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James Merritt - Nailed

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    James Merritt - Nailed
TOPICS: The Guardian Of The Galaxy, Crucifixion

The greatest turning point in my personal life took place as a nine year old boy in a movie theater. And I can remember the exact moment. It revolved around a nail, something like this, about six inches long. It was a spike. And it was being driven into the hand of a man named Jesus by a Roman soldier. And I was watching this movie about the life of Christ, and I realized not just who's being nailed to the cross, but what was being nailed to the cross. And today, when you learn what was being nailed to that cross, then you will understand why Jesus was nailed to that cross. Because once you realize what got nailed that day 2000 years ago, you realize why that nail has everything to do with you and with me today, with your life, with your death and with your eternity. Your life will never be the same.

There was a letter that a man named Paul wrote to a church in a place called Colossi to a group of believers he had never even met. And in chapter two, we are going to see exactly today why Jesus was nailed to the cross, because this is a thought you've never had I bet you. When we think about the crucifixion, we think about the body of Jesus being nailed to the cross. But on that day, there was more than just the body of Jesus that was being nailed to the cross. It was everything that needed to be nailed.

If you and I are ever going to have a relationship with a God who made us, who loves us, and who wants to spend eternity with us. In fact, what was nailed to that cross that day took care of the world's biggest problem. Cause I know today the world would tell you well, our biggest problem's the virus, that's not our biggest problem. Jesus took care of our biggest problem at the cross. And let me tell you what happened that day. First of all, my sinful disobedience has been nailed to the cross. You see Paul describes the cross, not from the physical viewpoint, but from a theological viewpoint. And what he's telling us is, let me tell you what happened, not who died, but what happened when he died. What happened when Jesus was nailed to the cross.

So in Colossians chapter two in verse 13, he says this, And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses. Now there's a significant word in that verse and I want you to listen to it. It is that word forgiven. It's a word we take for granted, but don't take it for granted. You know why? That word forgiven contains the only antidote to the virus of sin that is coursing through the veins of the human race. It literally means to take away. You see, the only barrier that separates the human race from God is sin. And only forgiveness can break that barrier, but here's the problem, sin has to be paid for. God demands that sin gets paid for, justice demands that no sin can go unpunished. But then that raises a big question.

Wait a minute, how can a holy perfect God forgive an unholy unperfect person and still be a holy, perfect God? Because God can't just sweep it under the rug. God can't just say, let bygones be bygones. There is no get out of jail free card. So the question is, well, how does forgiveness work? How does God take away our sin? Well, Paul tells us. He has taken it away. How? Nailing it to the cross. You see, he went to the cross that day Jesus did with his body, but he also went with our sin.

Now here's what happened. It was the hammer of our sin that nailed Jesus to the cross. But at the same time, it was the hammer of his forgiveness that nailed our sin to the cross. Because remember, boys and girls who are listening right now, Jesus was a carpenter. He grew up as a carpenter. He was very familiar with hammer and nails, and he was very familiar with how to put things together and how to build things and how to take things apart. Well, our sins were nailing him to the cross, but at the same time, his forgiveness was nailing our sins to the cross. Do you remember what sin is? Sin is always first and foremost breaking God's law.

Now a crime that's breaking human law, but a sin, that's breaking God's law. And there's something true about all of us. Every person who's ever been born, ever been alive. We have all broken God's law. And here's what Paul is telling us. Jesus did not die because he broke the law. Jesus died because we broke the law. And because of his perfect obedience to God and the law, he could nail our disobedience to God and the law. And here's what I love. He said, he forgave us all our sins. You know what that means? That means he forgave every dot of every sinful eye, and every cross of every sinful T They all can be forgiven today for one reason, because this nail went into his hand, and while he was being nailed to the cross, our sins were being nailed to the cross. It was our sin that nailed him to the cross, but our sin has been nailed by him to the cross.

So the first thing has been true is this, my sinful disobedience has been nailed to the cross. But he's not done. My shameful debt has been nailed to the cross, not just my sinful disobedience, but my shameful debt has been nailed to the cross. I love what Paul is doing. He's going the extra mile to make sure we understand that there was a transaction that took place at the cross. And he wants us to understand just how valuable those nails were that went through his hands and went through his feet. And the reason why every person on planet earth that ever has lived can live or will live, could be, can be and will be forgiven of all our sins. And it's found in the next statement, listen to this, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us, he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.

