies continue to make money? Year after year after year after year.
NOT SOME FIGURE FROM HISTORY OR A MAN ON A PAGE
Let me tell you why. It’s because of this story. The story of “the comeback” has been wired on our hearts since the dawn of time. It is THE ultimate story God wanted us to respond to. Because it’s the most important story of all.
2,000 years ago God sent his son Jesus to earth.
And at the age of 33, after doing 3 years of public ministry, he was killed. Murdered on the cross.
After an incredible ministry with incredible teachings, life-changing moments, and eye-popping healings.
After 33 years. Dead. Murdered.
Just when it looked like this guy was gonna change the world. He’s dead. They killed him.
And if you were watching his life as a movie, it would be the most shocking part of the movie. Like, “HUH?!? What just happened? I thought…”
In fact, there is a video, I’ll have to show it to you sometime, but there’s a video put out by New Tribes Mission where these missionaries worked with a tribe in Papua New Guinea.
And they brilliantly, each day told them a part of the story of God. But they started from the very beginning.
Eventually they get to the New Testament, and start telling them these incredible stories about the life of Jesus, & the people just LOVED Jesus.
But when they finally get to the part where Jesus is betrayed by Judas and shockingly killed on the cross, the people were irate.
They absolutely couldn’t believe it.
And the missionaries just let them sit with the death of Jesus for a few days… before they came back to it.
Hope was lost. It felt like it was all over. But Jesus is not like any ordinary human being. And neither is his death.
And the Bible tells us so. THE COMEBACK
(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 just when you think He’s down, and out and the story is over. He Breaks Through. He breaks through DEATH of all things.
Can you imagine what these women felt? Can you feel it? Can you imagine what his disciples felt?
They had been living with Him for 3 years, watching, trusting, and marveling at everything He did.
And then He was gone. It was all over. They lost. Time to go back home and return to the monotony of a life with no purpose.
But WAIT!?!? What?!? He’s alive!!!
And THAT! That feeling right there. That is the feeling that God has hardwired into our hearts. The Break Through. The comeback.
It’s just HARD-WIRED in. I was watching the movie Tangled w/ my wife the other day… and I know that makes me like 300% non-manly, so to redeem my manhood, right afterwards I went out and just shot a few animals. j/k
But at the end of the movie, when her parents think she’s dead and she comes back to them (and yes I just gave it away…come ON, it’s not like she dies… (and then witch lived happily ever after)
But when her parents saw her again, I started to get emotional
And I’m like..WHAT IS THIS?!?!...something in my eye!
But this is exactly what I’m saying…we are just hard-wired for this. To respond in our hearts to something we thought was dead…but now is alive!
But here’s where it gets even crazier w/ Jesus. He didn’t just come back to life………..HE’S STILL ALIVE.
Think for a moment of all the great people in history that have brought change to our world:
People like: Isaac Newton, Julius Ceasar, Christopher Columbus, George Washington, Leonardo Davinnici, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Albert Einstein
And do you know what all of those people I just mentioned have in common? Those 8 people…
They’re all dead.
They’re all dead.
See Jesus is NOT just another important person from history.
Yet, I feel like that’s often how we treat Him.
He was a great teacher. He had great things to say. He was really loving to people.
But Easter forces us to remember that the tomb was empty
Jesus ISN’T just some figure from history. He’s not just some spiritual man on the pages of an old book.
You can go see his tomb if you want, there’s nobody in it
The tomb was EMPTY!! ….And it’s STILL empty!!
He’s alive. Jesus is alive. God is real. And that means something. What he did that weekend has implications for our lives. Every single one of them.
GOD’S NOT DISTANT
But there’s more to the story. More on that in a minute.
I want to first talk for a moment about red tape. The metaphorical kind.
Who here loves red tape? Exactly. No one.
There’s nothing worse than when you really just want to get something done, and all of a sudden you need to fill out 10 forms to make it happen. Lovely.
One of the best examples of this is the insurance world.
Lindsey and I had to go through a process of switching insurance companies last year, and I gotta tell you, it made me quite thankful for my wife.
I don’t even know how many forms she filled out to make that all happen, and I don’t WANT to know!
It’s frustrating, isn’t it?
We hate this sort of stuff!
There are scam artists everywhere now that get people to sign up for some ridiculous weight-loss product or hair-growing drug, and then somehow trick these people into secret payments and charges?
And you know how they do it?
They slip it in the “Terms & Conditions.”
Because statistics show that one out of three million people actually read The Terms & Conditions before they check, “I have read the terms & Conditions.”
Ok, I made that up, but it’s gotta be close.
I mean, we hate RED tape. It’s terrible.
I have a friend who applied for her permanent residency in the United States when she was 18.
And she just got it a month ago. She’s 31.
My wife and I are going to be buying our first home sometime in the next year, and you know what intimidates me the most?
