INTRODUCTION: Joseph’s life is the story of coats. Joseph wore a different coat at each major event in his life. The coats reveal Joseph’s relationship with God and others. We also wear many different coats on our Christian journey. Today we conclude our sermon series, “Joseph: The Story of Coats.” We will look at the Coat of Faith. Joseph lived a long full life, but he held on to the promise that God had given to his people Israel. One day Israel would settle in the promised land. “By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones” (Hebrews 11:22). Faith trusts the promises of God and plans for God to carry them out.
JOSEPH WORE HIS COAT OF FAITH INTO THE FUTURE.
*Joseph saw his dreams literally come true. He knew that God’s promises are real and are completed. Now Joseph was governor over the land…And Joseph's brothers came and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground…And Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him (Genesis 42:6-8).
*Joseph revealed himself to his brothers and assured them that God had devised a plan to save lives. God had a future for Israel. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life…And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God” (Genesis 45:4-8).
*Israel shared God’s promise that the nation would one day return to the Promised Land. Then Israel said to Joseph, “Behold, I am about to die, but God will be with you and will bring you again to the land of your fathers” (Genesis 48:21).
*Joseph believed God’s promises. He had faith that the nation would one day enter the Promised Land. He was embalmed with a promise. He wore the coat of faith on his deathbed and trusted God to fulfill his promises. And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying,“God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt (Genesis 50:24-26).
*Years later, Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt and took Joseph’s bones with him. God’s promises are true and they come to pass. Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones with you from here” (Exodus 13:19).
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
BY FAITH, WE LOOK FORWARD TO THE PROMISES OF GOD.
*We believe that we will one day receive new bodies. We will put off the old natural body and put on a new spiritual body. So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable…It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body…Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality (1 Corinthians 15:42-53).
*We believe that one day Jesus will return and set up his kingdom. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.Therefore encourage one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
*We believe that there will be a new heaven and a new earth. We will enter our own Promised Land and be with Jesus forever. Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (Rev 21:1-3).
We wear the coat of faith to our deathbed knowing God’s promises are true and will come to pass.
INTRODUCTION: More than ever, the world needs godly women.
THE WORLD NEEDS WOMEN WHO PRAY
Hannah (mother of Samuel) - She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head” (1 Samuel 1:10-11).
Anna (prophetess in the Temple) – Luke 2:36-38
THE WORLD NEEDS WOMEN OF WISDOM
Abigail (Nabal’s wife) - Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. The woman was discerning and beautiful, but the man was harsh and badly behaved…Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves and two skins of wine and five sheep already prepared…When Abigail saw David, she hurried and got down from the donkey and fell before David on her face and bowed to the ground. She fell at his feet and said, “On me alone, my lord, be the guilt” (1 Samuel 25:3-24).
THE WORLD NEEDS WOMEN WHO PRAISE
Miriam (Moses’ sister) - Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing. And Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea” (Ex. 15:20-21).
THE WORLD NEEDS WOMEN WHO WORK
The Excellent Woman of Proverbs 31 - She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates (Prov. 31:27-31).
THE WORLD NEEDS WOMEN OF MINISTRY
Priscilla and Phoebe - I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well. Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus (Romans 16:1-3).
Philip’s daughters - On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied (Acts 21:8-9).
THE WORLD NEEDS WOMEN OF FAITH
Mary, the mother of Jesus - And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus”…And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God”…And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:30-38).
THE WORLD NEEDS WOMEN WHO WITNESS
Mary Magdalene - Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her (John 20:17-18).
THE WORLD NEEDS WOMEN WHO TEACH GOD’S WORD
Lois and Eunice – I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well (1 Timothy 1:5).
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:14-15).
INTRODUCTION: Joseph’s life is the story of coats. Joseph wore a different coat at each major event in his life. The coats reveal Joseph’s relationship with God and others. We also wear many different coats on our Christian journey. Today we will look at the Coat of Authority. God moved Joseph from the prison to the palace. Joseph exchanged his prison clothes for royal robes. He interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams and developed a plan for Egypt to avoid starvation in the coming famine. Pharaoh liked Joseph’s plan so much that he promoted him to be his second in command. God blesses his faithful people with authority. Let’s look at the benefits that come with God’s authority.
