25 March 2016

This Is What Matters

It's that time of year again—time for many in professing Christendom to exploit the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Just as it is at Christmas, in the visible church today, the days surrounding Resurrection Sunday are often filled with narcissistic self-celebrations. The seeker-sensitive megachurches might well be more advised to refer to their services as "ME-ASTER Celebrations" rather than attempting to cloak them in any sort of Christian garb. As an example, see how one megachurch local to this blogger is advertising its 2016 "Easter Experience":


The sad irony is that these churches actually could make Easter more about "me" and "you" if they would bother telling people why it is they need a Savior in the first place. But then, the message that man is sinful, wicked, depraved, and unable to save himself is not a very culturally friendly thought. The idea that man must repent of sin and trust in the righteous and holy Lord alone for salvation just doesn't mesh well our sinful, prideful nature.

We must not, however, get caught up in ourselves during these days. Indeed, Christ died for sinners and His sacrificial death is the ultimate demonstration of love (1 John 4:10).

Yet, in the end, Easter still is not about you. It is not about me. Easter, or as some may prefer, Resurrection Sunday, is about God the Father glorifying Himself through God the Son. It is about God the Son obediently offering Himself as a sacrifice that He might bring glory to the Father.
Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. (John 17:1-5)
This weekend is about blood and death and sacrifice. It is also about life and mercy and forgiveness. It is about God's sovereignty over all things. And all of these things that define the celebration of Easter are ultimately about God because they were all wrought by God.
But the LORD was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.

Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.

(Isaiah 53:10-12)
The truth? Only one "Easter experience" matters, and it is that which was rendered 2000 years ago by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” And some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, began saying, “This man is calling for Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran, and taking a sponge, he filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink. But the rest of them said, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:45-54)
It does not matter how many tears you shed at a viewing of The Passion or whatever Bible movie reigns in the current year. It does not matter how high your hands are raised during the praise songs. None of that is evidence of conversion. None of that is fruit of salvation.

All that matters is that Jesus Christ, the sinless One, bore the wrath of God for the sins of all who would believe.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. (Romans 5:8-9)
All that matters is that His bride was purchased with His precious blood.
...knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. (1 Peter 1:18-19)
All that matters is that His saving work is finished.
After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, "I am thirsty." ... Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. (John 19:28, 30)
...but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:12-14)
All that matters is that He rose again three days later.
He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. (Luke 24:6-7)
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. (1 Corinthians 15:3-5)
All that matters is that His perfect sacrifice was pleasing to the Father.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. (Ephesians 5:1-2)
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
All that matters is that all those who are His have been reconciled to God through Christ.
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly…For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Romans 5:6, 10)
All that matters is that He alone is Lord.
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)
All that matters is that salvation is found in Him alone.
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 14:6)
And finally, an element does become about you, for your own sake, because all that matters for your eternity is that He knows you, that you've repented of your sin and trusted in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness. (Matthew 7:21-23)
I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me... (John 10:14)
Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (Luke 24:46-47)
In the end, and all for His glory, the Gospel is all that matters.

Further Reading
Isaiah 53
Only One Truth
Peace With God

5 comments:

  1. "Me-Easter" - I love it :-)
    And Amen.

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  2. How little we appreciate the power of Christ's resurrection! Thank you for such a forceful arrangement of Scripture to demonstrate the mighty implications of His victory! May He receive all the praise!

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  3. Just sent this whole page to all of my "professing" family and friends!

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  4. Excellent, Erin. As usual, you've emphasized the only thing that truly matters, not just on Easter, but every moment of every day: "And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the [a]testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." 1 Cor. 2:1-2. He's all that matters.

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  5. O, thank you so much for this piece. It goes right to my heart and the heart of the matter.

    Blessings,
    Kay Cude

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