Deal or no deal. Luke 22:39-44 NKJV, KJV
Any resemblance of this sermon to any other is coincidental. Pleas feel free to use this sermon in whole or in part.
How many of you have ever watched the TV show “Deal or no Deal”. My son Will loves this show, he loves the anticipation and the suspense of opening the next case. Let me explain the game.
Basically there are 26 cases and you pick one for yourself. Each case holds an amount from .01 to 1,000,000. After selecting your case, you have to open other cases, trying to eliminate the lower numbers first.
After a given number of cases are opened, the banker will offer you money for your case (you don’t know what is in your case until the game has ended). Once the banker has made the offer, you are asked, deal or no deal?
If you take his offer then you push the big red button and say deal. If you say no deal you must flip the cover down over the big red button.
Then you have open more cases and your next offer from the banker could be more or less depending on the dollar amounts you reveal.
As I watched this game played, I noticed that average people off the street that probably don’t make over 20 or 30K per year were turning down a sure thing in the range of 75 to 150K gambling that the next offer would be higher.
Invariably greed takes over and they find themselves with as little as 10 bucks. What made them turn down the equivalent of 3 or 4 years wages only to leave with virtually nothing? The possibility of something they perceived might be better…
In reality this game show has been played over and over in God’s word, starting in the Garden of Eden. God had given Adam the sweetest deal that has ever been given to a man;
Free run of the Garden, a beautiful wife that had been custom made by God specifically for him, an all you can eat salad bar, peace and tranquility, no war, no famine, no poverty, no hate, and an intimate personal relationship with the creator of the universe.
Then what happened? Satan came along and started to stir things up. In Genesis 3 we find him tempting Eve with a new deal. One that he makes sound better than the one God had made for them.
He basically says to Eve that if she takes his deal she will be like God, that she could replace the one true God with the god of self, herself and for Adam, himself.
Eve pushed the deal button when she should have said “no deal”.
You don’t have to go very much farther in scripture to find the next installment of Deal or no Deal. God told Abraham that he would make a great nation of his descendants.
But Abraham was very old and his wife Sarah was also very old, so Sarah cooked up a deal that was going to help Abraham along. She offered him her servant Hagar for a concubine to have children with.
What did Abraham do, deal or no deal? He took the deal and as a result there have been wars between the descendents of Hagar and the descendents of Sarah ever since.
Abraham allowed himself to be talked into trying to accomplish something in the flesh that God had promised to do supernaturally. And even though his disbelief caused problems, ultimately his faith was accounted to him for righteousness.
If you look at the book of Daniel you will find three young men who we given the choice of bowing down to a golden image, an idol, or be cast info a furnace of fire.
They could have simply bowed down physically and not worshiped in their hearts, that probably would have allowed them to get along well with the King and not cause any problems, it would have been the politically correct thing to do.
But that was not their choice, when the King said bow or burn, they said No Deal. They said that God was able to deliver them from the furnace, but even if He chose not to, that would still be OK with them.
They had integrity to stand strong in what they believed and God honored and protected them for their obedience.
Skip on over to Jonah, lets take a look at his deal. Jonah was commanded by God to go and preach to Nineveh. Now since this was a commandment by God, you wouldn’t think that there was any wiggle room to make a new deal.
But Jonah made the mistake of believing that God’s commands are optional. So off he went in a ship in the opposite direction. God caused a great storm that was going to sink the ship.
The sailors tried everything they could to save the ship and Jonah, but when the final deal was given they had to choose against Jonah in favor of their ship and their own lives.
After being swallowed by the great fish that God had prepared for him, I believe that Jonah realized that he had made a bad deal by trying to run from the will of God.
Well, I could go on and on with the deals that have been made in God’s word, some good deals, some not so good, and some that were just outright bad.
The deal that I really want to talk about this morning is the greatest deal ever offered and the greatest price that was ever paid to secure that deal.
About 2000 year ago there was a man living in Israel by the name of Jesus. He was a teacher and a prophet, a priest and King; but more that that, He was the Lamb of God.
Like Adam, Jesus had a pretty sweet deal (only better, a lot better), He lived in Heaven and was co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He lived in the glory of the Father and the splendor of Heaven.
But mankind needed to be redeemed from the first bad deal that had been made in the Garden of Eden. Mankind had incurred a sin debt that he could not pay and as a result, all of Mankind was doomed to an eternity in hell.
Jesus choose to leave the paradise of heaven to come to live among us hear on this planet. God said “it will be difficult, they will reject you, but Jesus said “deal””.
So He came, not with grandeur but with humility and simplicity; born of a virgin in a stable to a people of little prestige or world power.
He lived a simple but sinless life and somewhere around the age of 30 he put down the carpenters tools of his adopted father and took on the ministry of His Heavenly Father.
I want us to pick up His ministry today when it was at its peak. For three and a half years Jesus had been preaching the about the coming Kingdom of God and performing miracles and signs for all the people to see.
