"BREATHE" Easter 2017 Spoken Word Written by Hannah Martin (The fall)The fall of humanity, is when the fog beganOur desire to be God almighty, instead of humanDegenerate by disobedience, we chose a living deathWe try and fight against it from our first cry to our last...
Everyone loves a good party, a celebration that includes gifts, delicious food, joyful music, good friends and family. Add to that a baby. Everyone’s heart softens when a baby is part of the conversation. They are cuddly, cute, and generally smell wonderful. Add a small stable, a mystical...
The Cross--an instrument of cruel death--was used by God to bring life to all. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Jesus fulfills those words at the cross. There, he paid the...
Our redemption began with the Incarnation - the story of an infinite God who became a man and lived among us in a broken world full of decay. Then it was the Atonement – the story of an infinite God who wrote a personal check that paid our huge debt, and sacrificed himself for our sins...
Atonement: An infinite God, who came to take our place. And Moses said to Aaron, go into the altar, and offer your sin offering, and your burnt offering, and make an atonement for yourself, and for the people: and offer the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them; as the...
Do we live in a Godforsaken world? It feels like that sometimes, but I pray that we can lay a foundation that will help you connect the dots to give you a framework to accurately interpret life in a way that is real and not a part of a grand elaborate lie. The truth is, there is this reality...
Written by Hannah Martin
The fall of humanity, is when the fog began
Our desire to be God almighty, instead of human
Degenerate by disobedience, we chose a living death
We try and fight against it from our first cry to our last breath
The suffocating fog, is the result of our sin
It holds and keeps us captive unable to breath in
Powerless to escape it, we stay in our darkened cells
With chains of addiction and loneliness, this is our living hell
Our pain becomes our normal, our sin becomes our friend
As we sit in our distorted comfort believing there will not be an end
Our souls cried out for a rescue, begging for someone to come
Is there no one who can save us from the prisons of the evil one?
(Jesus’ LIfe and death)
The heartbeat of heaven descended on the Earth
He breathed the same air, he walked the same dirt
He was God in the flesh living here among us,
The creator in the creation sent to redeem us
Leaving his title, He stepped down from his throne
He wrapped on our flesh, made this planet his home
He brought sight to the blind and brought steps to the lame
Healing the lives of the very souls that he’d made
The love he had for you outweighed the pain of the cross
He knew what laid before him, he’d counted the cost
All the flesh that was torn, all the blood that was shed
He decided, it was worth it so you could live instead
We can’t imagine his suffering, we cannot measure his pain
As he hung there, his body bearing all the weight of our shame
The prince of heaven surrendering to death’s snare
The armies of heaven awaited orders for the father to send them there
But God slowly turned his head, took his eyes off of His son
The Son cried out to his father, it is finished, it is done
His body still and lifeless, no pulse, no breath
The creator of the heavens and earth hung silenced by death
Please don’t miss this next point, every word of it is true
As he passed from life to death all he thought about was YOU
The darkness was rejoicing, declaring they had won,
Evil was victorious, for in hell’s arms laid heavens son
But as the dawn began to break on day 3 of hell’s victory
Christ opened his eyes, and took a breath, his heart began to beat
A thunderous quake of glory shattering death’s stronghold
He stood and shook death off like nothing, as the giant stone was rolled
The evil of hell was no match for him, he’d conquered death and grave
The darkness left defenseless, leaving no man satan’s slave
Our God cannot be conquered, He has no match, He has no equal
Did satan really think he could separate God from his people
The curse that was upon us has been lifted in Jesus’ name
For now we are no longer slaves, our ransom has been paid
Sinners rejoice! Your fate has changed, for you have been set free
Your chains of sin fell off of you when he opened his eyes and BREATHED!
Don’t tell me He’s not enough for you, he took on hell and won
The resurrection is our promise in life we can overcome
The fog has now been lifted! The darkness has been exposed
The suffocating hold was broken when the Son of God arose!
There’s no situation, no circumstance that he cannot redeem
Give him all, even the deadest parts, new life in them He’ll BREATHE
Everyone loves a good party, a celebration that includes gifts, delicious food, joyful music, good friends and family. Add to that a baby. Everyone’s heart softens when a baby is part of the conversation. They are cuddly, cute, and generally smell wonderful. Add a small stable, a mystical star, angels, wise men and a few shepherds and you have one of the greatest and well-known stories in all of history.
