Greg Laurie - What Angers and Saddens God
Greg Laurie: Now I want to tell you the story of easter. Do you know what easter is all about? It is about a rabbit that came to us. We call him the Easter Bunny. And the rabbit gives away eggs and little peeps for the kids to eat. And he is really fun to be with and he has whiskers and looks like this. And he is a rabbit. And here is hand. And he runs around. That is what easter is all about. Right?
Greg Laurie: It is not about the Easter Bunny.
Kids: It is about God.
Greg Laurie: It is about God. Wait a second. I know what easter is about. Easter is all about the easter duck and he said (quacking) right? No. Easter is not about a rabbit. Easter is not about a (quack) then what is easter about?
Greg Laurie: What do you mean God? Easter is about God. What do you mean?
Greg Laurie: Jesus. He had the right answer. Because he came to this earth for a reason. He came to this earth yes to give the best teachings that were ever given. Yes he came to give sight to people who couldn't see. And give the ability to hear to people who couldn't hear. But you know the main reason he came? Why Rylie.
Rylie: Because he died on the cross for us.
Greg Laurie: He came to die on a cross but before he went to that cross he came in on the back of a donkey and the people were so excited. Everyone was so happy. But you know what?
Stella: He died on the cross.
Greg Laurie: Yeah. But why Stella? Why?
Stella: Because he loves us.
Greg Laurie: Because he loves us. He died there. And you know what? A lot of people thought? Imagine if you were following Jesus and all of a sudden he just died. It would be so sad. Jesus isn't around anymore. We will never see him again. Can you imagine how sad that would be? But he came to die on a cross and do another thing. What was the other thing?
Stella: To rise again?
Greg Laurie: That happened early easter morning. He rose again from the dead. Then you know what Jesus did? He flew into the sky. He did. He flew into the sky. We call it the ascension. But he went back up to heaven. But you know what he said to all of his disciples? You guys go out and tell everybody about me. And do you want to know one more thing? One day Jesus who died, who rose again from the dead, and went up into the sky is going to...
Greg Laurie: Come back again. No. He is not going to explode. He is going to come back again to this earth. And he is going to come and put his kingdom on this earth.
Allie: He came back to life.
Greg Laurie: He is going to what?
Allie: He came back to life.
Greg Laurie: He did come back to life. This easter it is really important that we remember why Jesus came. OK. Say happy resurrection day. 1, 2, 3. Go!
Kids: Happy resurrection day.
Great to see all of you. Why don't we pray together. Father we are so glad that you sent Jesus Christ. Lord Jesus we are so thankful you came and died on the cross and absorbed the wrath of the Father in our place and then you rose again from the dead and you are here with us now because you have told us in scripture when two or more are gathered together in your name you are there in the midst. Lord you are here right now. And we celebrate today your resurrection. But there are some that well they are hearing this for the first time. May this be the day that they spiritually rise again. We commit this time of Bible study to you now. In Jesus' name. Amen.
I was telling that little Bible story. The story of easter to my grandchildren. And I was hoping they would have the right answer when I said Jesus died and he rose again from the dead. And then what is going to happen? My granddaughter Allie said he is going to explode. Well that is not quite the right answer. You know she is getting close. He is going to come back again. That is the right answer. But you have got to love kids and how they see things.
I heard a story about a teacher that was talking to her third graders about the death and resurrection of Jesus. And she told them that Jesus went into the tomb and he rose again three days later. She then asked her class what do you think his first words were when he came out of the tomb. One little girl was waving her hand back and forth. So the teacher called on her and said all right what were the first words of Jesus after he rose again. And the little girl said: ta-da! That is actually pretty close.
I have good news for you today. When Jesus died on the cross he conquered sin. But when he rose again from the dead he defeated death. Now that is good news. But that is a subject many people are uncomfortable with. You know sometimes people will say you know you Christians live in a dreamworld. You have head buried in the sand. Give me a break. Believers live in the real world. We will talk openly and honestly about death. We see the bigger picture. It is nonbelievers who hate this subject. They don't want to think about their own mortality. They don't want to think about their life coming to an end. They don't even want to use the D word. Instead they will say things like well you know they are deceased or they expired. Or we will refer to someone who has died as the dearly departed. Or maybe they will even make light of it and say you know they cashed in their chips. Or they bit the dust. Or they kicked the bucket. We have got to deal with the subject. Because only those who are prepared to die are really ready to live.
