Summary: Jesus suffered, died, and descended so that all may have the assurance of his saving grace even in the midst of our hells and hollow places. Based on Ron Lavin’s book “I Believe, Help My UnbeliefL Another Look at the Apostle’s Creed”
March 30, 2003
Purpose: Jesus suffered, died, and descended so that all may have the assurance of his saving grace even in the midst of our hells and hollow places. Based on Ron Lavin’s book “I Believe, Help My UnbeliefL Another Look at the Apostle’s Creed”
I. Jesus suffered…
The story of the French Bishop (see Lavin’s book)- story of a child who once denied the suffering of Christ only to become a French Bishop.
Isaiah 53:1-12 – “He was despised and rejected…a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering” (v.3) “He was oppressed and afflicted, like a lamb to the slaughter.” (v.7) “…he poured out his life unto death…he bore the sins of many” (v.12)
Creed – “he suffered under Pontious Pilate, was crucified died and buried, he descdended to
the dead (hell).”
- explain that the afterlife was vague to the Jews and the early church – “hell” or “to the dead” meant to those who had died.
- Peter’s recognition of this fact – I Peter 3:19 – “he went and preached to the spirits in prison.” and I Peter 4:6 – “for this reason (that judgment would come to the living and the dead) the gospel was preach even to those who are now dead.”
II. People are living in their own hells and hollow places today.
I think of the mothers, fathers, wives and husbands, who are compelled by 24/7 news coverage embedded journalists who show us their relatives engaging the enemy.
I think of the people in Iraq, whether for or against Hussein, who have dealt with the threat of war a nc violence longer than our country has even existed.
I think of many who are struggling with illnes and disease. Some who do so without any hope of getting any better.
I think of love ones left behind when loved ones die.
I think of single moms and single dads, trying to raise their children while working and providing in any way possible.
I think of workers being laid-off, being put on furlough, or being fired becaus eof our struggling economy.
I think of farmers who are trying to figure out whether they can afford to plant or not this year...or when the best time to sell the herd will come.
I think of parent’s who can’t afford medications.
I think of those forced to live in substandard housing
if even in a house at all.
I think of the eldery who have given up on the lives.
I think of those hungry overseas, who would be
thankful just to eat the crumbs that fall from
And the list could go on...
Because we realize that hells and hollow moments will always be with us...that true peace will not come to this earth until Jesus Christ comes again.
III. We can help those suffering by reaching out today!
But we, as the children of God can offer a difference.
We can give people the option that Jesus had in the midst of his suffering when he told Pilate (John 19:7-12) – “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above…” (v.11)
Illustration - June Ailman-Yoder tells of a story where she began a sermon by saying, "This church needs to go to hell!" and then let it sit. She came back by explaining we need to go the hells that people find themselves in and bring them the hope of Jesus Christ.
As believers can follow Christ’s example and offer people hope in the midst of their darkness.
Wasn’t yhis was Jesus’ mission statement from the start…Luke 5:16-21…”preach good news to the
poor, proclaim freedom to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, release the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor…today this Scripture is fulfilled.”
The mission has not changed…
John Wesley made the statement, "I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religions without the power." "Let us do all the good we can, in all the ways we can, to all teh people we can, as long as ever we can."
Conclusion - What hells and hollow moments are you going through? What hells and hollow moments have been treated by your faith in the suffering and death of Jesus Christ? What have we done to share this saving message to others in their hells and hollow moments?
Jesus Christ "suffered under Pontious Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead" so that all may have the assurance of his saving grace, even in the midst of our hells and hollow moments.