Robert Morris - The Seven Truths Of Easter
Hey, everyone. Welcome to Easter weekend, at Gateway Church. Every Easter, for 20 years now, I've been beginning the message with three words, "He is risen". And you answer back, "He is risen, indeed". So, I'd like to ask you to do that again, even if you're at home, or maybe in your car. I don't know where you're watching, but I'm gonna say, "He is risen". You say, "He is risen, indeed". All right? He is risen. You say, "He is risen, indeed". And it's true. The Lord is risen, indeed, and we celebrate His resurrection, this weekend. And so, this is what I'm gonna share with you today, the seven truths of Easter. So, I already preached the seven words of Christmas.
Now, I'm gonna talk to you about the seven truths of Easter. Because there are seven, I'm just gonna have to kinda get to the bottom line, on each one, but you're gonna love all of these truths, all right? So, here's the number one truth of Easter. Total forgiveness. Number one: total forgiveness. And this is the first thing Jesus said on the cross. Luke 23:34. "Then, Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.'" First truth from the cross. Total forgiveness. Complete forgiveness. Jesus totally forgives us. This is a prayer. Jesus is praying to his Father, asking His Father to forgive us. This is the message of the cross. Now, the word forgive, in the Greek, means, "To remove the guilt".
Now, let me just clarify that for a moment. Many times, when we think of guilt, we think of the feeling of guilt. And there is that connotation of, that Jesus can release us from the feeling of guilt. I agree. But, when he's talking about forgiveness, he's talking about literally releasing us from the guilt. In other words, when a person goes to trial, they're found innocent or guilty. He's talking about removing not the feeling of guilt only, but the action of guilt. In other words, what we have actually done wrong, he removes that. The Bible says he removes our sins, as far as the east is from the west. I wanna give you another word to help you remember forgiveness, and it's a biblical word, called, "Justified", and I wanna put that word up, so you can see it. Justified. And what I wanna do is break that into the three syllables, and just, just, I'm gonna just hyphenate the three syllables, so you can see 'em. Just-if-ied. This is the way you're gonna be able to remember the definition. Just-if-ied.
Now, here's the, as we look at this, here's what I want you to remember. This is what it means. Just if I'd never sinned. Just if I'd never sinned. Now, I was thinking about the, I had the word, "As", in there. Just as if I'd never sinned. I got to thinking, that's kinda complicated, and Pastor Thomas never told anybody. He's from West Virginia. I'm from East Texas. And he said, "I understood it". So, I got to thinking about, that's kind of the way our country background is. "Just if I'd never sinned". You know, we'd understand that phrase.
So, just remember, you don't have to remember that accent, just if I'd never sinned. That's what total forgiveness means. So, here's the second truth from the cross, from Easter. Immediate paradise. Now, these seven phrases, we started in Luke, and there are three in Luke. - There are three in John and then one of the phrases in Matthew and Mark. So we're still in Luke now, but then in a moment we'll go to Matthew, Mark, then we'll go to John, we'll end up with Luke. All right? So this is the second phrase, Luke 23:43, "And Jesus said to them, Assuredly, I say to you", this is when he's talking to the thief on the cross, "today you will be with Me in Paradise".
And let me tell you, when I wrote this message, at first I thought about the seven words of Easter, and I boiled all of these phrases, these statements that Jesus made on the cross down to one word, and so this word was Paradise. But as I read that verse, I could not get over the word, "Today", and I thought this is a truth. I don't need to say the seven words, but the seven truths, and I'm going to add a word to each of 'em to describe it. Like, forgiveness was the first word and I put total forgiveness. And this one I kept thinking about immediate Paradise. I mean, immediately, when we die, Pastor Jimmy says it this way, "When we close our eyes on this earth, we open our eyes in heaven". Jesus said to this thief on the cross, "Today". Today, this is a truth of the cross. Immediate Paradise.