WHAT IS AUTHORITY?
*What is the difference between power and authority? Jesus said, Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you (Luke 10:19).
Power has to do with physical strength or personal ability.
Authority is delegated power and rests on the power behind it. Its value depends on the force backing the user.
JOSEPH WAS CLOTHED WITH ROYAL AUTHORITY AND ALL ITS BENEFITS.
*Joseph was given a new position, a new task, and the king’s authority. Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you” (Genesis 41:39-40).
*Joseph was given the symbol of authority and royal robes. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph's hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck. And he made him ride in his second chariot (Genesis 41:41-43).
*Joseph received a new name, a new family, and new connections. Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.” AndPharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphenath-paneah. And he gave him in marriage Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On. (Gen 41:44-45). GOD CLOTHES EVERY CHRISTIAN WITH HIS AUTHORITY.
*When we are saved, we are clothed with Christ and given a new name. For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Galatians 3:26-27).
*God has given Jesus Christ all authority. Jesus delegates his authority and mission to all who follow him. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:18-19).
*In Christ, we are given a new position and a new family. The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ… (Romans 8:16-17).
*Every believer has thronerights based on the authority of Jesus Christ.
We are loved by God and seated with Christ in heaven. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-6).
We have the power of the Holy Spirit to witness. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses (Acts 1:8).
We have authority and power in prayer. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven (Matthew 18:18-19).
In Christ, we have overcome Satan and can resist him. “For the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down… And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony (Revelation 12:10-11).
We are equipped for battle to fight the powers of darkness. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:10-12).
INTRODUCTION: Joseph’s life is the story of coats. Joseph wore a different coat at each major event in his life. The coats reveal Joseph’s relationship with God and others. We also wear many different coats on our Christian journey. Today we will look at the Coat of Holiness. Joseph was a man of integrity and clothed in righteousness. He was in a right relationship with God. But we must continuously choose to clothe ourselves in righteousness, so we can resist temptation. Choosing to live right is a process known as sanctification or holiness. Holiness is daily choosing to follow and obey the Lord no matter what our circumstances may be. We begin to develop the character of Christ and live like children of God. Let’s see how Joseph obeyed the Lord and rose in standing.
JOSEPH EXCHANGEDPRISON CLOTHES FOR ROYAL ROBES.
*Joseph had a relationship with God but lived with the chains of prison. Salvation begins our faith journey, but we still have an on-going process of holiness. And Joseph's master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison (Genesis 39:20-21).
*Joseph was faithful even though he was in prison and bondage. God’s presence overcomes our prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it… And Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and he put them in custody…in the prison where Joseph was confined. The captain of the guard appointed Joseph to be with them, and he attended them (Genesis 39:22-40:4).
*Joseph’s faithfulness led to God’s rescue. God’s timing is never our timing. Our task is to trust and obey. God’s task is to prepare and deliver. They said to him, “We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.” And Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me”…On the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, he made a feast for all his servants…He restored the chief cupbearer to his position… But he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them…After two whole years, Pharaoh dreamed…So in the morning his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was none who could interpret them to Pharaoh…Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “I remember my offenses today…A young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. When we told him, he interpreted our dreams to us, giving an interpretation to each man according to his dream (Genesis 40:8-41:12).
*Joseph exchanged his prison clothes for royal robes. Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they quickly brought him out of the pit. And when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came in before Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer” (Genesis 40:14-16).
WE PUT ON HOLINESS THROUGH FAITHFUL OBEDIENCE.
*We are made right with God by placing our faith and trust in Jesus. This is called justification. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).
* Sanctification is putting off the old person and putting on the new person in Christ. We daily choose to put off the old way of life and to give our body to God for his purposes. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness…But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:11-23).
HOLINESS IS BECOMING LIKE JESUS.
*We will struggle with the old sin nature. But we have the victory in Jesus. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand… Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:21-25).
*The Holy Spirit makes us like Jesus. He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you (Romans 8:11).
INTRODUCTION: Joseph’s life is the story of coats. Joseph wore a different coat at each major event in his life. The coats reveal Joseph’s relationship with God and others. We also wear many different coats on our Christian journey. Today we will look at the Coat of Righteousness. Joseph was a man of integrity. He resisted temptation because of his relationship with God. He was clothed in righteousness. He literally lost his coat rather than lose his integrity. When we place our faith and trust in Jesus we are clothed with his righteousness.