It’s not finding the right location, it’s not trying to find the house that fits our needs/wants, it’s not trying to find to find a basement that will fit what I feel are the 2 most important things I want in a house: A ping Pong table and my own Fountain Pop Machine…
and it’s not even trying to learn about what features of the kitchen are great, or what sort of hardwood floors are cool….all of which I know nothing about.
What I’m most intimidated by…is the red tape.
The forms. The endless forms. All the different professionals you have to work with. The hoops you have to jump through.
I just want to walk into a house, & say, “I’ll take this one, and go rent a Uhaul.”
You know where else there is a lot of red tape? Religion.
See, I think most people in America get the fact that God is real. In fact, 90% of Americans believe in God.
But few really have any relationship with Jesus. And a lot of that is due to all the red tape that religion has unfortunately put up.
And a lot of that red tape was around when Jesus walked the earth.
Check this out:
Put up TEMPLE PICTURE
This is a picture of how God’s temple was set-up in Jesus’ day.
On the outside, was the court of the Gentiles (non-Jews)
Then, the women could go into the building.
And the Jewish men could go further.
Then there was the Holy place, and then, there was the Most Holy Place.
This is where the presence of God resided.
Now, God was everywhere. And they believed that. But God’s presence was really present HERE.
In fact, in between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place was this massive, think, and elaborate curtain. It was 60 feet high and 30 feet wide.
And the high priest would go through the curtain and into the Holy Place once a year to offer a sacrifice to forgive the people’s sins.
Now, I can get how God, even though He still loved people just as much, but I can get how He could feel pretty far off to people in a system like that.
And that’s how He still feels to many people today.
But I want to show you something from the Bible. Something that a lot of people just skip right over when the read the Easter Weekend story.
It’s just a couple of verses, but verses with massive implications
We join the story right as Jesus is dying on the cross.
(Matthew 27:50-51) – NIV
50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.
This curtain that split is the VERY same curtain we just talked about. The one that sealed off the most holy place.
And it symbolizes something incredibly important.
It symbolizes that no longer is the high priest alone able to access God directly in this close way, but every single person can have direct, personal, and amazingly close access to God
Jesus broke through the walls of religion on the cross
The Bible elaborates more on the curtains later on in the book of Hebrews
(Hebrews 10:19-20) – NLT
19 And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.
It’s pretty crazy. See, not only is Jesus alive today, He’s the very person that abolished “religion” itself.
His death on the cross put a stop to the nonsense that is “earning your way to God.”
There is no “system” anymore to get to him. It’s over.
He busted through the grave. He broke through the curtain of religion.
But unfortunately it’s still in place all over the place. Even in churches.
In fact, it’s one of the main reasons I think so many people aren’t in churches anymore.
“Religion” isn’t very attractive. Like I said, who likes red tape.
So people kind of begin to slowly push it aside and continue on with life.
And eventually they just sort of stop talking to God for the most part.
And there are plenty of different reasons, but it basically comes down to either they feel good enough of their own OR they feel like they’ll never be good enough because of what they did.
And it feels like too much to go through all this “stuff” to get back to him.
So people don’t have a relationship w/ Him. Even though 90% of people believe in Him. How does that happen???
My own story was the first part of that equation.
I didn’t become a Christian, that is to have a relationship w/ Jesus Christ, until I was 18 years old.
I grew up kind of attending church, but it kind of became pointless to me as I got older. “What’s the point? Why is this even necessary?”
And honestly I was good enough on my own. I was a decent guy. I didn’t need to go learn about God and rules.
But late on a winter night, in my senior year of high school, I came home one night at 2am in the morning, and walked into my room, and out of the blue, I just felt like I was supposed to read the Bible, which I virtually knew nothing about
And I locked the door, (cuz I thought it was weird…not that anyone was going to be coming in my door anyway at 2am), and I started reading in the book of Matthew about Jesus.
And it blew me away.
And every night, I would go to my room, lock my door, open up my Bible, and start reading
And every night, Jesus blew me away.
And slowly I started to get it. This isn’t religion. This has virtually nothing to do with being “a good enough person”
This is about God breaking through into humanity.
This is about Jesus not being in the Tomb. He’s alive. He’s real. He wants to talk to me. To love me. To forgive me.
This is about the curtain being broken. That I can know Him. That He wants to break through into my life.
This is about God sending his son to earth to die in my place.
Because the harsh reality for me to learn was…I wasn’t good enough. Not even close.
And that’s why Jesus came.
Not to just be an important historical figure. Not to just be some great teacher. But he came to die in my place.
We glance over this every Christmas as well. When Mary & Joseph are giving the baby his name, the Bible says:
(Matthew 1:21) - NIV
21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
His destiny was not to be a nice guy, some guy on painting, some guy who shows up on a Grilled Cheese. His destiny was not to be some nice guy for children to read stories about or even some philosopher. His destiny was to save people from their sins.