Now I know that's a long verse and I know there's a lot there to uncover. So just hang with me. The word there for legal indebtedness. It's a very interesting word. It's only used here in the entire New Testament. And what we would call it today. What he calls a charge of legal indebtedness. We would call an I owe you. You know what an I owe you is? That's what he's talking about. It was a record of debt. And back in the day it was used in two ways. If you borrowed some money from someone, you would write out a certificate of legal indebtedness, a certificate of debt. You'd write it out in your own handwriting. You would sign it. Then you would give it to the man that you're borrowing money from, or the woman you're borrowing money from. It would be kept in their possession or that person who loaned you the money. And you wouldn't get it back until you paid it back.

But it was also used as an indictment of a crime that you had committed. And if you were found guilty, if you were in prison for that crime, that certificate of debt for your crime would be written out, it would tell what you did. It would tell how long you had to stay in jail or whatever price you had to pay. And they would keep that on record until you paid your debt to society. And at that point, you could go free. And they gave you that certificate to certify your debt had been paid. That is exactly what Paul is talking about when he says, this record of debt is something that stood against us. Now you may be say, what do you mean? What stood against me? Paul is actually taking us all the way back to Adam and Eve. And beginning with Adam and Eve he says, you know what happened? ever since Adam and Eve, we have all broken God's law.

Now, remember every sin has to be paid for. So here's what was going on. There was this massive sin debt that had been accumulating for thousands of thousands of years. And the human race was running this massive spiritual deficit of sin against God. You think we got a big deficit in America? It can't compare to this massive sin debt that human beings had been accumulating for thousands and thousands of years. So let me give you an example. Think about a credit card. Now I don't advocate using credit cards unless you do want Teresa and I do Teresa and I use credit cards for almost everything. But from the time we got married, we've always had a good habit. We pay our credit cards off immediately.

You say, well, why do you use credit cards? Well, it makes life easy. You can go out to eat. You have the benefit of the meal. You don't have to pay for the meal immediately. That credit card is a promise that you will pay that card off. You'll pay that debt off sometime down the road. You're just not going to do it right now. Now you may say, well, what's all that got to do with us? Well, what's all that got to do with me? Well, this is where I want your kids, and parents, this will be a good thing to teach your kids today after this message is over. In the Old Testament, you've got all these animal sacrifices going on, right? I mean, they're killing animals all the time. Bulls and cows and lambs and goats.

And so many people read the Old Testament, particularly people who are not believers, they don't know much about the Bible. And they say, why is the Old Testament so bloody? Well, why is all this blood being spilled? Why are all these animals being sacrificed? Well, get this in your mind. This will help you. These animals were like spiritual credit cards. So a family would go in and they'd go to the temple and they would bring whatever animal they could. It would be a bull or it'd be a goat, or it'd be a cow. Maybe they only could sacrifice a bird or a pigeon or something like that if they were poor. But they would go to the temple, and they'd offer an animal as a sacrifice for their sin. So that animal would be sacrificed. And those sins that were committed were put on the credit card.

So think about the animals are credit card. Now they weren't paid off. How do we know that? Because we know in the New Testament, the scripture teaches that the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin. Common sense tells us that the blood of an animal cannot take away our sin. But that credit card bill continued to grow. More sins were committed. More animals were sacrificed, more charges were rung up. And when, think about it, all these multiplied trillions of sins and transgressions and rebellions against God, the sin deficit was just enormous. Why? Because God was teaching through these animal sacrifices that only one payment will be accepted for sin. Only one. You know what that payment is? It's death. And it's not just the death of any sacrifice. It has to be a perfect sacrifice, because only a perfect God will accept a perfect sacrifice.

So that perfect sacrifice, where did it come? It came in Jesus, the Lamb of God. And you know what he did? He took all of that sin deficit that we had accumulated, the human race had accumulated, he took all of that credit card debt, that had been accumulated through all of those years for everyone who ever has lived, and everyone who ever will live. And he paid that debt. He canceled the record of debt, nailing it to the cross. That word canceling literally means to wipe off or to erase. Or this is the way it works. Whenever you incurred a certificate of debt of any kind, it was written on what we call today papyrus. Papyrus was kind of a paper light material made from the plant or the hide of an animal.

