Wrath and the Gospel
good morning and welcome on this resurrection sunday as we celebrate life, life that was founded for us, the life that is continued for us and the life that is awaiting for us by jesus christ and his uh destruction of death by his being risen from the dead. Our bible reading this morning will come from john chapter number 20 john 20 knowing the first day of the week, mary Magdalene came to the tomb early while it was still dark and I saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon, Peter and the other disciple, The one whom Jesus loved and said to them, they have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid him. So Peter went with the other disciple and they were going toward the tomb, both of them were running together, but the other disciple out tran peter and reached the tomb first and stooping, he looked in and saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came following him and went into the tomb. He saw the linen clothes lying there and the face cloth which had been on jesus head not lying with the linen cloths, but folded up in a place by itself. Now the other then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in and he saw and believed for as yet they did not understand the scripture that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes, but mary stood weeping outside the tomb and as she wept, she stooped to look into the tomb And there she saw the two angels in light sitting where the body of jesus had lain one at the head and wanted defeat and they said to her woman, why are you weeping? She said to them, They have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid him. And having said this she turned around and saw Jesus standing. But she did not know that it was Jesus, jesus said unto her woman, Why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking? Supposing him to be the gardener? She said to him, sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him and I will take him away. And Jesus said to her mary and she turned and said to him in Aramaic robo knight, which means teacher. And Jesus said to her, Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to my father, but go to my brothers and say to them, I am ascending to my father and to your father, to my God and to your God, mary. Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, I have seen the Lord and that he had said these things to her this the wonderful story of our hope, the wonderful story of Christianity, the wonderful story of the greatest sacrifice, the greatest act of love that the world has ever known, this story that that changes our lives from one of a journey from dust to dust to dust to christ to glory. This story that that brings hope on the darkest of days and and gives us peace in the midst of the greatest trouble, this story that secures for us all the promises of God and and and all the things beyond our imagination that God has in store for us through his providence and during our time on the earth, and then in the the full expression of his blessing, when we get to heaven, the story of resurrection, Jesus has paid. He has taken upon himself the sins of all men who would call upon him, he has born the agony of our sin as if it were his own and for that this service should begin with shame to think that jesus to think that Jesus took into his mind as his own thoughts, the vile thoughts that have raced through mind to think that Jesus took into his own mind those times when I was angry, those times when I was vicious, those times when I lusted those times when I when I see it not only in action, but in mind that Jesus that Jesus took those thoughts as to himself that he might bear the awful penalty of sin. So that when God looks at me, he sees me in in in in the blessed exchange that Jesus provided me. He looks at me, he looks at me not as one who had sinned greatly and who had thought such vile things, the one who had loved him perfectly and obeyed him unceasingly. He took he took my sin, the guilt, the shame, the humility, the pain, the wrath, and the ultimate penalty of death. But being the pure and undefiled lamb himself, being God of very God. After three days he arose from the dead, casting those sins as far as the east is from the west to remember them no more. And rising on that day gives us hope that our guilt might be erased, That our minds might be transformed as Romans. 12 says that we might live, lives pleasing unto him that we would know his voice as mary does here and like his sheep would follow him. You see this is the great hope of Christianity, and today I want us to to contrast both the Wrath of God that we see on the cross and the the Gospel of God that we see, the the resurrection of God, the completed Gospel of God, that we see at the tomb, And with that turn to Romans. Chapter one verse number 18 For the Wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodly nous and unrighteous nous and righteousness of men who by their unrighteous nous, suppress the truth for what may be known of God is manifest in them because God had shown it unto them for his invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and Godhead have been clearly perceived since the creation of the world in the things that have been made so that we are without excuse for all. Although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God. Neither were they thankful, but became futile in their thinking and their foolish hearts were darkened and claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made likened to mortal man and the birds and the animals and creeping things. And then look at this in verse number 24. Therefore, God gave them up. God gave them up to the lusts of their hearts to the impurity of dishonoring their bodies among themselves. Look again down in verse number 26 for this reason, God gave them up to dishonorable passions for their women exchanged the natural relations for those that are contrary to nature. Look again at verse # eight for since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not be done. About 90% of the time when Wrath is pictured in the Bible, it is pictured as God separating himself from man. It is literally as these words would be translated, stepping back, God stepped back, God stepped back and God stepped away. We hear that cry of that portion of the wrath when jesus is on the cross. Whenever he says, Lama Sabak Tani, my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me. And like I say about 90% of the time, the wrath of God is pictured as him stepping away into greater separation, making a greater gulf between God and man. Isaiah 52 says, for your iniquities have made separation between you and your God. Your sins have hidden his face from you so that you cannot hear Jose. At Chapter four, we hear Ephraim has joined himself with idols, leave him alone In Genesis. Chapter three When when Eve is deceived by the serpent, Adam does nothing and and and God departs, Adam does nothing. Eve disobeys and then draws her husband into that disobedience. God cast them from the garden, making that first and that final separation until this great day of resurrection. When the people of Egypt are quiet and they no longer tell the story of joseph and God’s rescuing his people through the providential working of joseph. When they when they no longer tell that story, God is quiet when the people forget him, we see him when when worship had become so corrupted in the old testament that God departed from the temple. In fact Paul says that even today, men remain separated from God in Ephesians without hope, without God in this world. And so over and over and over again in the bible, we see that, that that that wrath, the Wrath of God is stepping away is stepping away is stepping away. In fact, jesus calls hell more often than anything else, Outer darkness where there’s weeping and gnashing of teeth and God steps away and steps away and steps away until that final judgment when all are called to him and and and then sent to their eternal dispensations. So if wrath is the stepping away of God, then what would the Gospel of God be? What is the gospel of jesus christ? It can be simply stated and and I want you to see it on this resurrection morning as God’s stepping up, God’s stepping forward when when when Adam was quiet and did not step when he did not step up between eve and the corruptor. When he did not step up and call out for God to God for aid. When he did nothing that started this whole, this whole curse, the whole separation from God, the corruption of mankind with mortality and corruption entered into God’s creation. But where Adam did not step up, The Gospel is seen as God’s stepping forward. Hebrews Chapter 10. Consequently, when christ came into the world, he said, sacrifices and offerings, you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me in burnt offerings and sacrifices. You have taken no pleasure. Then I said, behold, I come to do your will o God as it is written of me in the scroll of the book God’s wrath, is that stepping away that stepping away that that that that that making the gulf that no man could cross. But simultaneously the gospel is jesus stepping forward, stepping up closer and closer and closer to us as our study of john has shown in john chapter one verse number 14 the word became flesh and dwelt among us and we have seen his glory as of the only son from the father Full of grace and truth. You see overcoming and undoing that that that horrible statement from Isaiah 55 when we could not hear God nor could we see him, Jesus said, A body you have prepared for me. I go and he comes and dwells among us, bringing with us a vision of that glory and the hearing of the truth. God steps forward. A body you have prepared for me. I go and he goes not just to make a statement, but to dwell with us Luke. Chapter two verse number 49 and he said to them, why are you looking for me? This is when his parents had brought him to the temple and and on their way home they could no longer find him and they turn around and they go and they find him in the temple and he says, why were you looking for me? Do you not know I must be about my father’s business. I must be in my father’s house stepping forward to do the will of God as in wrath. He is stepping away in love. He is stepping forward. Matthew Chapter 3: verse # 13. Then Jesus came from galilee to the jordans to john to be baptized by him. And you remember in that story, john balked and said, I must need to be baptized by you. But Jesus said, no, this must be done to fulfill all righteousness. He is identifying with us fully being baptized for the remission of sins, even though he is sinless. He is obedient to the father, identifying with us that one day he might take my sins against himself, that I might die in him and be risen to walk in newness of life, the body you have prepared for me. I go and I don’t just go to make a to make a statement. I