By Rev Bill Woods
You’re driving down a busy highway at night. The traffic is dense — you’re tired — work’s been unusually hectic. Suddenly your car lists to one side. – Oh no! A flat tire!
You stop and find the spare. Half an hour later after changing the flat, you’re back in the driver’s seat.
– “All that waste of time! I hope my friends are still waiting for me!”
Now that you’re back on the road, you think of the fun you’ll have this weekend. – You deserve time off! — you’ll enjoy this break to the fullest. You smile.
Suddenly, a huge dark truck begins tailgating you! Your first thought is “Idiot!” – You accelerate — to your horror, the menacing truck matches your speed.
You read about a mad killer somewhere on this highway killing people with a kitchen knife. – What if he’s in the truck behind you?
You slow down, hoping it’s just a coincidence the truck’s keeping up with you. – Hopefully he’ll pass and leave you alone. – He doesn’t!
Instead he slows and flashes his lights at you — he thrusts his arm out the window gesturing towards you.
“What’s he want?” You’re frightened now! — Nothing like this has ever happened to you before.
You get an idea.
– Cops often work this highway. If you drive over the s – The truck’s matching your speed!
You’re terrified and push your accelerator to the floor. – You didn’t know your car could go 120 miles an hour!
You check your mirror — that truck’s matching your speed. He’s unshakable!
A half hour and this high speed chase is still going on! – Wouldn’t you know there are no cops anywhere! Your exit is still 3 miles away.
You’ve got to keep on racing – It’s a good plan. The only plan that hopefully will deliver you from your aggressor.
You succeed in taking the exit — you’re rejoicing! You’ve finally shook off that truck, then you notice those same lights are still following you. – Your blood turns icy. “What now?”
Your gas tank’s almost empty – there’s nowhere to go except to the mansion where your friends are waiting.
You hope John has his shotgun with him. He seldom leaves it behind — he’s an avid hunter.
No matter where you turn, the truck stays right with you.
Finally you’re at the mansion — John’s waiting for you. – You leap from your car and shout “Get your shotgun!” John sees the truck. – He runs into the house and grabs his gun. – Hope’s finally in sight!
John points his gun at the driver of that dark, menacing truck, and orders him out. – The poor guy comes out of his truck shaking.
What would you be thinking about this driver at this time? – Would you welcome him with open arms? Or want to strangle him?
– The shaking man yells, “It’s not me! It’s not me! It’s him!”
Confused you and John look at each other. “Who?”
“There’s a man in the back of your car. I saw him slip into your car while you were changing your tire. He had a kitchen knife in his right hand. I followed you to warn you about him!”
– Is he telling the truth?
Slowly all 3 of you approach your car. – John opens the back door, his shotgun ready. – Sure enough, a man’s crouching behind your seat, a kitchen knife in his hand.
Imagine your feeling when you realize the one you accused had nothing but purest intentions. He wanted to save you from certain death. – He’s not the one who deserves judgment. He’s your hero, your savior!
What a picture of how people respond to Jesus!
Most people run from the One who can provide the safety they need and harbor the very murderer bent on destroying them.
Jesus has done and is doing everything He can to save you from sin and Hell (the 2nd Death) while you run from Him afraid He’ll ask you to give up too much of the world to serve Him.
Christ’s doing everything He can to get your attention before it’s too late, but you’re not pulling over.
At the same time, Satan, “the thief and murderer,” who you should fear is invading your homes and families – planning your destruction. – John 8:44-45 –“For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.
45 So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me!”
2 Corinthians 5:16-21 — So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!
17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.
19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.
20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right – You and I didn’t choose whether or not we’d be born – we were just born. – We didn’t choose our parents or where we’d be born. – I didn’t choose to be William Walter Woods from Walla Walla, Washington. – I was born in Walla Walla to be near my mother.
On the contrary, Jesus chose to be born in Bethlehem. – He chose His mother to be the Virgin Mary — His step-dad to be Joseph. He chose to be a Jew and to be born in a stable.
He left Heaven to live a perfect life without sin and take your punishment for your sins. – Romans 6:23 — For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus is the Eternal Son of God: of one substance with the Father, co-equal, co-eternal, co-existent with the Father, became a human being in every way, except for sin. – He was a man of suffering, of pain, of anxiety, of temptation – who was crucified and died for our sins.
