Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sermon -- Christmas 2007--Mission Accomplished

Mission Accomplished

Kings leave their Throne Rooms for various reasons—self-indulgent vacation time, conquest of other territories, treasures—Great Kings, Great Leaders have a bigger vision--leave their throne on great quests—some noble or impossible mission

Why would a King such as Jesus leave His throne? Give up everything,
Lay Aside eternity and be bound by Time
Lay Aside Omnipresence—and be bound within a body
Lay aside Omnipotence—and be born as a powerless baby
Lay aside Invulnerability and become Vulnerable—able to experience death

Jesus had a reason for coming—He didn’t just look at this world as the best vacation spot for a life of relaxation—there was no territory for Him to conquer b/c it really already belonged to Him. Jesus had a greater Vision. He had a reason—we’ll see where He describes His Mission, more into that reason next week—when He speaks to those reasons Himself. But He hoped to accomplish something

Today we’ll be looking at that Mission and How it was Completed—how it was Accomplished—

Christmas is the beginning of the earthly mission of a great King—but it happens in a most unusual way.
A small child is born in a small town, to parents who won’t be recognized on the nightly news and who wouldn’t ever have a red carpet laid out for them. This Coming must be understood in light of where Jesus is going.

Crucifixion—Mission Inspired--The Plan of Old—Fulfillment of Prophecy
• One of the tv shows I used to watch—that has now attained societal cult like status—is McGyver—no matter what situation he found himself in—he could always improvise an explosive, a distraction or some other superior strategy using a pocket knife, a stick of gum still in the wrapper, a ball point pen, duct tape, soda, paperclips, household cleaning products—among other items you either have around the house or carry in your pocket on a regular basis.

• One of the lessons you can get from the program is that You can never plan for all contingencies—so be prepared to improvise with what you’ve got. Always have a backup plan.

• I am thankful that God does not take this approach. He doesn’t have to. Nothing in this world from eternity past, to creation, to any point until now has taken God by surprise. So even before the creation of humanity, God already knew that we were going to turn away from Him, but also knew exactly what it would take to restore us—the Sacrifice of His Son

• The Crucifixion of Jesus was not Plan B—it was not an Accident—God was never wringing His hands, looking around thinking—“what do I have to do to fix this—hmmm, let me see if I take one of these and a little bit of that and throw in Jesus—that way I’ll save humanity!”

• God’s plan was in motion from the beginning—in Genesis 3—God promised there would be One who’s heel the serpent would strike, but who would in turn crush the serpents head—

• The setting aside of a Chosen People—starting with Abraham—was for the purpose of bringing this Messiah into the world. Who Jesus is, and what Jesus had to endure was prophesied about hundreds of years before the events took place.
• During the lifetime of King David—the late 900’s BC--Psalm 22-describes what would happen to the Messiah-PS 22:15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.
16 Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.
17 I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me.
PS 22:18 They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.

• During the lifetime of Isaiah—the 7 & 600’s BC, God revealed this about the Suffering Servant--Isaiah 534 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
10 Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and 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.

• These are but a small demonstration of the fact that the Crucifixion was a part of God’s plan from the beginning. All of it, according to 1 Corinthians 15 takes place, “according to the Scriptures”

• Galatians 4:4 says that “when the time had fully come, God sent His Son”--When the time had fully come means—when the time was right, when all the preparations had been made.

• Now, don’t take any of this to think that the Father knew what it would take but He had been holding out on Jesus, keeping Jesus in the dark—no

• Luke 9:22—“"The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life."

• Luke 18:31-33—“Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, "We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. 33 On the third day he will rise again."

• For a Purpose—Died for our sins—1 Cor. 15:3—“ For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures

• Out of Love—John 3:16—“For God so loved the world that He gave or sent His only Son.”—This sending is a demonstration of just how much God seeks to reconcile and restore our relationship with Him

• John 15:13—“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

• Romans 5:8—“s

• The Crucifixion is About Accomplishing the Mission He had been sent for—From the Cross—Jesus said several things—

• Today You will be with Me in Paradise—apart from what Jesus was doing right then and there—it was impossible for that man to be in Paradise at all—paradise had been denied—humanity had been expelled—the presence of Holy God would not allow a sin stained individual before Him—and yet, because of the Cross—Paradise is Restored—it is now possible—

• Father, into Your hands, I commit My Spirit—Jesus felt the weight of sin and the separation it causes but you and I need to know that He was not rejected by God—Psalm 22:24 For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.”

• He says—“It is Finished”, to bring to a close, to finish, to end passed, finished to perform, execute, complete, fulfil, (so that the thing done corresponds to what has been said ordered or commanded)

• The Crucifixion is the moment of Mission Accomplished—for the Christmas Mission to earth

• And just in case there is any doubt about the Acceptability of the sacrifice—The Resurrection is Proof that the Mission Accomplished in Mission Accepted.

Resurrection—Mission Acceptable
• If the Mission ended in Dying—it’s doubtful I’d be talking about it today. It’s doubtful much of anything would have been written, it’s doubtful our western civilization would be anything like what we’ve got.

• If it ended in death—with Jesus still in the grave—there would be nothing for you and I to be here worshipping about—because ultimately, it would mean that what Jesus did was not good enough, was not acceptable—is of no significant help to you and me to reconcile us back to God.

• Hebrews 8:3—“Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer.”

• Heb. 9:11-14-- When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

• Demonstration of God’s Acceptance
• Romans 3:25-26-- God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-- 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
• 1 John 4:10—“ This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

• If the Sacrifice of Jesus was not enough, not good enough, not effective—then there would be no reason to resurrect Him. But by claiming resurrection—God is saying that the Mission was a Great Success

• Proof that sin & death were defeated
• Proof that we have been reconciled to God
• Proof that we have been rescued from the dominion of darkness—Colossians 1:13-14—“ For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

• His eternal life is Proof of our eternal life—because He lives
• Mission accomplished

Acts 1:9
• Mission on earth completed, but it’s not like He’s doing nothing in the mean-time

• Mission in heaven continued—Jesus is continuing to get things ready for the Mission Victorious—the Second Coming.

• He is continuing to Call people to Him
• Continuing to intercede for us,
• Continuing to granting us access,
• Continuing to defend us from accusation when we are covered by the Blood
• The Mission Victorious is Waiting—awaiting the word from the Father to go and Finalize—vs. 10-11

• In the Meantime…the earthly mission can be described as

• Mission Delegated—Acts 1:7-8—“ He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
• to You and Me—you will be my witnesses—go and make disciples.—go tell it on the mountain.
• Jesus Mission is Accomplished—accomplished by the Cross—it becomes real for you by receiving the forgiveness He Provides.

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