Summary: The message of Christianity is “good news” for sinners. God is tough on sin, but He is merciful and loving in dealing with sinners
Good Friday - 2005
How many of you have heard of Marburg Fever?
• Marburg fever is a virus very similar to the Ebola virus
• There is presently an outbreak in Angola
• It is called Marburg fever after three researchers in the German city of Marburg were infected by imported green monkeys from the Congo
• The disease has laid dormant since 1967
• The virus is passed on by contact with bodily fluids and the symptoms include high fever, severe diarrhea, vomiting, and internal bleeding
• There is no vaccine or cure and the mortality rate is 90%
• So it’s a very scary proposition
As scary as this virus is, there is a virus that has infected the human race and the mortality rate for this virus is 100%
• What is this virus? Sin
• Sin is the virus that has infected the whole human race – there is no human cure for it and there is no vaccine
• Everyone will eventually die from this disease
• However there is Good News for the human race, but that Good News is tempered by bad news, because what is good for us means bad news for someone else
How many of you have seen the movie, “The Passion of the Christ”?
• In the movie we see a very graphic depiction of the gruesome death Jesus Christ suffered
• This is the Bad News part of the story
• But it is also the most unbelievable part of the whole story. Jesus did not need to die, he was not guilty of any crime. He was innocent
• He didn’t go to that cross because of something He had done. He went to that cross for something we have done
So what is it that we have done that caused the death of Jesus?
• We have sinned!
Need to take a time out! While we answer the question, what exactly is a sin?
• This is what the Bible tells us - 1 John 3:4 (NCV) 4 The person who sins breaks God’s law. Yes, sin is living against God’s law.
• Usually when someone breaks the law, someone gets hurt
• Right now in Iraq we see the results of “lawlessness” people are getting hurt all over the place as a result of people’s disregard for the law – no regard for people’s lives, no regard for people’s property, it’s anarchy over there
• Laws are usually put in place to govern our behavior – not nice to go around thumping people or stealing their new plasma TV set
• God too has laws. His laws are put in place to govern our behavior and inform us how we are to love Him and love our fellowman
Now we are going to see how honest you are! Anyone here who has not broken a law in some way…..got a speeding ticket, yelled at your husband/wife/brother/sister; told a little white lie? Come on, be honest now
• So if we have committed at least one sin we have all broken the law, we are criminals, or in Biblical terminology “sinners”. Sinners are simply criminals – guilty of breaking God’s Law
• So now we know what a sin is? It’s a crime against God’s law
• Just to show you that we are in good company or perhaps “bad” company notice what the Bible tells us
• Romans 3:23 (NLT) For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
• I hate to break the news to you this way, but in God’s eyes we are all criminals
• Fortunately for us that’s not the end of the story
End of time out - Back to our story because the Bad news is followed by Good News
• Now it wasn’t supposed to be this way. God did not intend for us to end up a bunch of criminals
• That was our choice and a story for another time. We have all heard of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden
• Things were going along fine between God and Adam and Eve until they disobeyed God, ate that apple and became criminals
• But this was not God’s original intention. His original intention for mankind was for us to be in a close personal relationship with Him
• By sinning we basically told God to butt out of our lives so He has honored that choice and let us continue to live as we determine
• And we have to admit we haven’t done too good a job at it – just read the daily newspapers
However, even though we are criminals or sinners, God does not love us any less anymore than we stop loving our kids when they do something wrong. He still wants a close personal relationship with every human being