JOSEPH HAD A PERSONALRELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
*Joseph had rightstanding with God. God blessed Joseph’s faithfulness. The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant…the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph (Genesis 39:2-5).
*Joseph had moralboundaries that helped him resisttemptation. Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”But he refused... “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her (Genesis 39:8-10).
*Integrity has a cost. Joseph lost his coat but kept his integrity. One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house… She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home…When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison (Genesis 39:11-20).
WE CAN BE RIGHT WITH GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.
*Jesus said that we should seek righteousness. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
*But we have a sin problem that separates us from God. For we have already charged that all…are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God (Romans 3:9-11).
*The Good News is that God has given us a rightstanding and salvation with him through faith in his son Jesus Christ. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:21-24).
*Jesus is our righteousness. He exchanged our sin for his righteousness. We are clothed in his righteousness and have right standing with God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24).
*When we are saved, we are clothed with Christ. For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Galatians 3:26-27).
WE MUST DAILY PUT ON THE COAT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
*We must continuously choose to clothe ourselves in righteousness, so we can resist temptation. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires (Romans 13:12-14).
*The Coat of Righteousness protects us from evil and guards our commitment to Christ. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil...Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:10-14).
INTRODUCTION: Joseph’s life is the story of coats. Joseph wore a different coat at each major event in his life. The coats reveal Joseph’s relationship with God and others. We also wear many different coats on our Christian journey. Our new sermon series, “Joseph: The Story of Coats” will help us discover the coats we wear on our journey. Today we will look at the Coat of Blessing. Our Father has given each of us a coat of blessing.
WHAT IS THE COAT OF BLESSING?
*Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph and gave him a special robe that signified his father’s favor. Joseph’s brothers longed for their father’s blessing too. “Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him” (Genesis 37:3-4).
*The blessing is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance that is given from one generation to another. Through the blessing children and adults receive the message that they are highly valued, deeply loved, and have a hopeful future. Everybody needs to feel blessed. Jacob should have known this. He stole the blessing from his brother Esau and fled to another country. Esau found out and begged his father Isaac for a blessing: “As soon as Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry and said to his father, ‘Bless me, even me also, O my father!’ But he said, ‘Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing’” (Genesis 27:34-35).
*When we do not get the blessing we often try to seek it in unhealthy ways that lead to emotional, physical and spiritual problems. Joseph’s brothers felt rejected and turned their hurt into hostility and hatred. “So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan…So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the robe of many colors that he wore. And they took him and threw him into a pit” (Genesis 37:17-24).
HOW DO YOU RECEIVE AND GIVE THE BLESSING?
*God designed us to receive and give the blessing. “And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’ And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them” (Mark 10:13-16).
*Dr. John Trent says that there are five elements of biblical blessing that all of us can give and receive:
Appropriate meaningful touch – a hug, laying on of hands
A spoken message -words of acceptance and affirmation
Attaching high value – word pictures that show great worth
A special future – your blessing gives hope and inspiration
A genuine commitment – letting the person know you will always be there for them through thick and thin with no strings attached.
WHAT IF YOU MISSED THE BLESSING?
*Dr. Tim Sledge writes in Making Peace with Your Past that there are three steps toward healing if you missed the blessing:
Admit that you are still seeking the blessing.
Stop seeking the blessing where you cannot find it.
Look for the blessing where it can be found.
*Joseph’s brothers finally found their blessing from Israel and Joseph. All these are the twelve tribes of Israel. This is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each with the blessing suitable to him (Genesis 49:48).
*Ultimately we need to look to God as our Heavenly Father who wants to bless us. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3).
* When you follow Jesus Christ you become a child of God and receive the coat of blessing. For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring,heirs according to promise (Galatians 3:26-29).
*Jesus said, “Bless those who curse you” (Luke 6:28). We need to practice blessing others. Try this: May you be blessed by the Lord, who made heaven and earth! (Psalm 115:15).
