There can be no doubt that the resurrection is one of the most fundamental Christian doctrines. It is mentioned over 350 times in the New Testament alone with most of them dealing with the resurrection of Christ. In this message we'll consider the the supernatural working of God to raise Christ up in his glorified state establishes our faith and hope for the future consummation of our redemption.
1 Peter 1:21
I do not think that it is coincidence that there are seven sayings of Christ from the cross. You might think that it seems a little anti-climactic after Jesus says, “It is finished.” I mean, what more could be said? It is finished, right?
I don’t think that you could have a complete cross story without this seventh saying. Part of the reason is the symbolic significance of the number seven. In the Bible seven represents perfection, fulfillment, or completion.
For instance, in the Bible, the seventh day is the Sabbath day, the completion of the week. By week’s end you were to have fulfilled your work so that you could dedicate the seventh day to the Lord.
So you can sort of see that the number seven carries this idea of completion or perfection.
And it is with this seventh word that Jesus perfects his work as our Redeemer. And when you understand what Jesus says here, you understand that is exactly what he is saying.
When he says, “Into you hands I commit my spirit,” he insinuates that two things are being brought to their completion. He’s announcing the completion of his obedience and his sufferings.
I. Jesus completes His obedience
In speaking these words, Jesus wants us to know that he is bringing his obedience to completion. Jesus came to earth to “fulfill all righteousness.” If he did not fulfill every jot and tittle of the law, we could not be counted as righteous before God. As lawbreakers, we need someone to fulfill the law on our behalf.
And that is exactly what Jesus does here. The evening is drawing nigh for Jesus. The Sabbath day is almost upon them. And for the Jew, the fourth commandment required a day of holy rest. And after this word, Jesus enters into a state of rest. He dies, and subsequently, he is laid in a tomb. And there he will remain undisturbed throughout the duration of the Sabbath.
But I want you to understand that physical rest was not the only thing required in the Sabbath command. It was supposed to be a day of spiritual rest too. As a matter of fact, that is the real purpose of the fourth commandment. The Sabbath was designed to be a day given over to God and devoted specifically to him. It was to be a holy day—a day where men spend time refreshing their souls in the worship of God.
Do you see what I mean? The Sabbath command calls men to cease from their labors and other worldly activities and so that one can spend as much time as he can enjoying communion with God.
And that’s exactly what Jesus tells us he is going to do here. When he says, “Into your hands I commit my spirit” Jesus pushes us out of this realm. He pushes us into the realm of heaven. He basically says, “Father, I have been agonizing on this cross all day. I have been doing the work you have called me to do. But in just a moment I am going to die. My body will be put in a tomb, but my spirit is going to come to you. And I look forward to being there with you, spending the whole Sabbath in your presence.”
So you see? By his voicing this word, Jesus shows us that even in his death he has fulfilled all righteousness on our behalf.
This is good news for you and me because we are Sabbath breakers!
Sure, we do not recognize the seventh day of the week anymore. Ever since the resurrection, the first day of the week is one God has appointed as his day of worship. But how many times have we squandered the Lord’s Day on ourselves rather than giving God the priority he deserves?
You know that time you skipped church so that you could go golfing? Do you know how much that offended God? Ladies, instead of seeking to commune with God, you played hooky so that you can go shopping with the girls.
You might not know it, but these are egregious sins in the eyes of God. If anything, it shows how tepid your love for God really is and how much you value your job or your recreation over him!
But friends, the last words of Jesus are, “into your hands I commit my spirit.” With His dying breath he expresses the anticipation he has for that communion with His heavenly Father. And by doing so he brings to completion his obedience and he fulfills that righteousness that we so desperately we lack.
But you’ll notice that it is not just his obedience that he completes. In these words we also see that he brings his sufferings to completion.
II. Jesus completes his sufferings
What is said here is something radically different than what we have witnessed so far in our service. The whole notion of Jesus coming into the presence of God to enjoy communion with him is a radical juxtaposition to all that the cross represents.
For the last several hours we have seen nothing but the rejection of Jesus. Here on this cross God has stripped him of every earthly blessing and completely abandoned him. The Father has essentially said, “You are utterly repulsive to me and I want nothing to do with you!” We even have Jesus’ own testimony. We heard him cry out and say, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
But here in these words we see something radically different. Jesus says, “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” The idea is that Jesus will no longer be pushed away—they will no longer be separated! Instead, he knows that in just a moment his spirit will ascend to heaven where the Father will open his arms to receive him.
And that can only mean one thing: Jesus has completed his sufferings. He has endured the totality of God’s wrath and curse and come out the other side. Or, as one theologian has said, Jesus expresses the fact that he is already begun to taste the sweets of his victory.
This is why those who trust in Jesus need not fear being condemned by God.
You need to understand that when you die, your body will be laid in the tomb, but your spirit will live on. If you have not turned from your sin and trusted Christ, you will awaken to find yourself in hell receiving the just punishment for your sins.