Many people celebrate but most miss the point. Although the birth of Christ is a defining moment in history, it took another 33 years before it became meaningful. It took a death and a resurrection to make a birth a momentous occasion.
Without Easter, specifically without the resurrection of Christ, there would be nothing. No Christmas celebration, no New Testament, no early believers, no coming of the Holy Spirit. Basically there would be no Christianity as we have known it to be throughout history. This is a uncomfortable thought.
The more penetrating thought however is that there would have been no Savior. The curtain would not have been torn, death would not have been overcome, and we would not have the unconditional forgiveness, grace and eternal life now extended to us through Jesus.
This could have been the outcome of that quiet night in Bethlehem. Jesus had options, he could have chosen to end the story in the garden with a plea to his Father. Instead Jesus prays to be obedient, he prays for his disciples, and finally he prays for all believers.
Jesus’s death isn’t the end of his ministry, it was the finale that moved to new beginnings.
It was his glory.
The reason for his birth.
The death turned resurrection is the key to God’s saving grace and an outcome of his love for us.
Paul, writing to the people of the church of Corinth, in I Corinthians 15:3-4, said, “For what I received I passed on you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” Paul makes it clear that the resurrection isn’t just important, it is of first importance.
From there Paul goes on to say in verses 13-14, “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”
It is the resurrection of Easter we remember and celebrate as the key to Christianity. Christ died and was resurrected giving us life. This is the only way life could have been given to us. It was through the love of God we are given what we don’t deserve.
John 3:16 sums it up for us: “For God so loved the world (us), that he gave his one and only son (Jesus) that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Believe, celebrate, and accept the love gift of eternal life God made available through Jesus to all on that Easter morning so many years ago.
The Cross--an instrument of cruel death--was used by God to bring life to all.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Jesus fulfills those words at the cross. There, he paid the penalty for all of our sins.
Here is what the Bible says about Jesus on the cross:
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. (1 Peter 3:18)
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. (Romans 6:8)
So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:28)
And it is there where we find him to receive the gift of everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
It is a free gift when we repent in faith.
Jesus actually predicted the manner of his death in the words preceding his great promise. In John 3:14-15, we read: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Notice that verses 15 and 16 end with almost identical words. Why? Jesus was drawing a parallel between a spectacular Old Testament event with his coming sacrifice on the cross.
As recorded in Numbers 21:4-9, the ancient Israelites rebelled against God in the wilderness. God punished them with “fiery serpents” who bit them, killing many. After the people repented, God provided a means of salvation:
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.’ So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.”
In similar fashion, whenever anyone who has sinned looks at Jesus in repentance and faith, they shall live.
Speaking to the crowd, Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to myself” (John 12:32). The next verse expressly states, “This he said, signifying by what death he would die.”
Just as Moses lifted up a bronze serpent on a pole to save all those who looked at it, God lifted up Jesus on a cross to save all those who put their faith in Him.
Let us all turn to Jesus, who beckons us with arms wide open.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Our redemption began with the Incarnation - the story of an infinite God who became a man and lived among us in a broken world full of decay.
Then it was the Atonement – the story of an infinite God who wrote a personal check that paid our huge debt, and sacrificed himself for our sins. Jesus’ death then became the most meaningful murder in all of human history.
If you entered into relationship with Jesus in incarnation, connected with his death in faith to live Jesus, then where is your victory without the risen king?
This is the Resurrection.
Everything about Jesus is unique: The prophecies of his coming, his birth, his incarnation, atonement, teachings, miracles, and his death and resurrection. It is especially his resurrection that gave us the full validity of Jesus. He did not stay in the grave, but he rose from the dead just as he said he would.
Some skeptics and unbelievers say that to believe in a risen Christ is nothing more than a blind leap of faith with little or no basis in truth.