Well, the ink that was used to write on that paper, it didn't have any acid in it. It couldn't soak into the writing material. And so since the ink remained on the surface, you could just take a wet cloth, wipe it off. And that's exactly what happened when that nail went into his hand. God wiped our sin debt clean. I love to say this. You've heard me say it many times, you ought to memorize this. We owed a debt we could never pay. He paid a debt He didn't owe. Do you know what was nailed to the cross 2000 years ago? My sinful disobedience was nailed to the cross. Tell you something else, my shameful debt was nailed to the cross. I don't have a sin debt. It's been wiped clean through the cross of Jesus. But there's one last thing that was nailed to the cross that day. My spiritual destiny has been nailed to the cross. My spiritual destiny. My future has been nailed to the cross.

So what's been nailed to the cross? Let's repeat one more time. It says, he has forgiven us all our trespasses. So the human race, we owed a debt called sin. We couldn't pay. But now we're told that debt has been forgiven, it's been erased, it's been wiped off the books. Now here's the way it works. Watch this. If you were put in prison for a crime, there'd be a record of what you had done. There would be the debt you had to pay. There'd be the record of the punishment you had to incur. But now the time has come you've paid your debt. The time has been served. You've done what you needed to do, to pay for what you had done. Well, when the debt was paid and the time had been served, the judicial authorities they would write a word over that certificate. It was one word in the Greek, three words in English.

And here's what it meant. It meant paid in full. You would then walk out a free man. But there's one thing you always carry with you whenever you walked out the door for the rest of your life, you would carry that certificate in your possession. And if anybody knew who you were and knew you'd been in prison, you could show them that your debt had been paid off. Those charges could never be brought against you again. As a matter of fact, archeologists have discovered ancient receipts that have been canceled out with that word printed on it. Do you know one of the last words that Jesus used on the cross? Do you remember it? It was three. It is finished.

Can you guess what word he used? This word, a word that means paid in full. When Paul wrote this, now listen, think about this. When Paul wrote this 2000 years ago, he wasn't just talking to people then, he was talking to all people for all time. He was talking to us. He said to them in Colossi, he says to us today, all the sins you have ever committed. Watch this, yesterday, today and tomorrow, they've all been nailed to the cross. And you say, well, whoa, wait a minute. I want you to think about this. Paul said, all of our sins have been forgiven. They've been nailed to the cross. Here's my question. When Paul wrote those words, how many of your sins and how many of my sins were still out in the future? When Jesus died on the cross, how many of our sins were still out in the future? Well, you say all of them. You're right. We haven't even been born yet. Here's what God did on the cross. This is how great the cross is. God had already factored in all of those sins, in the death of Jesus Christ.

So in other words, Jesus died not only for all the sins of people in the past, he died for the sins of all the people in the present. He died for all of the sins of the people in the future. And since the only thing that could ever keep me away from God or out of heaven is sin. And since all of my sins, past, present and and future have already been forgiven, you know what that means? My spiritual destiny has been nailed to the cross. Listen, you're gonna die in one of two states, you are either going to die in spiritual debt. Or you are going to die in spiritual bankruptcy. Or you're going to die all paid up. So you're gonna die one of two ways, in spiritual debt, spiritual bankruptcy, or you're going to die all paid up. I have a little certificate here. Maybe you can see it. I'll hold it up. It says my debt paid in full.

I got a question. You have one of these? You know what that is? That's your ticket to eternal life. That's your ticket to a relationship with God. When I stand before God, yeah, I'm gonna be judged for my works and for my deeds, I'll be judged for the things that I've done to determine what reward that God they want to give me. But I won't be judged for my sins, because all of my sins, all of my debt has been paid in full. And I beg you to answer this question, honestly, do you have one of these?

Let me tell you something. You can't get it in church. Religion can't give it to you. You're good works, they'll never be enough to buy it, because it's not for sale. The only way you can get this for you, the only way you can have this certificate, the only way you're sin can be paid in full. Is if you accept what Jesus Christ did for you on the cross. And the best news you will ever hear in your life is this. You don't have to be nailed by your sins because Jesus has been nailed for your sins. I'm sorry he was nailed. I wanna make this plain. I'm sorry he was nailed, but I'm glad that he was. Because now neither one of us ever have to be nailed again.