go to dwell with them and and and I am here to be about my father’s business, define worshippers, to reclaim that which was lost, to glorify that which has been corrupted. He identifies with us even to the point of being baptized for the remission of sins. And then immediately after that baptism, Matthew chapter four verse one says that Jesus was led by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil fully taking our path to himself. You see he is taking our path to follow hard after us, that he might redeem us, that we we then might follow him into the glory that God intended for man all along to bear his image. Led by the spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil and the devil coming to him, found nothing in him pure. It’s beautiful and the perfect son of God stepping up for us. And then after that temptation, he begins the full of his ministry, showing his mastery over disease over demons, over death, over everything that that plagues man over everything that we we brought into the world or that we perverted that God had created. He shows that he has mastery over nature and over the supernatural, there is nothing outside of his control. And whenever that information was fully delineated that we might know that he is the one and only ruler of everything seen and unseen made and created luke. Chapter nine verse number 51 said. When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, stepping forward completely stepping forward as God in his wrath, is stepping back from us because of our stupidity, because of our rebellion, because of our arrogance to profess ourselves to be wise, while denying God and then trading the image of the incorruptible immortal, glorious God for an image made like unto ourselves. And then down to even bugs, jesus steadfastly sets his face to go to Jerusalem to be that sacrifice for us. He goes into Jerusalem and he has tested in every possible way he is tempted again this time by men trying to trick him into uh into failure to trick him into falling, to trick him into uh into revealing uh ignorance. And he passes all of those tests, perfectly tempted by the devil at the beginning of his ministry and and tempted by men at the end of his ministry. And and even though they treat him the way that they do not only throughout his ministry, but especially in that last week, jesus still steps forward. It’s amazing to me when you just look at that last week of christ and how awfully he is treated, how terribly he is treated, how, how, how how ugly man is, he doesn’t give up and he finally, he has that last meal with his disciples, he tells them to to prepare the passover, they prepare it and then in the middle of that great feast, they argue amongst themselves about who is the greatest as Jesus is trying to teach them the greatest among you will be the servant of all. When jesus is in the room, they’re arguing about who’s the greatest a blind man ideas. And finally after teaching them what would happen in the next few days, how they would fail and now the comforter would come to restore them to bring their their their failure and then their restoration. And then the comforter would come, he goes to the garden and he goes before them and sets an example and he says stay here and watch and he goes forward and he prays and then he tells them to watch and pray. And while the son of God, the per perfect sinless son of God is praying for what is in front of him, the disciples because they think they are great, I feel no need to pray and so they sleep and jesus still does not give up on them, He does not step away, he does not just leave the garden and say you know what I tried. He goes for a third time and again they fall asleep and again he does not step away. He hears judas one of the 12 coming across the brook Kidron with soldiers and temple guards to kiss the very door of heaven on the cheek, The most despicable act that man could have ever committed. and yet Jesus says in Mark Chapter 14 verse number to rise, let us be going see the betrayer is at hand, He steps forward even into that great betrayal. Ex chapter eight verse # 32 reads that he was led like sheep to slaughter and like a lamb is done before sheer before his shearers. He opened not his mouth mark, chapter 15 verse number 20. And when they had mocked him, they took off, they took off the purple from him, put on his own clothes and led him out to crucify him, still stepping forward and stepping forward and stepping forward so that we might have that great hope. And he bearing his cross went forth, john 19 verse number 17 and he bearing his cross went forth into the place called the Place of the skull which is in the Hebrew dog Martha. Amazing Ratha scene is stepping back and stepping back and stepping back and yet the gospel is seen in the great love of christ stepping forward and stepping forward and stepping forward and stepping forward and letting nothing block his way now back to the garden tomb. You remember that? It says that when they looked in, they saw the linen closet. When they looked in, they saw the linen closet. When they looked in they saw the linen cloths and mary. Then when she looks in she sees the linen cloths and she sees an angel at one end where his head was and an angel at one end where his feet were. When she saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had lain and they said to her woman, why are you weeping? And they said, they have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid him. Listen to devil in darkness and death may swagger and boast. The pangs of life will sting for a little while longer. But don’t worry, the forces of evil have breathed their last. There is no need to worry he has not been taken away. He is risen. A manual with us, in our nature, in our sorrow, in our life, work in our punishment in the grave and now with us or rather we with him in resurrection ascension and triumph. Why do those grave grave clothes matter? Because if a man had been beaten and beaten and beaten and scourged and a crown of thorns upon his head and then a spear thrust into his side where water and blood gushed out what would have been on those grave clothes? That’s right, the blood of christ and in the old testament, we see the picture of the reality that’s taking place here on the ark of the covenant, you had an angel here and an angel here and the judgment seat of God in between and when and when the blood of the, of the atoning lamb was spread upon that, that the judgment seat that became the mercy seat and now we see a greater arc with a greater blood, with a greater outcome. He is risen, he is not a lamb that’s going to be taken on a way to a butcher shop, he folds the face cloth, he puts it off to his to the side to show his disciples that there is no more meat need for sacrifice, christ has paid it all and death has breathed its last, he has defeated it, he will be with us in time in sorrow, in our work, he is, he is with us on the cross in punishment, he’ll be with us in the grave and now in resurrection ascension and triumph. This is what easter sunday is about. This is what the resurrection day is about. Do not cling to me for I have not yet ascended to my father, but go tell my brothers, my brothers, they had denied him during the night, but go tell my brothers and say to them, I am ascending to my father and your father, my God and your God. And she went and announced these things to the disciples saying I have seen the Lord and she told them all the things that he had said to her. What are we to make of christ? That’s not really the question right? There’s no question of what we are to make of him is of our hope. He is the one who stepped forward to redeem us as we were becoming hopelessly lost as God was stepping away and wrath christ was stepping forward in hope in love and in the gospel, the question is not, what are we to make of christ? The question is entirely a question of what he intends to make of us all we must do is accept or reject the story and then see what glorious creation he can make of this vile body Of this vile flesh as Paul says in Philippians three that he might glorify it. One last thing and hang with me for a minute. I want to talk about sins and sightings. Some people may think that their sins aren’t that bad or of no real significance or consequence. Look at the first few sins when I say them like this, they don’t seem that bad. Adam didn’t help his wife when she needed it and Eve ate something she wasn’t supposed to eat. But look at the inevitable outcome of that. The family was torn apart. Cain killed his brother Abel because he had no true example of what a family was to act like How sacrifices were made for one another. Adam did not step forward and Eve shared the corruption with her husband In Romans one. The list doesn’t sound that bad. The people stopped worshiping. They weren’t glorifying God, they weren’t thankful. But look at the magnitude of it. It leads to the breakdown of the family. Women with women. And finally to And then the last of that list is that that that Children are disobedient to their parents. It led to the breakdown of the family. And all of the great difficulties that that leads to. We may think our sins our little but they are not disobeying God is what gets us in trouble. Disobeying God is what leads us to the darkness. Disobeying God is why christ had to had to die on the cross. Disobeying God is why there is all the wars and rumors of wars and trials and tribulations and and and difficulties in this world. And then the last thing I want us to see on this resurrection day is the glory of who Jesus revealed himself to on that great day woman in grief, mary disciples in their failure and despair. The other disciples on the road home in their confusion, he didn’t present himself to the emperor Danny’s or Caiaphas to the soldiers who mocked him and said, all right, here I am, that’s probably what I would have been tempted to do. He didn’t present himself to Herod nor Josephus or whoever the historian of the day was. He did not sit on the, on the golden ark behind the torn veil to say, you have corrupted my religion. Rather rising from a greater arc in a greater temple. He shows himself to those who are in need. Why? Because he’s a shepherd. He’s a brother when he sees those who are hurting and looking and calling out for him, that’s where he went, reveal himself. That’s where he will go. And like the sins above. It looks like he reserves this for the little people, just like the sins seemed to be little, but they lead to great misery. These sightings to the so called little people look at what it led to the birth of the church whose fruits we share today. This is easter, jesus chasing after us every step of the way, calling out for us like a shepherd for his sheep who are running headlong into danger? What will you do with jesus? But more importantly, what will jesus do with you, father, I think?