We all have a common struggle in life. I call it a human problem because if you are human, you have this struggle. The human problem is that we are not in control. Over the years, I have done several funerals. In the service I address the reality that we don’t like death because it reminds us we aren’t in control. We can’t control life or death. We can’t control weather or cancer. Truth is, we struggle to control our own lives. Let me walk you through 5 quick thoughts.
- We sin and that sin leaves us feeling guilty inside. Over time, that sin can create pain in our lives. If we could control it, we would change that.
- We have hidden addictions. Over time of not dealing with it, drinking becomes alcoholism. That secret that we don’t want others to know about, begins to rule over us. If we could control it, we would change that.
- We can feel insecure about life and relationships. So to get what we want, we try to control and manipulate others. Over time this ruins us and our relationships. If we could control it, we would change that.
- As we live life, people reject us, turn on us and it leaves us very jaded and very bitter. If we could control it, we would change that.
- We try to take on life but we realize between kids, work, sports, retirement, we can’t do it a. If we could control it, we wouldn’t be so tired.
This is the human problem. Everyone experiences it. You can’t fake it. You can’t stuff it. You can’t ignore it. It just gets worse and worse and worse.
Basically, all of us, whether insiders or outsiders, start out in identical conditions, which is to say that we all start out as sinners. Scripture leaves no doubt about it: There’s nobody living right, not even one, nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God. They’ve all taken the wrong turn; they’ve all wandered down blind alleys. No one’s living right; I can’t find a single one. Their throats are gaping graves, their tongues slick as mud slides. Every word they speak is tinged with poison. They open their mouths and pollute the air. They race for the honor of sinner-of-the-year, litter the land with heartbreak and ruin, don’t know the first thing about living with others. They never give God the time of day. …it’s clear enough, isn’t it, that we’re sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everybody else? MSG Romans 3:9-19
What do we do about our human problem? Nothing. You can’t do a thing about it. That’s the point of Easter. Jesus stepped in to do what you cannot do. Why? Because you don’t have the control, you can’t solve the human problem.
Who would have thought GOD’s saving power would look like this? It was our sins that did that to Jesus, that ripped and tore and crushed him – our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And GOD has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him. He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn’t say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence. Justice miscarried, and he was led off – and did anyone really know what was happening? He died without a thought for his own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people. They buried him with the wicked, threw him in a grave with a rich man, even though he’d never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn’t true. MSG Isaiah 53:1-9
If you want to be healed, if you want your sins to be forgiven, if you want a fresh start with God, you have to allow Jesus to die for you. Why? Because you can’t do it. You aren’t in control, God is. If you don’t allow Jesus to die for you, you will miss Him.
I want to quickly talk about huge mistake people make. You want healing, forgiveness and a fresh start with God, but you can make a mistake that will ruin you. It’s called religion. It’s the idea that ‘I can do something that will help me be accepted by God.’ It’s weird. God comes and does the thing that we can’t do and then we think ‘there is a matrix of religious rules and regulations that I have to perform.’ It’s weird. This is how Jesus explained it when He talked to the church people of His day, “You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You’re like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down it’s all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. People look at you and think you’re saints, but beneath the skin you’re total frauds. MSG Matthew 23:27-28
Jesus was saying that people can make a huge mistake. They strive and struggle to look good on the outside but fail to allow God to change their hearts. That’s is called religion. And religion produces hypocrites.
As a Pastor of Mountain Ridge Church, I want to ask you to forgive us, the church, of that hypocracy that you have seen. That’s not why Jesus died to defeat death. It’s religion. It’s evil. Please don’t allow that to push you away from God’s grace.
Have you ever applied for a job? You read the job description and prepare your resume. On that resume you list every reason why you deserve that job. Here is the resume you need to have to become a disciple of Jesus. One sentence. ‘I am a busted up sinner who can’t do it.’ That’s it. That’s all you need to be a great disciple of Jesus. To make it any more complicated than that, you missed the reason for Easter. You’ve missed Jesus.