But we have the answer from Paul in no uncertain terms: “…if Christ has not been raised then we, out of all people, are to be “pitied,” for our hope in Christ fails to extend beyond this present life.” (1 Corinthians 15:19)
He continues: “But since Christ has been raised, we are those who can look death in the face knowing that it has no final victory, no lasting sting.” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55)
Without the resurrection of Jesus, we have no hope of a future. But because Christ is risen, we, as those who are in Christ, have every assurance that our labor in sharing this gospel of the risen Christ to a broken generation is not pointless or without purpose, but will matter for all eternity. Therefore, we must not forget that the resurrection of Christ changes everything. Without it, we have no gospel, no salvation and certainly no saving message.
Jesus’ Resurrection sets Christianity apart by breaking the power of death and sin with a final confirmation to live free and believe big!
For 40 days after his death and resurrection, Jesus appeared many times to his disciples and followers. On one occasion, he gathered his remaining eleven disciples on a mountain in Galilee and gave them his great commission.
He said, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always" (Matthew 28:19-20)
Later, he asked his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they were filled with the Holy Spirit and then to take his message to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the world (Acts 1:4,5,8).
The ascension of Jesus was the final act in the journey of our redemption. His mission was completed and he was exalted to his former glory.
But Jesus still sees us, stays with us, has a personal relationship with us, and still lives amongst us through the Spirit.
If Jesus’ Incarnation was the most humbling event, and his Atonement was the most meaningful murder in the whole of human history, indeed his Resurrection was the most revolutionary event in the whole of human history.
Atonement: An infinite God, who came to take our place.
And Moses said to Aaron, go into the altar, and offer your sin offering, and your burnt offering, and make an atonement for yourself, and for the people: and offer the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them; as the LORD commanded. (Leviticus 9:7)
Jesus demonstrated his love for us by taking on the form of man through incarnation; to be broken with us in order to establish a relationship with us and bring us redemption. He delivers us from our ruin.
Jesus knew the Mosaic law very well and he knew the law was insufficient to wash our sins away. The Mosaic Law was designed so the high priest could approach God to make amends for the sins of the people.
One key aspect of the Mosaic law was that the high priest had to first make atonement for himself before making it for the people. This was an acknowledgment of his personal imperfection. Indeed, the whole process was imperfect and only served as a pointer to the reason why God deemed the Mosaic order as insufficient to save us from our depravity.
But this is not the case with Jesus.
“For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” (Hebrews 9:24)
Jesus was sinless. He did not have to atone for his sin first, which means that instead of the blood of animals being used by the priest for atonement for themselves and the people, his sinless blood was shed that truly washes our sins away.
So, what is the atonement, and why does it matter?
Atonement is from the Hebrew word ‘kippur’ and it means to cover over, expiate or make payment – particularly for a wrongdoing. Atonement is God’s provision for a sinful, broken generation of depraved people to be redeemed. Atonement means we are justified and made fit to have relationship with God.
Atonement becomes necessary because of the fall of man. When man sinned, he became guilt-laden and estranged from God. We are on a downward spiral of death and destruction without God.
Here’s the dilemma:
On one hand, God’s holiness and justice demanded that man be punished for his sins. This means that we should share a similar fate in hell with Satan and his demons who also sinned against God. The wages of sin is death – death of the sinner! The problem of sin with it’s consequences, is so great that human imagination cannot fathom an appropriate solution for it. It is only in God’s way and on his own terms that man’s sin can be cleansed.
But on the other hand…God’s attributes of mercy, kindness, and grace desired to pardon man—to forgive our sins and restore us to favor and relationship with him.
God found a solution to this dilemma by making a provision for atonement. Under God’s law, there must be transfer of the sinner’s guilt upon an acceptable substitute who can bear the lawful punishment, so that God can express his kindness and grace to sinful men without any hindrance.
This ultimate atonement was accomplished by Jesus, the true and perfect High Priest. He was sinless. The true unblemished sacrifice that completely removes our sin.
What does this mean?
Jesus’ death on the cross means that when you turn from self, repent from your sin, and put your faith in Jesus, your sins will be vanquished. Not just forgiven—taken away! No matter how terrible your sins are, no other sacrifice is necessary for your cleansing and reconciliation with God. Being reconciled with God, you become a child of God, and have access to the unsearchable riches of Christ in this world and beyond.
That’s why the atonement matters.