It was huge. It was an event of epic, cosmic proportions. It’s impossible to overstate the magnitude of this moment in history. And here’s why…
Before the event humans and God did relate to one another. But that relationship was, at best, limited, conditional and mostly distant.
Before the incident humans only had religion to try to get right with God. Men and women tried real hard…tried to obey, tried to be good, tried to be religious but sadly it never worked. And it still doesn’t. When it comes to relating to God, religion is a waste of time. So, humanity remained separated from God.
But the cosmic event changed everything and opened up the outrageous possibility that men and women and boys and girls could enjoy a deep, meaningful fellowship with God…be united with him forever, actually share his nature, and his mind.
· When it happened a door opened for us to think like God, act like God, love like God and just be like God…for the rest of this life and eternity.
· I’m not gonna lie - this epic event was bloody, it was violent, it was unfair, it was unthinkable…and it was real…and it changed human history forever…and it is your only hope.
This cosmic event…It was the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. Let’s take am inside look at it:
1 John 1
2 weeks ago I suggested that we are in the middle of a human crisis . We are in a full-on epidemic of spiritual lostness. The world is dying much, much faster than we are making disciples.
The answer is to this crisis is profoundly simple yet stupendously difficult. To solve this epidemic of spiritual lostness we must practice Evangelism - the art of persuading people to surrender their lives to Jesus.
What makes it so difficult is that we have a credibility problem - as illustrated in this diagram:
Lower third full two gap illustration.
· Humans are separated from God due to their sin (more in a minute on that)
· But we cannot get people to the point of accepting that because we have this huge credibility Gap.
o Truth is not credible nor is the Bible, the church, and Christians.
· The Sin gap is the reason WHY we have to do evangelism
· The Credibility Gap is what’s keeping us from being successful at it.
Last week we began to look at ways to shrink the credibility gap and increase our abilities in evangelism….get better at persuading people to surrender their lives to Jesus.
· I suggested that first off we have to know what we are shooting for…what is our end game?…what does the person look like that has crossed over, so to speak, the sin gap, and entered into relationship with God.
Here’s what we learned last week from Vs. 3
We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
· What we learned is that the person who crosses the divide (draw the sin gap on the blackboard) is a person who enters into fellowship with God.
· To be in fellowship with God is to share a common life with Him.
o To share a common life with God is to have an utterly unparalleled life!
o To share a common life with God is to have a supernatural life!
o To share a common life with God is to become superhuman!
…For this life and into eternity.
THAT’s a child of God, THAT’s a believer, THAT is our end game.
Now, let’s pick it back up from verse 5 and go a little further…
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. 1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
3 inescapable truths…
Truth #1 - True children of God are those who have come into fellowship with Him.
Truth #2 – Human beings are incapable of achieving that fellowship by their own merit.
· Another way to say that: Human beings cannot avoid sin and cannot compensate for their own sin and as a result are unable to bridge this gap on their own.
A reasonable question at this point might be: Why is there a gap in the first place? Why doesn’t God just say… it’s cool, everybody come here…big group hug!
· Well, Note Vs. 5 – God is light and in him there is no darkness at all
o the problem is God’s character - Best one word = “holy”
§ …who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. 1 Timothy 6:16
o The best illustration: Moses and the burning bush… “Do not come any closer”, God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." Exodus 3:5
God cannot, by his very nature, be in the same room with anything that remotely hints of sin…and that, of course, is a problem for us…sinners.
Just how bad is it? John goes to great lengths to describe how sinful we are…
· Note there are 4 words implying sin in this passage
o Vs. 6 – we walk in darkness (shadiness…implies hiding and avoiding detection )
o 3X – lying (we are compulsive liars)
o Vs. 9 - unrighteousness (inner corruption or perversion of character)
o sin (9 times in 6 verses) – to miss the mark or fall short of the goal. THUS the sin gap.
I’m guessing that you might think that overstates the problem – Yeah some people are nasty sinners but aren’t most people basically good? People like your grandma or….that wonderful neighbor…or you…? Right?
Well, watch this… (from Bill Hybels)…
· Who’s the best person who has ever lived? Mother Theresa. Yet her private diary painted a different picture of a woman who struggled with her own doubts, anxiety and sin.
o So, Mother Theresa could not cross this gap on her own merits.
o Here’s how far she would get.
· Now, how far would you get? (I might get this far)
· Here’s the worst news…you cannot fix it. And God does not grade on the curve. It’s perfect or nothing.
So…these first two truths are frustrating and maddening:
The best life possible for human beings is in fellowship with God and yet it is totally impossible by our own efforts.
· And that is so un-American…to say we can’t do something. We Americans believe in ourselves to the point of hubris. We believe we can do anything. We can control our own destiny. We are ingenious. We are amazing. We are American.
And yet we are in deep deep trouble…We are “…without hope and without God in the world…” Ephesians 2:12 We cannot cross the great divide on our own.
Which leads to the 3rd inescapable truth:
Truth #3 – God took matters into his own hands and made a way for humans to be in fellowship with him.
2:1-2 - My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:1-2
God had a problem based on his character…
o he is absolutely holy and unapproachable
o and at the same time he is furiously loving
o he needed to find a way once and for all to deal with this and us…
· So he created operation hilas‘mos – Vs. 2 - it is translated by two words: the atoning sacrifice”
o Word that is hotly debated…unnecessarily so.
§ It simply means that someone paid a price on behalf of someone else.
· Specifically Jesus paid the price for our sins by his crucifixion.
o To some people that concept is ridiculous – to some repugnant – to some senseless.
o Why doesn’t God just forgive us? After all, we’re supposed to do that to one another!
§ Yeah that would make sense if God were not perfectly holy. Yes, he’s furiously loving but he’s also unapproachable.
§ So, some flawless person had to be given up for all the rest of us flawed folks…and that was flawless Jesus.
o Well, why did it have to be so bloody?
§ Blood had to be spilled to make it clear that someone had died. The ancient world, believed that life was in the blood. It had to flow to prove Jesus was indeed dead. Couldn’t just be symbolic.
§ And his death had to be costly – the spilling of blood to an agrarian culture made it so
And so, IT happened…the cosmic event that shook the world…the moment in time that spanned the sin gap. (put a cross on the board)
The death of Jesus of Nazareth is either the most stupid, sensless waste and misunderstanding the world has ever seen, or it is the fulcrum around which world history turns. NT Wright, Simply Christian
The voices that echo in a million human hearts, crying for justice, longing for spirituality, eager for relationship, yearning for beauty, drew themselves together into a final scream of desolation. NT Wright, Simply Christian
Jesus became the atoning sacrifice for you and the whole world….
Knowing we were incapable, God took matters in his own hands and provided a way for all human beings to find fellowship with Him.
Soooo, how then does a human being receive this remarkable gift? What are the steps to appropriating or applying the great plan of God for us?
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness
1st – you gotta “walk in the light” (Vs. 7)
· Shine a floodlight into your heart…Stop playing games…stop with the self-deception
· See who you really are and where you stand with God. You are a sinner and incapable of fixing this problem.
2nd – confess – Vs. 9 … come clean with God
By and act of your mind, heart and will surrender your life into the hands of Jesus.
Ø I’m going to give you the opportunity to do that right now.
As we move into communion I have a challenge for you…who do you know that does not nor cannot take the Lord’s supper because they are still not in fellowship with God.
Ø use this time to pray about them.