Summary: This Easter message encourages 'new life' for those who are simply ready to 'give up the ghost!'

I. Jesus Reached the Finish Line – Text: John 17:1-5

A. Jesus had, once and for all, completed His work – vs. 4, “I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.”

B. Jesus had just spoken, in John 4:34, that it was His “food” (or KJV says “meat”) was to do the will of the One who sent Him, and to finish the work.

C. If we were to skip over to John 19:28-30 we would find Jesus’ desire coming to fruition. Listen to these words of John:

“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst!’ Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”

1. There is something quite significant here about them putting the sour wine (or as the KJV calls it “vinegar”), on the hyssop branch.

2. First of all, according the recount of the Levitical Law, given in Hebrews 9:19, when Moses had read every law and precept within the book of law, he, then, as ordered of God, took the blood of calves and goats, along with water, on a scarlet wool and a hyssop branch, to sprinkle the book and all the people who heard the law. This was to secure the covenant of God’s law to man. As Moses sprinkled the blood from the hyssop, he declared, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you. ”

3. This is where we find it to continue to say, that he sprinkled everything with the blood from the hyssop because without the shedding of blood, there is no remission (cleansing) of sins!

4. We also find the hyssop being used in the Old Testament when Moses was commanded to dip a hyssop branch into blood to apply to the doorposts of the children of God. Thus, preventing the spirit of death from entering therein. This is known as the “Passover.” In the NT, Jesus became the Passover Lamb!

5. Once He fulfilled the will of God, the Father, by becoming the Passover Lamb, He could say with reassurance, “It is finished!”

6. For, He had certainly finished what He started!

a. Let’s look for a moment at the Passover. Many of us are always looking for power! Power! Power! Power! That’s all we Pentecostals think about! However, on this, the week prior to the crucifixction and resurrection of our Lord, let’s not look too much at power. The reason? Because, Pentecost always comes after the Passover!

b. Folks, you cannot have power, without Pentecost. And you will never have Pentecost without first experiencing the Passover!

c. You must experience Jesus before you can experience His Spirit!

d. In a few weeks we will be celebrating Pentecost Sunday. Let’s remember what “Pentecost” requires! Remember, “pente” means “high.” It’s no coincidence that the 120 met in an upper room in order to experience what we know today as the Pentecost. “Pente” means high. Such as “penthouse” which is the highest room in the building. And we all know what “cost” means!? So, to receive the power requires a “high cost.” Notice, when Acts speaks of the upper room experience, it actually says, “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come… ” Which implies the Passover was over, the festival of Pentecost was over…then the power came!

e. Therefore, you could not have enjoyed the power resulting from Pentecost, had it not been that Jesus had finished the work of the Lord.

D. Jesus reached His finish line. But, prior to that….

II. God, Himself, Reached a Finish Line (Of Sorts)

A. Genesis 2:1-3 “Thus the heavens and the earth and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work, which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all the work, which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”

B. Notice, it said, “God rested from His work that He had finished.” There are two things I want you to observe from this simple verse. They are:

1. He rested. God doesn’t rest, does He? The Psalmist says that He never sleeps or never slumbers - is there a difference? Yes! Resting is just that – resting. Slumbering is sleeping, from drowsiness. Romans 11:8 implies that “slumber” is an evil spirit. This wouldn’t be the same as God resting; the two cannot coexist.

2. Also, He doesn’t need rest like you and I. But, He made us, and He made us to need rest! Therefore, He gave us this example to say, with volume, that He expects us to rest!

C. But, why “resting?” Because He had finished His work!

D. Jesus had finished His work at the cross, God had finished His work since the beginning of time, what about us?

Let’s look at one more example: Paul

III. Paul Reached a Finish Line – II Timothy 4:6-8

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me, on that Day and not to me only but to also to all who have loved His appearing.”

A. Notice, Paul says this at the end of his life.

B. Paul never “arrived!”

C. Paul never retired.

D. Paul never gave up and quit.

E. Paul never got comfortable just “maintaining.”

F. Therefore, Paul could say, without reservation, that he had “finished” just what God had started with him back on the road to Damascus!

IV. Where Does That Put Us!? Here, right now, today?

A. If God rested and gave us the mandate to do so, does that mean we simply “kick back” in our “E-Z-Boy spiritual recliners” and relax in the will and presence of God!? Heaven forbid.

B. Since Jesus and Paul, both, recognized that they had completed their task, therefore they could say “It is finished,” does this apply to us as well?

C. Simply, the answer to both questions is a resounding NO!

D. Notice, God rested from His work…He was done!

E. Notice, Jesus and Paul, both, stated that ‘it was finish’ just moments before their deaths!

F. Also, notice, that Jesus left us this command (recorded only by Luke ): “…occupy till I come.” The NKJV puts it like this: “Do business till I come.”

G. Therefore, since God only insists on our resting, not quitting or sleeping, and Jesus and Paul only quit working because of death, and we are not dead or near death, and because Jesus commanded us to “occupy” until He comes, and since He’s not here yet, doesn’t that mean that we should be doing something!?

H. What is it that we should be doing? How about the will of the Father. After all, that was the “meat” of Jesus! That was Paul’s claim to fame, doing the will of the Master!

I. So, when we say, “It is finished,” we say it is finished for Jesus and for Paul, but not for you and I! It won’t be finished as long as we are here on this earth! The mandate is still there! The command of reaching the lost at any cost! That command is still as relevant and needed today as it has always been! Yet, we have lost hope, we have lost sight of the vision, we have allowed spiritual laziness to rock us to sleep to the extent that we can no longer “smell” the spiritual decay of those dying on our doorsteps needing the same Jesus that we have!

J. Folks, sin is an epidemic and the only antidote is within our hand and yet, we sit back and watch people die and go to a hell that wasn’t created for them in the first place.

K. It’s time we stop saying “It is finished” and “It’s time to sleep” and we must “Arise and awaken from our slumber in order to see the corpses of lost and dying souls lying within the reaches of our own camps!” God help us!

L. We sit back in our comfort week after week, Sunday after Sunday, waiting for God to drop another revelation in our laps to help us make it through our poor, miserable, faithless weeks of life, while God is sitting on His throne waiting for a revolution from us!

a. A revolution is an “overthrow of a government or group of rulers. Or a “sudden or radical change in a system or state of affairs. ”

b. The dictionary goes on to say that a “revolutionary” is someone who is “marked by or effecting radical change.”

c. What kind of “change,” you might ask? Simply, a “sudden overthrow of the governmental affairs of Satan!”

d. One of Jesus’ last commands was to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them…and…teaching them. ”

M. Discipling, Baptizing, and Teaching! This is our mandate! But, I ask you…. are we doing it?

N. Are we simply maintaining with our usual way of doing “church”?

O. If so, may God forgive us as we repent!

P. As for you and I, it is NOT finished…resting is necessary, but, no one ever lies down to rest to never get back up…if they do, they will be diagnosed as DEAD! What is our diagnosis?