But if you place your faith in Christ, you can be assured that you will not suffer the least prick upon your soul. Jesus Christ has born it all and he has opened the way to the Father so that sinners like you and I may enter into the presence of God when our life on this earth is done.
The beautiful thing about these last words of Jesus is not words of departure; they are words of entrance.
And they are here to remind us that though we have lost fellowship with God, through the redemption of Christ we may have it restored.
This seventh saying of Christ heralds the perfect work of our Mediator: The curse of sin is broken…completely.
[The above message was delivered by Matt Timmons at the 2013 community Good Friday service.]
When Christ came riding into Jerusalem he was proclaimed to be the Messianic King whom they had long expected. Though he did not claim to be the kind of king they expected, he most certainly was a king!
In this message Dave Sheldon details the kingly office of Christ. By walking through the Scriptures we find that the king has a domain of rule and subjects who loyally submit to his lordship.
In 2012 Providence church collected money to give to a congregation in Romania so they could buy a heating system for their church. Since then we've had some regular connections with the congregation. We thought we would pass on the latest communication, which had some interesting news and some great pictures!
It is a while without to hear by you.
Pastor Matt posed as Rabbi Timmons for the evening.
The people of Providence enjoyed a wonderful time of fellowship and instruction this past Sunday evening as we participated in a Seder Meal.
Seder is the Hebrew word for "order" and refers to the order of the Passover meal that Jews would have observed during Jesus' time. The meal is organized around four cups of wine which correspond to the four promises God makes in the Passover.
As you can see from the picture, Pastor Matt came dressed as a Jewish Rabbi in order to fill the role as the leader of the night. Other members participated in the readings and character parts which explained the drama of the supper and how the New Testament sacrament of Communion comes to be instituted through it.
Once again, we thank Raylene for her hard work in organizing the event and seeing to it that all the preparations were in order so that we could enjoy a fun and informative evening.
Many people, upon reaching heavens door, will find themselves locked out. This is because they have not expressed true, godly grief for their sins.
It is obvious that most do not grieve over sin. They rejoice in it, toy with it, revel over it and reminisce upon it. Though sin be a serious grievance to God, they find it it a point of pleasure and make every attempt to indulge in iniquity.
These, it is clear, will not enjoy the delights of heaven.
Yet there are legions who, though they experience grief for their sin, will accompany this wretched band to the flames.
Christ demands true repentance and he makes a distinction between godly grief and worldly sorrow. For instance, godly grief consists in more than the experience the emotions of remorse and grief. A person may have strong sensations of contempt and displeasure at their actions. Their conscience can be stricken by what they've done. But such things are not godly grief in and of themselves.
To be sure, these passions are good. We do not want to despise the fact that one recognizes evil and is sickened by it. At the same time though, we ought not to construe these feelings as Biblical sorrow or in the least bit pleasing to the Lord.
It must be understood that godly grief is of a different nature and has different consequences. Godly grief is not just a sensation of having done something wrong. It is the recognition that one has transgressed God's law and violated His majesty's rule and authority. Godly grief understands that God has been offended and he must turn away from such things. That is to say, godly grief does not just weep over it, he bids it farewell!
Moreover, godly grief is a grief that is mixed with hope. A repentant person will not just mourn his sin because he recognizes that there is mercy to be had. Always in the shadows of his sadness is hidden a deep rooted joy because grace is available.
"Godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death." 2 Corinthians 7:10
We mentioned a couple weeks ago that Pastor Matt was leading some classes on worldview for the homeschoolers in the area. In that article we gave links to some of the content from the first section of those classes. Well, he has completed the second section, which analyzes some of the different worldviews that are prevalent in America today.
Each of these links not only explains the worldview, but gives some examples of how it is manifested in our culture today. All of them are helpful for developing the kind of discernment a Christian needs as he interacts with different media forms in our culture.
"Listen to the cry of a woman in labor at the hour of giving birth--look at the dying man's struggle at this last extremity, and then tell me whether something that begins and ends thus could be intended for enjoyment."
So said Soren kierkegaard, and he summed up well the fact that our lives are filled with suffering.
Each year the local ministerial association holds a community Good Friday service at Trinity Lutheran Church. It is a three hour service that includes song, special music, and teachings on the "Seven Words of Christ from the Cross."
We are asking for your prayers because this year Matt will have opportunity to speak on the seventh word, which is, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."
If would like to attend, the details are as follows:
Date: Friday March 29
Time: 12:00 - 3:00 pm
Matt will be speaking around 2:30. People are free to come and go as they please. So if you wish only to catch a part, you may feel free to do so.
Suffering comes in all different forms, from stubbing your toe, to battling cancer, to being persecuted for your faith. Yet no matter how extreme it may be, it is under the sovereign finger of God and subservient to His purposes. In this message Mark Hamilton unveils the purpose of the pain as we begin to develop a theology of suffering.
The righteous are as
bold as a lion.
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