Steven Furtick - This Is Not The End
This is an excerpt from: Savage Jesus: It Can't End Like This...
I dare you to look at somebody and say, "Your angel is already on the way. So, don't stress out about it and don't you dare turn around, and go back home, because while you're worrying, God is working". God does some of His best work in the dark. And just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it's not in progress. It can't end like this. You think God would let these women get all the way to the tomb and let a stone stand in their way? God says, "When you do what you can do, I will do what you cannot do. I'll help you raise those kids, I'll help you stay married to that man, I'll help you make it through it another week, I'll help you, help is on the way". It can't end in frustration. It can't end in my frustration. And it can't end in failure either. It can't end in frustration. It can't end in failure. Touch somebody, say, "It can't end like this".
See, when you know the director, you have a pretty good sense of how the film is gonna end. God I wish somebody came to help me preach and not just look at me today. When you know who made the movie, when you know how it ends, when Jesus sat down with Peter, He said, "You're gonna fail. You're gonna deny me, not once, not twice", but check out this King James English, "thrice". By the time the rooster crows. But don't worry about it Peter, I've got a job for you to do on the other side of failure.
When the angel said, "I'm gonna meet you in Galilee". It was more than a geographical arrangement. It was a statement of mission. For many of you remember that Galilee was the place where Jesus did most of His miracles. It was the place where He first called Peter. It was the Sea of Galilee where Peter took Jesus all around to preach, and heal, and deliver. So, when the angel said, "Your story can't end here, turn around and go tell the disciples that I will meet them Galilee". He was saying in effect, "This can't end in a grave because there's something more that I wanna do, meet me in Galilee". Now that's good news all on it's own. For you to know, that God is not through with you. For you to know that if the devil could have killed you, he would have by now. For you to know, that the testimony of your purpose is the very fact of your survival.
The fact that you're still here, well, that's a reason to celebrate. Because of two words, go tell His disciples, verse 7, please, and Peter. That hit me hard. That the one who disappointed Jesus, the most deeply, was the one He singled out by name for redemption. And it gives me this hope that maybe my name can go there, too. I'm going back to Galilee because I don't believe this story ends at a grave. It can't end like this. Go tell Peter to start practicing. Practicing what? Practicing his preaching. Tell him to get all of his fishing out of his system. 'Cause I need him in 50 days. I need him on the day Pentecost, when the Spirit comes. I want the one who failed the greatest to be the trophy of my triumph and transformation. And there's someone here who is standing over a grave of your own failure today. Not realizing that resurrection is an expectation that allows you to experience life, not through the lens of your failure, but through the lens of grace.
And that's a really beautiful truth for Peter, but until it is personal for you, you will stay stuck in what God has called you out of. It can't end, I know, it can't end like this. I know that my story can't end in failure because God has already promised me His grace for every failure that I would face in this life. And Peter, and Peter, make sure you, make sure, PS: tell Peter. Tell the one that snuck into church, that really doesn't wanna be here that I'll meet him in Galilee. Failure is not the end. It's the hinge, it's the hinge on which the doors of God's grace swing wide open for you to experience His forgiveness at a greater level. Don't you see it, Peter? He called you by name. And the women responded in a surprising way, you know, I never could get over this.
I understand why they were so disappointed when He died. But I never got why they were so surprised. He told him this, three times, "I'm gonna die. They're gonna mock me, they're gonna scourge me, they're gonna spit on me. But after three days..". Dot-dot-dot. I view resurrection a little differently now, I used to think resurrection was God's exclamation point. You know, "It is finished"! "He is risen"! But now, I see it more like three dots. To see whether or not your story is gonna end here in your fear because the final note of Mark's gospel is fear, they were afraid. It's such a strange note to end on. It's such a crazy way to end your gospel, maybe there was more to the manuscript, I don't know, and it got lost. That's one theory, or maybe verse 9 is up to us. Maybe fear is not the end, maybe it's an invitation.
See in Mark's gospel, usually when it talks about fear, something comes after it. In Mark's gospel, there's a pattern that emerges, it's over and over again, in Mark's gospel. So, like in chapter five there's a woman who has an issue, an issue of blood and nobody can make her better. The Bible says, that "...she spent all that she had, but instead of getting better, she got worse, she shoved more stuff into her life, she got busier and she just got broker. She spent more time trying to be liked and she only felt more lonely. And then she comes up and touches Jesus and everybody wants to know who did it, 'cause there was a big crowd around and they didn't know, but she did.
And so the Bible says, "That trembling, she fell down in fear on her face before Jesus". But it wasn't the end of the story. Because when Mark says fear, something follows. it's not the end. Touch somebody and say, "It's not the end, it's a new beginning". And after her fear, Jesus looked at her and said, "Daughter, your faith has healed you, now go in peace". Because fear is not the end, fear is the beginning. Right after this, a man named Jairus has a little daughter who has died while Jesus is on His way to heal her. The crowd says, "Don't worry about it, she's already dead". Jesus said, "No, she's just asleep. Don't be afraid Jairus, because when I get there, something is gonna happen that is going to overrule and overturn the verdict of earthly principals, she's gonna get up". And the little girl got up because fear is not the end.
One night, the disciples were in a great storm, the wind was blowing so hard they thought surely, we're going down this time. No you can't die here, there's something left for you to do, the Bible says, "They were greatly afraid, but fear was not the end". The moment they felt the fear, Jesus spoke the word, "Peace be still". I feel him speaking peace to somebody today, fear is not the end. It can't end like this. It can't end like this. God's got more for you to do. He said, "Meet me in Galilee..". Friday, Saturday, Sunday. The stone is already rolled. God has already done what the law was powerless to do, and that it was weakened by the sinful nature. I know you're weak, I know you're frustrated, but frustration is not the end. Frustration is the hinge on which the door to surrender swings wide open. To say, I need you to do for me, God what I can't do for myself.
It's not the end. Your failure is not the end. God's gonna use the one who knows their need for grace, to show others what His grace is capable of. It can't end like this. Your story can't end in this grave. You are needed in Galilee Peter. There's more for you to do. It can't end like this. It can't end in fear. What if those women would have stayed silent. We know that they didn't. We know that they went and told the disciples, and we know that the disciples first instincts was fear. Because the starting point of faith is always fear. It' always scary to step out and trust God. It's always risky to make yourself vulnerable, but what if I come to God and what if it doesn't work. And what if it ends on a cross. See even if it ends on a cross, it doesn't end on the cross.