Death died when Christ rose. Easter is the death of death. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me though he were dead yet shall he live. Whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die". Now you might be sitting there thinking you know Greg. What? Are you crazy in your stupid suit standing there telling us that we are not going to die? People die all of the time. Don't you watch the news don't you live in the real world? Oh yeah. I live in the real world. I have had to face this head on. Last Wednesday would have been the 40th birthday of my oldest son Christopher. We would have had a big party. We would have kidded him about how old he was getting. But we weren't able to have that birthday because seven years ago he died. And he is in heaven.
Thus it was a very sad day. But here is what I have to say to you on Easter Sunday of 2015: Death is not the end. Oh I know our bodies go into the ground. But listen. The soul lives on forever. And the body according to the Bible will be resurrected one day. Death is not the end of the road. It is just a bend in the road. And when Jesus died and rose he rendered death powerless.
I heard a pastor talking the other day about what happens when you are stung by a bee. You may think that when bees sting they can just go off and sting someone else and sting endlessly. Well that is not the truth. Actually the bee gets one shot at stinging. So they better make it count because once they have stung a person they are going to die. Because when a bee stings you it doesn't just leave the stinger in you. It leaves part of its abdomen and digestive tract plus muscles and nerves. This massive abdominal rupture kills the bee shortly before it stings.
So that is what happened when Jesus died on the cross. The devil said, "I am going to defeat him. I am going to stop him". Satan had one shot. He was behind orchestrating the events that led to the death of Christ on the cross. But his plan backfired. Satan flew off thinking he was successful so to speak. But the sting of death that he meant for Jesus defeated him at the cross of calvary. Isn't that great? 1 Corinthians 15 says, "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is your victory? O death where is your sting"? Where is the sting of death for the believer? It is ripped out. Jesus at the cross. Took the stinger out of death.
Now we come to our text here in John 21 where he makes an appearance to his disciples. And this is very important because we learn a little bit about what God has in store for us in the future in these verses. Let me read them to you. If you have a Bible read along with me. John 21:3. I am reading from the new living translation. "Simon Peter said, 'I'm going fishing.' 'we'll come, too,' they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night. At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn't see who he was. He called out, 'fellows, did you caught any fish?' 'no,' they replied. He said, 'throw out your net on the right side of the boat, and you'll get some!' But they did that and there were so many fish, they couldn't haul in the net. Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, 'it's the Lord!'
When Simon Peter heard it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore. When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them-fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread. Jesus said, 'bring some of the fish you've just caught.' So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. And Jesus said, 'now come and have some breakfast!' None of the disciples dared to ask him, 'who are are you?' They knew it was the Lord. Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish. This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples after he rose from the dead".
We will stop there. What an amazing sight this was. There standing before his followers was the living risen resurrected Jesus Christ in flesh and blood. Still having the wounds in his hands. By the way he prepared that meal for them with those wounded hands. He wasn't a ghost. He wasn't a phantom. He was a real man. He stood there calling to them from the shore. This is a reminder to us that because of the resurrection of Jesus I will one day receive a new body. Because Jesus rose in a real body in a real world in a real way with a real voice and commissioned his disciples to do real work until they in his own time would die and would be raised again in real bodies to be with him.
So let's think about the resurrection body of Jesus. What do we learn about it from these verses and others. Number one. He was recognizable. He had the scars still in his hands and his feet. Number two. He did not have the normal limitations he had previously. Now he could appear in a room without using the door. And as I said in the video he could fly, or as we would say ascend. Also he ate food. This addresses the oft asked question will we recognize one another in heaven. You know here is the answer. Do you think you will be more stupid in heaven than you are on earth? Did the disciples recognize Jesus after he rose? Yes. Did Jesus recognize the disciples? Absolutely. Will we recognize one another. No question about it. Because you will be you when you get to heaven. Not another person. Just a radically upgraded person of yourself you see. Isn't that good to know?