2 Corinthians 5:21 makes clear Christ “had no sin.” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
He didn’t inherit the guilt of original sin. He lived a sinless and pure life from His conception until His death. – He didn’t allow the evil that surrounds all of us to enter into His deeds or His heart.
No matter what temptation, how hard the struggle or how great – He remained perfect! — 2 Corinthians 5:21 — He “has no sin”.
He reflects the perfect image of God — Hebrews 1:3 — The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. – Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory and Being …
Paul said in Romans 3:23 — “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” . – “we” are the sinners.
Not just the drunkard, the addict, the liar, the thief, the blasphemer, the idolater or murderer. We’re all sinners!
Who’s a sinner? Everyone who’s broken a single commandment of God!- You and me – we’re the sinners!
“I’ve lived a good and decent life and my good deeds outweigh my bad deeds!”
Isaiah 64:6–“We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.”
. – You can’t live good enough to make it to Heaven! – Ephesians 2:8-9 — “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”
Because it was impossible we escape Hell, Jesus stepped into history and provided the sacrifice needed to save us. – Hebrews 9:22 — “In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.”
Two thieves spotted what looked like a sweet deal.
They found an unguarded 2007 Volkswagen cargo van with a moveable platform and crane. – It looked like easy pickings — the driver was asleep — the van was unguarded.
They overpowered the driver, tied him up, dropped him in a vacant parking lot, and drove away.
They drove about 24 miles and decided to investigate the van’s cargo. What can it hurt? They made a score, and needed to see their loot.
Soon they unloaded the containers, broke them open, scattered the contents, and found nothing of interest.
– They found nothing of interest, but that doesn’t mean they found nothing.
The crooks opened containers of radioactive cobalt-60 pellets taken from hospitals in Tijuana and headed for a nuclear holding plant outside of Mexico City. . – There’s one other thing those crooks found in those pellets – DEATH!
Those cobalt-60 pellets were small, but deadly. They carried enough radioactive punch to kill anyone who came into close contact with them.
Death would come in 2 or 3 days. – The crooks didn’t know, but opening those containers made them walking dead men.
Their story isn’t much different than Adam and Eve who thought the forbidden fruit wasn’t such a bad thing … – or David who believed a little look at Bathsheba couldn’t hurt … – or Achan who thought a few bars of silver and gold taken from Jericho wouldn’t cause any problem the rest of us.
Because of sin, we were all walking dead. – Big sins, little sins, every sin separated us from God and condemned us.
This is why human’s walking dead need a Savior.
We’re better off than the thieves who stole the cobalt-60. – There was no cure for them, but Jesus has provided the antidote for our lost condition.
Jesus is the Judge we’ll someday face. – We know we’re guilty and we know the penalty.
God’s Law demands we be punished (sentenced to Eternal Death, separation from God in Hell). – Jesus has assumed the punishment for our sins – GRACE! (UNMERITED FAVOR!)
Through His life, by His suffering, death, and glorious resurrection from the dead, Jesus has become our Heaven-sent Savior, Who can cleanse sinners of all that’s contaminated and condemned us.
He’s promised riches beyond our wildest dreams — forgiveness, Heaven, Joint-heirs with Him!
We have to decide to accept His Pardon and gifts He wants to bestow on us. – We must accept His Identity by Identifying with Him! – With Holy Spirit-given faith we’re no longer walking dead, we’re eternally saved souls.
THE OLD ACCOUNT WAS SETTLED LONG AGO!
Easter is not about bunnies and chocolate eggs! Easter is HIS RESURRECTION DAY! AND BECAUSE HE LIVES I CAN FACE TOMORROW!
Today, I want to gather with God’s saints and remember what Jesus has done for us and that He is soon coming to get us and take us to His Place where we’ll live with Him for Eternity.
Jesus tasted death, the grave and the consequences of sin in Hell for 3 days for you and me!
He didn’t stay in the grave! HE AROSE AND THAT’S WHAT WE ARE CELEBRATE!
HE LIVES! HE LIVES! CHRIST JESUS LIVES TODAY!