INTRODUCTION: Repeat with me The Mystery of the Faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again! This is the substance and essence of the Lord’s Supper. This became evident to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus when they invited Jesus into their home and they broke bread together. The “breaking of bread” in the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts is a term used for the Lord’s Supper, the fellowship meal instituted by Jesus Christ. The Lord’s Supper has always been the place where we meet Jesus and he welcomes us. It is the place of communion with Christ. Let’s see how these two disciples experienced Jesus in the “breaking of bread.”
THE LORD’S SUPPER REVEALS CHRIST’S DEATH (24:25-27).
In the Lord’s Supper we remember that we are forgiven and delivered by Jesus’ sacrifice.
THE LORD’S SUPPER REVEALS CHRIST’S RESURRECTION (28-32).
*The two disciples invited Jesus to their table and Jesus revealed himself as he broke bread. The early church brought food and drink to a community meal as an offering to the Lord and as a feast for sharing (1 Corinthians 11, Jude 12).
Inthe Lord’s Supper we have the promise of Jesus’ presence and the practice of true community.
THE LORD’S SUPPER REVEALS CHRIST’S RETURN (33-35).
* The two disciples recognized Christ in the breaking of bread and realized that Jesus was alive. The Lord’s Supper became the focal point of the early church’s meetings and created a new kingdom community (Acts 2: 42; 20:7).
* The Lord’s Supper looks forward to the future. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes” (1 Cor. 11:26).
* We gather to take the Lord’s Supper now in anticipation of the day we will eat together around Christ’s table in his new kingdom. The Lord’s Supper should be a time of joy and celebration! “And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb’” (Revelation 19:9).
In the Lord’s Supper we have hope for the future and anticipate the Lord’s return.
Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again!
INTRODUCTION: Peter told the Jerusalem Council how the Gentiles had received salvation under his ministry and concluded “We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are” (Acts 15:11). It is through the love, grace, sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we are saved. Easter reminds us that the Cross was required to make us right with God. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ proves that he has the power to give us eternal life. The Cross brings salvation and demonstrates God’s love. The Resurrection gives us a fresh start and the power to live a new life! But sometimes we doubt that we can ever change. We are so ashamed of who we are that we feel we are helpless, worthless, and undeserving of love. How does the Cross erase the shame of sin? How does the Resurrection give us the power to change and hope for the future?
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GUILT AND SHAME?
*Guilt has to do with behavior. Guilt comes when we know we have done something wrong or failed to do something right. We have violated a God-given standard. Guilt is a positive emotion that leads us to change our behavior. Paul experienced guilt, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Romans 7:19).
*Shame has to do with being. Shame is more than remorse for bad behavior. Shame is an internal sense of self-worthlessness, a sense of being a failure as a human being. It is self-torment for being an awful person. Paul said it this way: “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24).
*Shame leads to a cycle of wretched (hopeless and joyless) living. Shame says “I am what I am. I can’t change. I am hopeless.” Some common results of shame-based living are inferiority, destructive behavior, self-pity, and passivity. Shame often leads to chronic depression.
*Adam and Eve experienced shame after they sinned. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed… So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food…she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leavestogether and made themselves loincloths…and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden (Genesis 2:25 – 3:8).
*The cycle of shame goes like this: Guilt breeds shame which feeds bad behavior which produces guilt which creates shame.
HOW DOES THE NEWBIRTH REMOVE MY SHAME?
*The Cross of Jesus Christ breaks the cycle of sin – guilt – shame. “So there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit – and this power is mine through Christ Jesus – has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death. We aren’t saved from sin’s grasp by knowing the commandments of God because we can’t and don’t keep them, but God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent his own Son in a human body like ours – except that ours are sinful – and destroyed sin’s control over us by giving himself as a sacrifice for our sins. So now we can obey God’s laws if we follow after the Holy Spirit and no longer obey the old evil nature within us” (Romans 8:1-4 TLB).
*What God did through the Cross:
No condemnation in Christ (1)
Freedom through the Holy Spirit (2)
Completion of the Law (3-4)
Destruction of sin (3)
Power to change (4)
*The Holy Spirit brings regeneration through the power of the Resurrection. Regeneration is a spiritual rebirth. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead can give you new life. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Cor. 5:17).
