By Michael J. Breznau (audio sermon player below)
Here I was again, cold, alone, and in the dark; trying to get away from the sound by plugging my ears from the banging of metal hitting human flesh. Even though I could not see anything from where I sat huddled underneath the kitchen table, I tightly closed my eyes with the echo of every pounding blow. Why would they be doing this? I thought. Why would these people be so evil as to do something so terrible and gruesome to an innocent man? Oh please stop, please stop!
In utter desperation to run far away from this terror I scurried out from underneath the dining table, but before I could leave the room something made me pause in my little tracks. Maybe it was simply my five year old curiosity that made me look, but quite possibly it was something more significant, for there He was nailed to a cross made out of old, splintered wood. He had been whipped, torn, beaten and even spit upon! I saw that He was wearing a crown, but even the crown was made out of thorns that had pierced His forehead and now blood freely ran down His face. As my eyes welled up with tears and stark fear, I hopped into the comfort of my mother’s lap. And, this time I did not once again jump under the table, but instead fixed my young eyes on the whole scene that was being depicted for us on our little television set.
In the Midst of Despair
As I continued to watch with a sense of despair, I could not help but ask my mother why they were doing something so awful. She then explained to me that Jesus went through all this torture, shame, and ultimately death to save me and rest of the world from sin. As young as I was, I still knew that I had done many bad things, in fact the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I probably sinned everyday.
The Bible says in Romans 3:23 that “we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And in Isaiah 53:6 it says, “all of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us turned to his own way.” In hearing this verse, it is quite clear to all of us that we simply cannot measure up to God’s holiness, or in other words, perfect-ness. We all miss the mark. So, I knew that I was a sinner but what was I supposed to do? If I tried to be really good, and not sin very much would that let me into Heaven?
As the movie on the crucifixion of Jesus came to a close, a man began to explain from the Bible that no matter if we have sinned just a couple of times, or if we did many evil and wicked things; we were all sinners in God’s eyes. In Romans 6:23a it says, “For the wages of sin is death…” So, according to God’s Word the only thing you and I deserve is death!
Words of Safety, Words of Hope
But, then when all hope seemed lost for this little brown eyed five-year-old, I heard the words of grace and hope. “But God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8) I found that salvation from the wrath and fury of hell is not obtained by doing good works, religious deeds, or any other thing except simply trusting in Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. The Bible says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph 2:8-9) Salvation is a completely free gift directly from the hand of God!
The good news does not end at the point of Christ’s death on the cross of Calvary. For Christ rose again after three days of being in the grave and now sits at the right hand of God (Eph 1:20).
That day in early April, I found peace, power and eternal life through trusting in Jesus Christ. He came into my life and has made me a brand new person who is no longer is under the power of sin, but now empowered through the grace of God….
But What About Now?
For most us, we have experienced the “new birth” (if you haven’t, I invite you to trust in Christ today!), yet so often you and I fail to tell others about this Good News of Jesus Christ… We value our schedules, timetables, profit margins, and perhaps even sermon outlines more than the state of souls all around us! Just as I was so excited to tell others about Hudson the very moment he was born into the world, so you and I should joyously and unashamedly tell others about the New Life found in Jesus Christ alone!
Yet you and I (I’m in this boat too) fail in the mission, over and over and over again. We place other priorities over the priority of the one Great Commission we have all been given – the commission to GO!
So… If we have experienced this New Life, the new birth in Jesus Christ, then why don’t we GO? Should we go? If so, What’s the hold-up?
Christ’s Mission becomes Our Mission
In Acts 1:1-11 prior to Christ’s ascension, the state of the early followers, including the disciples, was much like that in which we find ourselves. Christ had risen from the grave, but they were still uncertain what their mission was to be. It was as if the battle plans had not yet been revealed to the soldiers. They thought, at that time, perhaps Christ was going to establish His earthly reign as the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant. Yet their surmising turned out to be off-base and when Christ ascended they stood frozen, gazing into the sky. It was as if they had missed the Commission altogether! But they had not, and tonight, neither are we… We are going to look at why we don’t go and what God’s mission is for us, His Church…
Please turn with me to Acts 1:1-11 to dig into this message about Christ’s mission… We were not commissioned to gaze into the sky, but to go as Christ’s witnesses into every corner of the earth.
Listen to the full audio message entitled “It’s Time to Go” (Acts 1:1-11) by simply clicking on the play button below or by subscribing to our iTunes podcast. This message was originally delivered at Evangel Baptist Church on Sunday evening, June 18th, 2011, during the kick-off service for our local teen mission program called Neighborhood Gospel Outreach.