Road Trip #1 – Intersection
Galatians 2:20 (p. 811) July 13, 2014
Rick Rusaw is the lead minister at Life Bridge C.C. in Littleton CO. He was president of the North American Christian Convention a few years back. He’s a graduate of Cincinnati Christian University and the author of some great books...one called “The Externally Focused Church” another “Living Your Life on Loan.” I recommend them both.
In “Living Your Life on Loan” Rick has a chapter called “Intersections” and he writes:
“I don’t remember much about my Driver’s Ed class in High School but I do remember our teacher’s unique technique for preparing us future drivers for the upcoming test. As we approached the intersection he would scream at the top of his lungs...“LOOK OUT FOR THE STOP SIGN!!” Rick says, “His roar startled me so much that I accidentally hit the gas pedal instead of the brake and flew through the intersection...After this incident our teacher didn’t yell at us very much anymore.”
But Rick Rusaw said, “The one quote I remember from this teacher after all these years is: “Pay attention at the intersections...keep your eyes open...good things and bad things can happen at intersections.”
I believe that is exactly God’s message for every single person.
“Pay attention when you come to the intersections...keep your eyes open...This is a place where you are going to encounter God or meet other people on this road trip we call life.
That’s what this series of messages is about...life is a journey. God’s Word even describes it this way:
Proverbs 16:9 says “A man plans his journey in his heart, but the Lord determines his steps.”
Jesus describes two roads and two very, very different destinations in Matthew Chapter 7. One very narrow that leads to eternal life and one very wide that leads to death and destruction. One will be travelled by a few...one will be travelled by many...and every person will chose one of these roads for the trip we call life.
But none of us travel outside the knowledge of God. Many travel outside the will of God, but no one travels outside the knowledge of God. “Nothing in all of creation is hidden from God’s sight...everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.” (Hebrews 4:13)
I share this truth because every one of us will choose to make this journey trying to fulfill our own plans...or make the journey seeking God’s plan.
Galatians 2:20 became the apostle Paul’s map for life...His G.P.S. (God’s Planned Scripture)
And like the great Apostle:
I. OUR ROAD TRIP ENDS AND BEGINS AT THE INTERSECTION OF THE CROSS
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live (say this with me “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live.”)
The cross is an intersection...in fact it’s not just an intersection...it is THE intersection.
It is the place where past, present and future meet. God’s plan...from beginning until end has at its core...an intersection, and that intersection for all history is the cross.
Peter wrote: “He was chosen before the creation of the world but was revealed in these last times for your sake.” (1 Peter 1:20)
Jesus wasn’t an afterthought because of our sin. God’s plan always included a Savior, a Messiah, even before the Garden of Eden...Romans 5:19 says, “Through the disobedience of Adam the many were made sinners so also through the obedience of Jesus the many will be made righteous.”
The cross would be the intersection where God dealt with all sin, completely, totally...once and for all.
“You see at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly...But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)
The cross was where God performed the ultimate object lesson. He demonstrated who He really is to all mankind.
“He’s the perfect Lamb, the atoning sacrifice. The sinless sacrifice who died for his sinful creation so they could know how much He loves them.
This intersection, the cross took care of past, present and future. All sin, every sin, even those nailing Jesus to the cross, and the sin that was yet to happen in the future through you and I was paid for...covered in forgiveness through the blood of Christ.
How horrible is sin? It required the death of God’s son to pay for its penalty. Salvation is found only as we slam into the bloody horrible intersection called the cross...and we realize our desperate need for a Savior.
No one changes...no one chooses a different road unless there is a powerful, attention getting catalyst.
[Think about how most people live life...no matter how old or young we get in routines. Get up, shower, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, eat supper, play with kids, watch TV, go to bed...repeat. Weekends? Ballgames, church if it doesn’t interfere with ball games, projects, vacations are great, some non routines help. But only when there’s a wreck, a surgery, a death, does life get our real attention. It’s the broad road, the road trip of most people. Some who even attend church occasionally, some who claim Christianity is their religion. But God has very little to do with everyday life, my priorities, or my schedule. Sin is more covert...you haven’t murdered anyone...but there is no real relationship with God.
And then all of a sudden you encounter the cross. And it asks for something very very precious...“our death.”]
II. A DAY WE COLLIDE WITH GOD
Sin’s been driving the car...I’ve been in control or thought I was and then I slam into God’s intersection.
