Sept. 7, 2003pm FROM TOP TO BOTTOM Matthew 27:46-54
By Ronald E. George Jr. at the Fayetteville Baptist Church
God became a man so that he could become our sacrifice. He had to die. What happened when God dies? Fish rots from the head down or the fish lives by the head that leads, guides, directs, feeds. God's love - divine - heavenly love was given down. . The earth shook, the sun darkened, the rocks split, the dead raised, and the curtain ripped. All of creation moaned as the Creator gave up His spirit. God felt the pain of death for you and me. The curtain was torn from the top to bottom
Those who have the power, those who have the light, and those who have the ability have to be willing to take the initiative. To those to whom much is given, much will be required. Those who have the house have to open the doors to the those who are without. Those who are in the light have to give the light to those who canít see.
God has given the example of those who have the power and He was willing to come down and give the lost sheep the direction they need to find the way home. He was willing to go all the way to make sure that all had the opportunity to come to salvation in Him.
Scripture Text: Matt 27:46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" 47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, "He's calling Elijah." 48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to save him." 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. 52 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. 54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!"
I. Why was the curtain torn from top to bottom? The earth groaned, the sun darkened, and the curtain ripped. The curtain was in the temple that kept the unholiness of men out of the Holy of Holies. This is the place where God lived. Only the High priest was allowed to enter this place once a year with the sacrifice for the sins of the people.
A. Ultimate - complete sacrifice was made/sin sacrifice is complete - salvation is free to all. Holy of Holies is open. You can see & believe.
B. Available to all who believe - Complete access. Sacrifice for the world -
not a select group. Everyone is valuable to the Lord.
C. Accomplished by God - from top to bottom - God gave His only Son. Only
God could make it easy. Only God could have torn the curtain to make it possible for all to see Him and know Him.
D. Everyone could have it - You could have life, peace, joy, fulfillment, home. All of humanity could have access to God. The Jew and the Greek alike.
II. Will the Stained Glass curtain be torn away by us? The curtain of the stained glass has got to be opened by the modern church, so that all may see and know that there is a living God who has died on the cross and risen from the dead.
A. Living Sacrifice should be made for others. (Rom. 12:1-2) Are you a Living sacrifice for the salvation of others. What have you sacrificed? What would you be willing to give up so that someone else may come to have God? As a church if we continually ask what kind of church do we like, then we will only be able to please and reach those who are here. But, if we are willing to ask ourselves what kind of church do those who are outside need to see. Then we have the possibility of opening the stained glass curtain to make God available to all.
B. Available to those who see God in us - (I Cor. 6:19-20) - God lives
in the Holy Place/heart. Love & Faith in God can't be private. It must be made public. Todayís church has got to able to go into the public were the people are who have no idea of the love of God.
C. Accomplished by God - from top to bottom. He is our strength, our
help, our Lord, our Savior. We must be dependent on the Lord and give ourselves to His power and control. We have got to rely on Him and depend on Him to lead us. After He has shown the way we must be willing to follow. Take a chance on the Lord.
D. You could be the one to open the curtain to others. - For you: joy peace,
fulfillment, satisfaction as a result of opening the stained glass curtain. For the others: life everlasting. How will you open the stained glass curtain for all to see? Do all the people in your life see the Lord? Do the people in the community see the Living Lord in the life of the church?
Luke 12:48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.