We see him in Luke 19:36-38 experiencing the praise and worship of those who had come out to welcome him to Jerusalem. The religious leaders were indignant and told him to make his disciples be quite.
Jesus responded by saying that if they were to hold their peace, the very rocks would cry out!
Jesus proceeds to weep over Jerusalem and then uses a whip to clean house at the Temple. By chapter 22 we see the plot to kill Jesus and the alliance between Judas and the Sanhedrin being forged.
Jesus then institutes the Lords Supper, the very same ordinance that we observed today, and then breaks the bad news to his disciples of what is coming in the next 24 hours.
I think they were still high from the events of the day, I really don’t think they were listening to what he was telling them. I don’t believe they truly understood. One thing was certain; they were about to be tested.
We next find Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane making his final plea with the Father, his final request to change the deal. This was not a deal that was going to be easy or pleasant for Jesus.
The very stress of that moment caused him to sweat drops of blood. I have read that stress sufficient to create such a physical response in the body is such that it would kill most people.
The sinless Lamb of God was about to drink from the cup containing all the sins accumulated from all of humanity for all time, not just a taste, he was going to have to drink it all.
Did your mother ever give a liquid medicine that tasted really bad and you were dumb enough to take a taste before you actually took the medicine. It made having to take the rest even harder.
The difference here is that Jesus had never once tasted sin and now he was going to have to take on all the sins ever committed all at once. This wasn’t like bad medicine where you can pinch your nose and swallow and it is over with.
This was going to be the most traumatic event ever suffered by a human being, before or since. Jesus was being tempted to back out, of that you can be certain.
When Satan had tempted him in the wilderness, Jesus had used the power of scripture to fend him off, but now he had to rely on the strength of his sinless character and obedience to his Father.
Not my will, but thy will be done…
What would make God do something like this for mankind who only deserved death and destruction? What could cause Him to act with such grace and mercy?
In a word, Love…
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotton son, that whosoever believith in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Never forget God’s love and forgiveness, and never take His love for granted. God is love, but God is also just.
He cannot look upon sin, therefore He had to find a way to inpute (or assign) righteousness to us, and not just any righteousness but the very righteousness of His Son.
Because of what Jesus was willing to do, God the father has bestowed the righteousness of His son upon me and all it took on my part was belief and faith that he would do it.
What it took on His part is quite a different story. Jesus willing took my sins and yours upon his body on the cross. He willingly allowed himself to be literally crushed by the justice of God in my place.
And once he had drank full to the bitter dregs in the bottom of the sin cup, he cried out to his Father, but his father could no longer look upon him, because He is holy, he can not look upon sin.
When Jesus wept over Jerusalem, he already knew how the events of the next week were going to unfold. He wept for the people of Jerusalem.
Those same people who had shouted hosanna on Sunday were shouting crucify him on Friday. They had followed Jesus, but their relationship had been shallow.
Have you ever thought about the indignities that Jesus had to suffer because of your sin, my sin, the humiliation that he, a sinless man, had to suffer at the hands of sinful mankind.
But he did it, he died on the cross and he paid the price for our sins. When given the chance to make the reconciliation of mankind a reality, Jesus gladly said “deal.”
So now the deal comes to us. God is speaking to you this morning, but so is Satan. God is giving you the good news, that you can be saved, that your sins can be forgiven, that you can be alive again.
But Satan is still selling the same pop psychology that he sold Eve in the garden. He is still trying to get you to choose his deal, trying to get you to focus on yourself and this world rather than God.
Jesus made us a wonderful promise. He said, “seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things,” that is things of the world that you care to have, “would be added to you.”
Now don’t get the idea that I am preaching some name it and claim it gospel. What I am telling you is a promise that God made in His word. If you seek Him first and His righteousness, that you will have all the physical things that you desire.
The difference is that when you truly desire God and His righteousness first, the things of this world will loose their luster and the deal that the devil is offering wont look so tempting.
Why, because when we fully realize what God did for us and what He is offering us, there is nothing anyone or anything could ever offer me that would even begin to tempt me to make any other deal.
So, what’s it going to be for you this morning? God is the ultimate generous Banker, because the case we hold is full of ashes and yet He is still offering us the keys to the Kingdom.
We have absolutely nothing to bargain with and yet He still offers us eternity in heaven. All we have to do is surrender our case to him. Don’t let greed or the false hope of a better deal rob you of God’s best.
God is asking you this morning, deal or no deal? What will your answer be to him today? You have a choice to make and that choice will have everlasting consequences.
Don’t leave here empty handed today, don’t leave here with a life case filled with fools gold. Take your life, surrender it to God, let Him have it fully and completely and then watch what He can do with it.
Trust me on this, you will be amazed and blown away by his goodness and mercy and grace. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, I don’t know about you, but that is a family that I want to be a part of.
Let us pray…