Paul said it this way, 2 Corinthians five, verse six, "So we are always confident", in other words, we have this confidence, "knowing that while we are at home in the body", in other words here on this earth, "we are absent from the Lord". And then there's this verse many of us know, "For we walk by faith, not by sight", but that verse is right between these two verses, verse eight, "We are confident, yes, well pleased rather", watch, "to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord". To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. This is where the phrase came from, this verse right here, where the phrase: sudden death, sudden glory. In other words, as soon as we leave this earth, we're with Jesus in heaven.
This past week was the two year anniversary, April the 8th, of when I had the health crisis and did the helicopter ride and many of you prayed for me around the world and I'm so grateful I'm here to deliver this Easter message to you, but it's always a joyful time for Debbie and I to celebrate the anniversary. So this is two years now. But I was reminded that in that helicopter, I was dying. I remember telling a doctor after when I was in ICU, I said I felt like I was dying in the helicopter, he said, "You were dying". And I was, as many of you know, I lost over 50% of my blood. But what I sensed, what I remember about that helicopter ride, I didn't die, I didn't go to heaven and come back, or anything like that, I didn't see anything, I sensed the presence of the Lord. And the presence of the Lord was so powerful, so phenomenal that I was joyful. I was joyful that I was going to heaven because God's presence was that incredible.
So I just wanna declare, this is the second truth of Easter, immediate Paradise. Here's the third truth, never forsaken. Never forsaken. The third thing Jesus says on the cross is now in Matthew but it's also in Mark. Matthew 27:46, "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani', that is, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me"? Now this is one of the most difficult verses for people to understand before it's explained to 'em. But it's actually one of the easiest verses to explain, to understand once it's explained. Before I do that, let me show you a couple other verses. One very famous, Hebrews 13:5, "For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you'".
Now, where did God say that? He said that to Moses to tell the children of Israel, He also spoke that to Joshua after Moses had passed away, "I will never leave you or forsake you". David says it this way. Psalm 37:25, "I have been you, and now am old; yet I have not see the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread". Now, let me remind you we're righteous by grace. Okay? I also just wanna make a clarification here, that was King David speaking. He said, "I've been young and now I'm old". Okay, that wasn't Pastor Robert speaking, that was David speaking.
I wanna clarify that 'cause one of our elders called me a couple weeks ago to check on me and I was grateful to talk to him, you know, and he said to me, he said, "I have to confess to you the reason I'm calling you is my son said to me, 'Dad, you need to call Pastor Robert'". And checked on him and he said, well why do I need to call Pastor Robert and check on him and he said, well he is one of our older members. I'm not one of the, well, maybe, okay, here's the point though. Why did Jesus say, "my God, my God, why have you forsaken me"? Because God forsook Jesus on the cross so He would never forsake you. Hebrews 13:5. "I will never leave you". I will never leave you, never forsake you.
Again, I have to say, this shows us salvation is by grace not works because if it was by works then you could do something the get God to reject you. But you can't do anything to get God to reject you. If you put your faith in Jesus Christ, He will never leave you, He will never reject you. So that's the third truth of Easter. Here's the fourth. Constant care.
Now we're gonna jump over to the book of John. John 19:26-27, "When Jesus therefore saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved", that's the apostle John, "standing by, He said to His mother, 'Woman, behold your son. Then He said to the disciple, 'Behold your mother'. And from that hour, that disciple took her to his own home". This is one of the most amazing verse in the Bible. Jesus is dying on the cross and He's concerned about His mother.
Now, we need to give a little background to this. It is believed and there's lot of evidence to support this, that Joseph, Jesus's earthly father had passed away before He began His three and a half year ministry. There's no records at all to Joseph during Jesus's ministry. When there is a reference to His family, it says your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside. Never says His father. And the end, we know by church history that Mary did go to live with John for the rest of her life. She lived a long, fruitful life, but she lived with John the rest of her life. She wouldn't have done that if her husband had still been alive.
