Summary: Good Friday message that Christ did it all, not me!
NOT I BUT CHRIST
Good Friday... What does it mean to you? All over the world, many Christians are observing this day. In different parts of the world, this day is called... (SLIDE)
• Great Friday: Indonesia(Jumat Agung) – agung = majesty –king - great
• Holy Friday: France (Vendredi Saint), Portugal, Brazil (Sexta-Feira Santa)- holy-set apart
• Sad Friday: Arabic-speaking world – emotional tone
• Day of Christ’s Suffering: Chinese-speaking areas (基督受難日)
Yes, this day, for all who follow Jesus, is a great holy, sad and suffering day, all mixed together. It is great because we follow a majestic, yet humble and loving King. It is holy, for it is a day unlike any other. It is sad also, because it reminds us it is our sins, our fault, that nailed Him to the cross, that someone sinless had to bear our sins. As well, it is a day of Christ’s suffering as the Chinese would say. Mostly, Good Friday is all about Christ, not about me, just like our theme “Not I, But Christ”. Let’s read Galatians (Gal.2:20-21), our inspiration for today’s theme (SLIDE).
20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"
To appreciate what Paul wrote, we need to know what was going in the church in Galatia. He was writing this letter to them to address a specific situation. Would you come with me into Paul’s world? Imagine I am the balding Apostle Paul (SLIDE).
Imagine we are back in the days when he first wrote this text that we just read... Also, imagine that he is not in a good mood. And I tell you why. Typically his letters have a warm short greeting which is seen in Gal.1:1-5, and followed by a section where he gives thanks for the church he is writing to. However, in Galatians, there is no thanksgiving to God for this church. Instead, what follows is an uncharacteristic hostile tone. It is rather shocking to see this especially for the original readers. Come with me into Paul’s day, into this occasion when he penned this letter to the Galatians.
Ah, good morning. Let me have my first cup of coffee. You know, I am really concerned about the believers in Galatia. That church in Galatia is sure ticking me off. I had preached to them the Gospel. It is all about believing in the Lord Jesus who gave Himself for our sins and whom God the Father raised from the dead (Galatians 1:1-3). I was very clear that they need not add anything to achieve righteousness. That’s why it is Good News, it’s justification by faith alone, we do nothing at all to receive this grace. NOT I BUT CHRIST! That was my message. So I am just shocked, appalled, that they have so quickly moved away from the grace of Christ and gone to another teaching which is not good news at all (1:6-9). What are they trying to do? (Pound the pulpit). Are they trying to gain heaven by human effort (3:1-5)? Did not Habakkuk 2:4 say “the righteous will live by his faith?”
To teach another way to God is a sure-fire way to damnation, the short-cut to hell (1:8-9). It is a curse to preach another message and make it sound like it is the way of God. Am I now trying to be politically correct or am I telling the truth of God (1:10)? Is there really another way?
I see the cross (Brian Doerksen)
And it’s all I need to see
I see the cross
And it calls me to believe
I see the cross, lifted high for all to see, I see the cross, it’s the love the nations need
No other way to be reconciled
To receive complete forgiveness
No other choice could have set us free
Could have paid the price of justice
So I come as I am
To the place where mercy meets me
I see the cross I see the cross
You suffered and died
Poured out Your life
You showed us the way
To truly be great
Yet this just begins
The Father’s full plan
Now there is a way
To share in Your resurrection
To live forever
Through Your death and life
To share with Your resurrection
To live forever
There is no other way to rescue people from their sins. If righteousness can be gained any other way, would God offer up His own Son? To be healed of a disease, you’d go under the surgeon’s knife, right? It’d be painful but you’d go through it. Would you go through pain of surgery for the fun of it? If righteousness could be gained through our willpower, obedience or good behaviour, or through our cleverness in observing God’s perfect law, would Christ go to the cross? Did not our Lord Jesus plead with the Father 3 times according to Matthew 26 to not undergo the agony of the cross, but he yielded his will to the Father, saying, “Yet not as I will as you will.”