He came to pay a debt he did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay. But listen. For a person who has not put their faith in Christ yet you ought to be afraid of the judgment. Let me tell you why. Everything you have done. Everything you have said. It is all recorded. It is all duly noted. And you will have to face it one day. That is a pretty scary thought. But you might say I believe I am a good person and if I do enough good works I believe I will get to heaven. Really? Did you think that up all by yourself? Are you willing to bet your eternal destiny on that idea? Because that is not what the Bible says. No matter how good of a life you have tried to live you are not good enough to get to heaven.
I heard about a man who died and went to heaven. He was greeted at the pearly gates by Simon Peter. Peter said, "Look buddy this is how it works. You need 1,000 points to get into heaven". This is a true story. "Tell me all of the good things you have done and I will give you points for each thing". He said, "Ok. Great. I have been married to the same woman for 50 years," the man said, "And I have never cheated on her. Not even once. I didn't even cheat in my heart". Peter says, "That is good. We will give you two points for that". "What? Two points for that. How many points do I need again"? "You need 1,000". "Ok. Wait a second. I went to church every Sunday. I went to midweek studies. I tithed. I went to prayer meetings". "That is good for one point". "One point"? The guy is so exasperated he said, "At this rate the only way I am going to get into heaven is by the grace of God". Peter said, "That is worth 1,000 points. Come on in".
Now that is a silly illustration to make this simple point. The only way anyone will get into heaven is by the grace of God. The Bible says, "It is by grace you have been saved by faith, not of works, lest any man should boast". Listen. I won't dispute the fact that you may be a relatively good person. But you are not good enough to get to heaven because the only way you can get to heaven is by being perfect and you are not perfect. Nor am I. Because we have all fallen short. Heaven is not for good people. Heaven is for forgiven people.
Now let me turn that around and let me say you are not so bad that God would not forgive you of your sin. We talked about the thief on the cross crucified next to Jesus. That word that is used there for thief isn't really an accurate word. He was guilty of a far greater crime than mere theft. The man was probably a murderer. Maybe even a terrorist against Rome. Yet he turns to Jesus and says, "Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom". Jesus says, "Truly I say to you, you will be with Me on the other side. You will be with me in paradise. You will be with me today in paradise". See he pardoned that man and he will forgive you of your sin no matter how bad it is. It may be really bad. But you can be forgiven if you come to him.
You don't want to face judgment and Jesus faced judgment for you. So you say, "OK what do I need to do if I want to be sure that I will go to heaven? What do I need to do so I can be certain I will be ready for the Lord's return"? Listen. Number one. You have to admit you are a sinner. The Bible says, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God". Now granted some sin more than others. But one sin is enough to keep you out of heaven. Because we have fallen short of God's standards which as I mentioned is perfection. We have crossed that line again and again. Admit you are a sinner.
Number two. Realize that Christ died on the cross for you. Do you think that Jesus would have been beaten and scourged and crucified if you could get to heaven by living a good life. Why did he die then? No. He died because there was no other way to satisfy the righteous demands of God. So he died there in your place. And he did it because he loves you. The Bible says, "God demonstrated his love toward us that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us". Jesus said, "For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten Son and whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life".
Then you must repent of your sin. The word repent means not to just be sorry for it but to stop doing it. You can be sorry all day long. Especially when you get caught doing something wrong. Repentance is not just sorrow. It is sorrow plus action. The Bible says, "godly sorrow produces repentance". It means to change your direction. Stop doing that thing that you were doing. You need to repent. The Bible says, "God has commanded people everywhere to repent". Then you must receive Jesus Christ into your life. See this is the bottom line really. Being a Christian isn't just believing that a guy named Jesus lived and died 2000 years ago. It is not even believing that he died and rose again. No. It is believing he is your Lord and Savior and inviting him into your life. Have you done that?