But that begs the question. Did God know that Joseph was going to die? Of course He did. So why would He choose to be the earthly father of Jesus? I think it's because He wanted His son to experience every tragedy, every loss that a human can experience. Jesus, when we was on this earth, experienced the loss of a loved one. Watched His mother and His brothers and sisters go through the loss of a husband and a father. And He experienced it. See, Jesus really does know how you feel. Pastor Jimmy said last week, we have a sympathetic high priest. We have a throne of mercy we can come to, because He understands and here He is on the cross, providing constant care.
This is one of the truths of Easter. God is going to constantly care for your physical needs, for your mental needs, for your spiritual needs, for your emotional needs. That's something else that I felt when I was in that helicopter. Again, I felt like I was dying and the doctor said I was dying, but I remember thinking that God would take care of my family. And I don't mean just financially, I mean that I knew God would take care of my wife, my kids, my grandkids, emotionally as well. That He would provide constant care for them. So that's the fourth truth of Easter. Here's the fifth truth. Full atonement. Full atonement.
In John 19:28, "After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were not accomplished". This is what some people don't realize. "That the scripture might be fulfilled, said, 'I thirst'". Now you're probably wondering how I get full atonement out of I thirst, those two words, and He was thirsty on the cross. First of all, let me explain the word atonement to you, all right. So let me put the word atonement up again. And again what I wanna do is divide it into the three syllables, at, one, ment. At, one, ment, and then I wanna change that M-E-N-T, that suffix, to a preposition, with. So look at it now. At one with. This is the definition of atonement. So just as just if I, just if I never sin, you can remember that definition, you can remember atonement just divide the three syllables. At one with. It means that we can be at one with God.
Let me show something maybe you don't know. In John 17, Jesus's prayer in the garden, verse 21, he actually prayed for this, "That they all may be one as you, father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be", watch this, "One in us, that the world may believe that you sent me". Jesus prayed that we would be one in him and in the father. He prayed for that oneness, and he removes our sins completely away from us so that we can be one with God. We were separated from God by sin. He takes care of the sin problem. And, now, we can be one with God. So, how do I connect I thirst with this? I don't think he was thirsting for a physical cup. I think he was thirsting for a spiritual cup.
I want you to remember a couple of verses. Luke 22:42, when he's in the Garden saying, "Father, if it is your will, take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done". And then, in John 18 verse 11, when he's in the garden and he gets arrested, Peter, remember, pulls a sword out, cuts the soldier's ear off. Jesus healed that ear, by the way. But, here's what he says to Peter. So, Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into the sheath". Watch this. "Shall I not drink the cup which my father has given me"? So, in the garden, he says, "If it be thy will, let this cup pass from me". Then he says, "Shall I not drink the cup which my father has set before me"? And then, on the cross, he says, "I thirst".
I don't think he was thirsting for a physical drink. They had actually already tried to give him a physical drink, and he didn't receive it. This time, I'm gonna read it in just a moment, they gave him sour wine, and he received it, I believe, representing sin. I think, when he said, "I thirst", he was saying, "I'm ready". I'm ready to drink the cup, and I think, in that cup were the sins of the world. And, he was saying, "I'm ready to do everything it takes to become that sin offering so that every person who believes in me can be completely, totally forgiven of their sins, experience being at one with us, in immediate paradise when they die". I think he's saying, "I'm ready, father, to drink the cup. I'm even thirsty for it now".
So, that's the fifth truth of Easter. Here's the sixth one, completely finished. Completely finished. Now, we stopped at verse 28 a moment ago, in John 19, where he said, "I thirst". And, before we get to verse 30, I wanted to show you verse 29. "Now, a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there, and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to his mouth. So, when Jesus had received the sour wine", see, representing the sins of the people, "He said it is finished. And, bowing his head, he gave up his spirit". Now, we're gonna find out in a moment he said one more phrase when he gave up his spirit, but the sixth phrase is it is finished. It's completely finished, completely finished.
