Summary: The death of Jesus Christ will affect you– I just pray you’ll allow it to bring Victory!
A. We want to Welcome all of you to the Lewes Church of Christ. What a special day and a special time!
B. Series: For the last month, I’ve been preaching a sermon series that has been inspired by Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. Now, I’m not much of a movie goer, but I got the privilege of seeing this movie on opening day, the first showing. Promptly at 1:20 p.m., the first screen read, “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities...By his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5-6; 714BC.” And then for two hours and six minutes, I was there! I not only saw the movie, I experienced the Life of Christ– from the garden, through the betrayal, the arrest, the scourging, the cross, the surrender, the empty tomb– it’s not a movie. It’s an encounter. It was powerful. And I was so glad I didn’t get any popcorn, because it would have still been in the bag.
C. I walked out of the theater totally speechless. I mumbled “good-bye” to my companions and went and set in my car. For the next three hours, my mind was totally captivated by the Gospel of Jesus like never before. If you would have told me a year ago that the star of Lethal Weapon would have every one talking about Jesus– there is no way I would have believed it.
D. In this series, I wanted to discuss some of the themes that were stirred in my heart as I watched this movie. Three weeks ago we looked at Christ’s Passion against the Evil One. Two weeks ago we looked at Christ’s Passion for the Father. Last week we saw Christ’s Passion for People. Today, I want us to look at a theme that the Apostle Paul so eloquently describes in his letter to the Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 55b-58... “For what I received I passed on to 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...... “Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us Victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
E. Today, I want us to focus on Christ’s Passion for Victory!
F. This past week, both the men and women from UCONN won the NCAA National Championship. And that is such a great victory, but even that pales in comparison the Ultimate Victory found in Jesus Christ.
G. Mel Gibson addressed 5,000 church leaders in Chicago after a preliminary screening of The Passion of the Christ, “It will probably be savaged by critics. But I’ve had my career, and I’m bored with it. I created a secular utopia for myself in Hollywood, but it was empty. There are more important things. Civilization was changed forever by Christ. Whether you believe it or not, his death will affect you!” Well, Gibson is right. The death of Jesus Christ will affect you– I just pray you’ll allow it to bring Victory!
H. Judgment? I wonder if in this movie, God isn’t making a pretty dramatic effort to reach out to the lost before a final judgment. When the world became so wicked in Noah’s day that he said, “I am going to wipe it clean with a flood.” Before that judgment came, God sent a warning through the preaching of Noah and by the theatrical building of the ark. They couldn’t miss it. When Sodom and Gomorrah became so wicked that God said he was going to destroy it with fire and brimstone, he sent a dramatic warning via those angels who went and told them they were there to destroy the city. When Ninevah became so wicked that God said that it was a stench to my nostrils, I’m going to destroy it. He sent Jonah in a very dramatic way, having been in the belly of a great fish for three days. Jonah preached that if they didn’t repent they would be destroyed and they believed him and repented.
God has in the past found some pretty unique ways to warn and plead before judgment falls. And if America, who has been so blessed by God, continues to scoff at the Bible, degrade marriage, kill the unborn, exploit the poor, eat, drink and drug its way into mindlessness, eventually judgement will come because God is not mocked. But it seems to me that this may be a very dramatic way to warn us to bring us back to himself before it is too late.