Let me tell you a story. I love history. You'll love this if you like history, if you don't, it's still kind of fascinating. On May the Sixth 1869, a passenger train of the Central Pacific Railroad left Sacramento at six o'clock in the morning, it was carrying a nail. It was actually a golden nail. It was known as the gold spike. It was six inches long. It had a rough golden nugget attached to it's point. It weighed about 18 ounces. And back in the day, it was valued at $350. What made it so valuable was, it was the last spike that was going to be driven into what is now known as the Transcontinental Railroad. In fact, it's now on display at Stanford University. There's was a picture of it. We'll show a picture of it here. That's the golden spike that was nailed back in 1869. It's now at Stanford University.

Now what you're looking at is probably the most celebrated spike in history. Because when that spike was nailed into a railroad tie, every bell in Philadelphia was rung. Listen to this. More cannons were fired in celebration across the country, than were fired in the Battle of Gettysburg. Chicago put on the biggest parade of the 19th century. It was seven miles long. There were people celebrating all over America over this one spike. You say why? Because at that moment, an entire continent was joined together. And the Transcontinental Railroad along with the Telegraph made modern America as we know it today.

Things that could not have been imagined just before the civil war, all became true and common because of that one spike. A nationwide stock market was born. A continent wide economy came into existence. People, agricultural products, coal, minerals, and goods can now go anywhere in the country from one end to the other, cheaply and quickly. Where it used to take months and thousands of dollars to go from New York to San Francisco, you can now do it in seven days for pennies on the dollar. A truly united culture began to spread across our country. Why? Because mail and magazine and books could be read and studied and learned all the way from New York to California. Over that one single spike. But I want to tell you today, there's one nail that did infinitely more than that spike could ever do.

If you said to me, and I've thought about this many times, I could only have one artifact that's depicted in the Bible. It wouldn't be the rod that Moses used to part the Red Sea. It wouldn't be the slingshot that was used when David killed Goliath. If I could only have one artifact. I'd love to have that nail that was driven into that hand that day. Because the one thing that can keep you in me from God, was nailed by that one person that can bring us to God. And I don't know about you, but I'm so glad he was nailed for me. Would you pray with me right now? Would you right there in the quietness of wherever you are in your home, don't turn off the computer just yet. Don't leave just yet.

Can I just say a word to you? One of two things is true. Either your debt's been paid off or you still owe it. You can't pay it off by going to church, you can't pay it all by being baptized. You can't pay it off by being a good person. You can't pay it off no matter what you do. The only thing you can do is accept the payment that was made at the cross of Jesus Christ. And if you're watching me right now and you're listening to me wherever you might be, would you just be honest enough to look yourself in the mirror, look in your own heart and say, you know, I don't have one of these certificates. I can't say my sin debt's been paid off, but I know that it has because of Jesus. And I want to accept his payment today. So would you do it? Would you just simply pray a prayer like this with me right now? Would you just say:

Lord Jesus, I owe a debt I can't pay. But I'm so grateful you paid my debt that you didn't owe. I believe you died for my sins. I believe God raised you from the dead. I believe you are alive right now. And Lord in the midst of this tremendous crisis that we're in. I now realize whether there's a virus going around or not. My biggest need is you. My biggest need is to be forgiven. My biggest need is eternal life. And today, I trust you as my Lord. I receive you as my savior. I accept your nailing my sins to the cross. I thank you for paying off my debt. I repent and turn away from my sin. And I give my life to you.

Now look up here. If you made a decision for Christ, I want you to go to our website, I want you to let us know that you prayed to receive Christ is If you pray to receive Christ, would you just go to that website right now and just let us know it. It's all you gotta do. Let us know, give us an email address. Sorry, so we can follow. We wanna send you some materials that will help you in your walk with the Lord. You may have never been biblically baptized.

You say, when I get back to church, I'll want to be, let us know. If you've got a prayer request of any kind, go to that website right now and let us know so that we can pray for you. There is a world out there that needs Jesus, and we need to give them Jesus. And we need to give them hope. We're about to sing one last worship song before we leave. I want to thank you again for watching. I pray in the name of Jesus It would be a great week for you. Remember, Jesus is still on the Throne. We may be helpless right now. We're not hopeless because of Him.
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