Now, I wanna show you a truth that might shock you. Hebrews 4:3 says, "The works were finished from the foundation of the world", Revelation 13:8 says, "The lamb slain from the foundation of the world". So, how can it say that the works were finished from the foundation of the world and that the lamb was slain from the foundation of the world? It's because God is eternal. God exists outside of time. He's not inside of time, he's outside of time. But, he came into time, he became a human, and, as a human, he suffered and bled and died for our sins. And, as a human then, he says it's finished. I've done everything that needs to be done.
Everything that needs to be done for sinful man to be restored to holy God has been done. It's all been done. It's all been taken care of. It is completely finished, and that's what happened that day on the cross. By the way, this word finished is a business term in the Greek. It actually means a finalized transaction. If you remember, the Bible says that he purchased you with his own blood. And, he uses this word to say the transaction is complete. It is done, it is complete.
Now, if it's complete, then what do you need to do? In John 6 verse 28 and 29, "They said to him", so they said to Jesus, "What shall we do that we may work the works of God"? Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work", singular, "of God, that you believe in Him whom he sent". Romans 10:9, that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. I have a real strong burden today for people who are watching, attending online, our Easter services, and you really don't know for sure if you died, you'd go to Heaven. And with all the fear and with all the panic in the world today, you're probably reaching out for God.
I want you to understand how simple it is to be saved eternally. And that is to simply turn your heart toward God. To believe in Jesus Christ. And I'm gonna take this a step further and the last thing he said to help you understand how important it is to truly commit your life to Jesus Christ, but I'm praying that thousands and thousands of people around the world today will be saved, will give their lives to Jesus because it's finished. It's done. Jesus did everything that needs to be done for you to be reunited with God, but it's up to you to receive it.
So that's the sixth word. Here's the seventh word, phrase, truth from Easter. Eternal commitment. Eternal commitment. And you're gonna see in a moment I'm talking about that God is eternally committed to you. This is the last thing Jesus said on the cross, Luke 23:46. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, into your hands". I just want you to notice, "Into your hands I commit my spirit". Having said this, He breathed His last. Jesus commits his spirit into the hands of the Father.
Now I'm gonna go into that a little bit more, but I'm talking about that God makes a commitment to you when you make a commitment to him. But you have to be all in. You have to make a commitment. You have to commit your life to Jesus fully. Not just say in your mind that you believe Jesus is son of God, but you have to commit your life to him. Let me show you a verse that many, many people have never seen. Two verses, many people never even seen these verses. John Two, verses 23 and 24, It says, now when He was at Jerusalem at the Passover.
Now let me just make a little comment for you if you wanna know. This is the first Passover Jesus attended in his public ministry. He attended every Passover in his whole life. Luke 2:41 tells us that. He attended every Passover growing up. And so this is the first one during his ministry, and then he attends. All four Passovers he attended are in the Book of John. John Two, John Five, John Six, and then John 19. 18 to 19. But here's the thing you need to know. Obviously, the last Passover he attended is when he was crucified. He died on Passover, as our Passover lamb. But this is the first one he attended, all right?
So let's go back to John Two, John 2:23. Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. Now watch this verse. But Jesus did not commit himself to them because he knew all men. They believed, but they didn't really commit their lives. And so Jesus didn't commit himself to them. I'm telling you that Jesus is waiting on you to commit your life to Jesus, to him. And when you commit your life to him, he commits his life to you. The Father commits to you.
Remember Jesus said, "Into your hands, I commit my spirit". Watch this verse about the Father's hands. John 10:28 and 29. "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. Neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who was given them to me", watch this, "is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father's hand". See, here's what he's saying. When you commit your life to me, you're in my hand, and you're in the Father's hands. Remember, this is where Jesus committed his spirit. And no one is able to pluck you out of my Father's hands 'cause my Father's greater than all.
Let me tell you what that tells me. He's eternally committed to you. He is eternally committed. Think about the seven truths from Easter. Total forgiveness, immediate paradise, never forsaken, constant care, full atonement, completely finished and eternal commitment. God wants to make an eternal commitment to you, forgive you of all of your sins so that when you die you are immediately in paradise, constantly care for you, never forsake you. It's incredible, but He's waiting on you to make a commitment of your life to Him.