Because we are broken.
We are broken people. Imperfect people. And we fall short of God’s standard. Way short.
And God is Holy. He is just. And if we sin against Him, which we do…quite often. And if we sin against Him, justice must be served.
No one gets to just stand in the presence of an all holy God in heaven for eternity just because they were nice.
God is far too Holy and Just for that. He wouldn’t be much of a God if that were the case.
But here’s the great thing about God. He is just. But he is also the most loving being that anyone could ever possibly fathom with their minds.
He makes the most loving human being you could ever imagine look like Hitler in comparison. His LOVE for you is unending, it’s unfathomable, it’s unstoppable. He can’t stop thinking about you!
And because of that, he couldn’t bear to see punishment come upon us. To see us be separated from Him for eternity…in hell.
So here’s what He did. He sent his Son Jesus to die on the cross.
And we hear this all the time. “Jesus came to die on a cross”
But this is what it MEANS!
It means that we weren’t good enough, that we deserved punishment, but God said, WAIT, I’ll send my Son to take the punishment for them.
And Jesus took the punishment for us. He died in our place! He took it for you!!!
And now…we have a choice.
We can choose to follow Jesus. To ask for forgiveness. To put our trust in Him. Our faith in Him. And commit to following Him. This is…to become a Christian. A follower of Christ.
OR, we can continue to go our own way. But I must warn you that that is a way that only leads to separation and death.
But maybe you’re thinking… “Uh David, not me. I’ve done too much. Too much sin in this life. I’ve gone too far.”
See because like I said in the beginning, God LOVES a good COMEBACK
He loves to take a situation that looks so hopeless and turn it completely around.
It’s what He does best. It’s what Easter Weekend is all about. And he can do that in YOUR life!
When Jesus broke that curtain, access to God, to forgiveness was now for everybody. EVERY-BODY!
The Bible tells us that NO MATTER what you’ve done, that EVERYTHING can be forgiven once and for all, if we put our trust in Jesus as the leader of our lives. As our forgiver.
And it’s even more than that. Some of you are desperate for a second chance. Your life’s a wreck. Maybe your marriage is a wreck. Maybe you’re caught in addiction…maybe caught in anger…caught in whatever…
But Jesus can free you.
When I gave my LIFE to Christ, he forgave me. He wiped away everything I had ever done. Forgiven. Gone.
But he also started to free me. Free me. Freedom.
He’s real. He’s so good.
He just wants to come into your life.
He wants to break through the walls we’ve set-up around our lives.
He’s busted through the grave. He’s ripped through the curtain. He’s available. He’s right there. Waiting for you.
The question is this: Will you let him break through the wall around your heart?
The wall we put up around our lives to keep him at bay.
I’ve been there. I put it up. I built quite the wall.
But the best thing I ever did in my life was to knock it down and invite Him in.
And I want to give you an opportunity to do that today. To let him break through that wall and come into your life.
To forgive you. To wipe away everything you’ve ever done. To start changing you. Renovation. To make YOU NEW!
And for you to start following Him. Letting someone else take control of your life. And getting it straight.
If you feel like God’s tugging on your heart this morning to give your life to Him…to believe in what Jesus did on the cross.
And Not just to believe He exists and was a person from history, to put your trust in Him and let Him break through into your life.
And if you feel like He’s moving in your heart to do that, then let’s do that. This is the best decision you can ever make. Seriously. Trust me. The best decision you can ever make.
And if you want to give your life to Him this morning by asking for forgiveness and believing in what he did on the cross, let’s do that.
Here’s what we’re gonna do:
I’m going to give you a minute to think about it. God is big. So big that I know that if it’s something you need to do…He’ll put it on your heart.
And then after that, I’m going to ask you to stand up and pray with me if you want to give your life to him. To believe on Him.
So let’s just spend a minute in silent prayer, and then I’ll ask you to stand if you want to make a decision for Him today…the best decision you can ever make.
All right, let’s take a minute to each talk to Him.
Ok. Everyone can keep their eyes closed.
If you want to give your life to Him today and believe on Jesus, I want you to stand up where you are.
Stand up if u want to let Him in…to be forgiven…to follow Him.
Ok, amazing. Praise God.
Now, I want you to pray with me.
This isn’t a magic prayer. But just a prayer for you to tell God what’s on your heart.
If you’re standing, would you pray this out loud 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, you can have a seat.
I just want to pray and praise God…… Let’s pray.
If you gave your life to Christ today, at the end of the service, I need you to come up here to your front right, and we’re going to give you just a few materials to help you get started in your relationship with Christ.
Won’t take you long at all, but it’s important that you have direction in where to go next. Thanks.
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.