Because of regeneration I have been made brand new, complete in Christ. Because of Christ’s redemption, I am a new creation of infinite worth. I no longer need to experience the pain of shame.
CONCLUSION: You must personally accept what Jesus Christ did for you on the Cross! You must believe Jesus has the power to save you and receive him as your savior. “But to all who received him, he gave the right to become children of God. All they needed to do was to trust him to save them. All those who believe this are reborn! – not a physical rebirth resulting from human passion or plan – but from the will of God” (John 1:12-13 TLB).
INTRODUCTION: Peter told the Jerusalem Council how the Gentiles had received salvation under his ministry and concluded “We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are” (Acts 15:11). It is through the love, grace, sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we are saved. Easter reminds us that the Cross was required to make us right with God. The Cross brings salvation and demonstrates God’s love. The Cross makes us right with God through justification and restores broken relationships through reconciliation. The penalty for sin has been paid and there is no more need for punishment. Yet we continue to fear punishment. How has the Cross taken away the fear of punishment? How does the Cross eliminate the need to blame and condemn?
WE FEAR PUNISHMENT WHEN WE DO WRONG.
*Sin causes separation from God, other people, and me. Adam and Eve hid from God. Adam became afraid of God because he realized he had disobeyed God. He blamed Eve to justify his own sin and wrong-doing. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
*The person who blames says, “Those who fail (including myself) are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished.” The person who blames is plagued with feelings of guilt and self-condemnation. Their guilt is fueled by the fear of punishment. To escape punishment, we deny our guilt feelings, we rationalize our failures and sins, and we blame others. Luke 18:10-11 says, “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector.’”
GOD’S MERCY TAKES AWAY FEAR OF PUNISHMENT.
*The Cross of Jesus Christ provides propitiation for our sin. Propitiation means that a sacrifice has been made to remove our sins and to make us favorable to God. “But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2).
*God’s wrath is satisfied, sin is punished, and mercy is granted at the Cross. There is no more need for punishment. We do not have to beat up ourselves or others. “There is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 18:13-14).
*God loves you. He proved it at the Cross! God’s forgiveness enables us to forgive others and experience mercy. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice(propitiation) for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:10-11).
Have you accepted the forgiveness and mercy God has given you through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross?
INTRODUCTION: The very nature of the gospel was at stake! Some Jewish converts started teaching the Lord’s followers that they could not be saved unless they were circumcised as Moses had taught. Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to meet with the leaders and discuss how a person becomes a follower of Jesus. Peter told the story of how the Gentiles had received salvation under his ministry and concluded “No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are” (Acts 15:11). It is through the love, grace, sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we are saved. Easter reminds us that the Cross was required to make us right with God.
Only by way of the Cross do we experience God’s love and salvation. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Let’s examine how the Cross brings salvation and demonstrates God’s love.
WE ALL HAVE A SIN PROBLEM.
*Sin causes separation from God, other people, and me. Adam and Eve hid from God and blamed others for their sin. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
*Guilt feelings come when our thoughts and behavior fall short of our ideals. Adam became afraid of God because he realized he had disobeyed God. “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24).
*Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves with fig leaves when they became aware of their sin. We try to conceal our guilt with deceptive games and self-justifying behavior. “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9).
THE CROSS MAKES US RIGHT WITH GOD.
*The Cross of Jesus Christ provides justification with God which leads
to peace. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:1, 8).
*Justification is more than forgiveness. It means that God erases my sin and credits to me the righteousness of Jesus. I am now fully pleasing to God and have peace with him. “The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:23-25).
God’s truth: Because of justification I am completely forgiven by and fully pleasing to God.
THE CROSS RESTORES BROKENRELATIONSHIPS.
*Adam and Eve broke fellowship with God and each other when they sinned. God provides the Cross for reconciliation. Reconciliation means former enemies become friends. The Cross restores our relationship with God and with others. “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:19).
*You are God’s friends. You are accepted and forgiven by God. You no longer must seek the approval of others. “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Romans 5:10-11).
*Because of what Jesus Christ did for us on the Cross, nothing can make us unacceptable to God. We have God’s complete seal of approval. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).
God’s Truth: I am a friend of God. I can be your friend too.