Remember the Apostle Paul was at one time Saul the Pharisee. He was rushing down the road of life. One he’d carefully orchestrated. Religion was a huge part of it too. Violently, aggressively he blasted into towns, tore through road signs, ran over pedestrians and prosecuted the “undeserving.” His destination was finally fixed in His heart and mind. The problem, sin drove the car...selfishly he slammed into the cross.
ACTS 9:1-6 (p. 765)
God threw us a roadblock and brought Saul’s road trip to a crashing halt.
The catalyst for change? A risen Jesus.
This intersection of the cross and the resurrection changed everything and caused a detour.
Saul couldn’t be Saul anymore...he would say
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live.”
I’m not sure what journey you’ve been on or for how long you’ve been on it. I’m not sure who you’ve run over, or the plans you have in your heart and mind. But, the blood of Christ isn’t just a toll payment so you can continue on your selfish road trip.
Salvation doesn’t occur by repeating some prayer or by “getting baptized” to fulfill a religious duty.
Salvation comes when we all collide with God at the cross...an encounter He has arranges sometimes more than once. He shows us the carnage our sin has created through His Holy Spirit and He directs us to the cross and asks “will you die to that sin?” Will you give up ownership of your life? Will you be reborn through the gift of my Spirit living in you?
ROMANS 6:1-7 (p. 785)
When did Saul die, when did Rick die, when do we all die...When we are crucified with Christ, when we are buried in Him.
Baptism isn’t a ritual. It’s not something you do to fulfill a religious requirement, or get your “I’m saved now ticket.” All those things are about YOU. It’s not a bath that washes you clean.
It’s a response to our belief that Jesus is God’s son and our Savior. As the Holy Spirit shows us our sin and we chose repentance, turning from it we know, I’ve got to die to that old life and its way of thinking. It’s the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus that saves you. You cannot enter this intersection and exit it as the same man or woman. The old you dies.
On January 17, 1978 I knew exactly what this choice really meant. I’m giving up my old sinful life and every part of it to be made new. Scary? Yeah. I had no idea what this new road trip would be like, but I knew who I was walking it with. And the Holy Spirit began changing me immediately and He still is.
III. THE ONLY WAY YOU CHANGE ROADS IS THROUGH FAITH
“The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me.”
Living in this body requires faith...because it’s a temporary housing...and God doesn’t instantly remove his children from this “world in which we will have trouble,” or “this body of death” that hurts and gets sick.
Have you ever noticed where God’s power is made perfect? According to scripture, it’s in our weakness...I’m not all that crazy about this truth, because in weakness I can’t control or fix that which is happening. I have to deal with a thorn in my flesh or circumstances that are hard...by the way Paul’s in prison when he writes Galatians 2:20.
These are things that happen within God’s knowledge and plan. They are intersections of faith that I want to blast right through, but God wants to use to show His power. Hebrews 4:6 says it’s impossible to please God without faith...not hard, not difficult...Impossible!!! You know what faith is? “It’s the assurance of things hoped for. It’s a conviction about things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
It’s the exact opposite of how the world operates...Life brings us to a place like this...
(SHOW GOOD LUCK SIGN)
And the world hopes it’s lucky. Luck will help me find the right road! But God’s people don’t find their way by luck. Our journey is directed by G.P.S. (God’s Plan thru Scripture).
“All things work together for the good of those who love God and have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) His purpose...to transform us into the image of Jesus, His Son.” (Romans 8:29)
There is a Chinese symbol for crisis...Here it is:
(SHOW CHINESE SYMBOL)
At its root it means: “A time of danger...a time of opportunity.”
Sometimes we won’t understand why God is leading us here...or why the thorn is left in place or why the circumstances aren’t changing. He’s not asking us to fake a smile or pretend everything is “great.” But, He does ask us to trust Him, sometimes wait on Him, and for us to live by faith and not just what we presently see. It’s a “dangerous opportunity” but we know nothing will touch us that hasn’t first passed through His nail scarred hands!
“The one who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
[Here’s what all this means for the Road trips for life...If you want to reach a destination you cannot see...it requires faith in the one who will get you there, you cannot get there on your own.
It’s as if you pull up to an intersection with Jesus holding a stop sign. You invite him into the back seat so you can chauffer him around. He remains where He is...so you open the passenger door and yet he still doesn’t get in. And then it dawns on you what is required. You open the driver’s door, scoot over and let him get in and drive, because you realize He’s the only one who can get you home.]