Experience the story. Before you watch this video, take a moment, and prepare your environment. Turn off your lights, close your blinds or curtains, and remove all distractions because we believe God has something great for you. We don’t just want you to hear about the Gospel; we want you to experience the Gospel! It’s time for The Story.
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In the beginning. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, the sky, the plants, the animals and us. He made man in His image and His likeness as the crown or the pinnacle of all creation. You see, we were the only ones in creation to have the privilege and the honor of carrying the image and the likeness of God.
And God didn’t make us because He had to, He made us because He wanted to, because He loved us, because He wanted to have a relationship with us and enjoy us. And so He took Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, and He placed them in the Garden of Eden. And one of the first things He did was He blessed them. And He said be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it using all its vast resources in the service of God and man. In other words, God said to us, He said, come on and rule and reign with me. We were commissioned by God to have authority over this earth, to bring the glory of God to all the corners of creation. And we had this divine order, this divine destiny, this divine purpose in our life to live a life of productive beauty to bring the glory of God to this earth.
And we knew who we were, who God was and what we were created to do. And He put us in the Garden of Eden, a little picture of heaven on earth. And He wanted us to expand those boundaries and those borders until all of the realities of heaven filled all of the earth. And after six days of creation, on the seventh day God rested. And He looked out over all He had made and it was very good. And there was only one thing that God told us we couldn’t do, that was eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You see, God never wanted us to spend our lives knowing good and evil, right and wrong, should shouldn’t, can can’t, do don’t. No, he wanted us to live our life in love, in freedom and in peace.
But one day, the great serpent or Satan came slithering into the Garden of Eden. And it’s important to remember that Satan is not god’s equal, he is inferior to God in every way. Satan was created by God as an angel in heaven. But he rebelled against God because he decided he himself wanted to be worshipped. And so God easily threw him out of heaven, threw him to earth and in his wisdom decided He would defeat Satan once and for all by man, made in his image and his likeness who would choose to worship God and obey God out of love. But on this day, Satan came to tempt Eve. And he said to her, did God really say that you can’t eat from all the trees in the garden? And Eve said, we can eat from all of the trees in the garden but we can’t even touch the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or we will surely die.
You will not surely die, Satan said to her. For God knows that if you eat of it you will be like God. And in that moment, Eve tried to get in the world what she already had in God. She tried to get through performance which she had freely received by grace. You see, what Eve didn’t understand is in that moment she was already more like God than she would ever be. And when she reached out and took the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and ate from it, in that moment we died. We died spiritually, emotionally, relationally, physically. In that moment our identity was wrecked, our relationship with God was broken, our purpose was lost. And their eyes were open and they realized they were naked and afraid, so they were ashamed and they ran into the bushes and they hid and they made fig leaves to cover themselves up.
And if we’re honest, that’s what we’ve been doing ever since, isn’t it? Hiding from the shame and the sin and the brokenness of our lives, trying to perform and achieve and earn to become someone to make up for our past? But in that brokenness, God didn’t leave us. You see, He came walking through the garden and he promised that one day a savior, a messiah would come and he would make all things new. And from that point forward all of the law and all of the prophets foretold of the one who would come to make all things right. And so we held onto that promise, we held onto that hope and we watched and we wondered and we waited for a savior to come.
And after hundreds of years of waiting, on a silent night, love came down and hope rose up. Jesus the Son of God became the Son of Man. He poured himself out, left his divine nature behind and moved into our neighborhood with grace and truth. He took on flesh, took on humanity, came to walk among us, came to live among us. And in that moment, the angels filled the sky and declared glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests. But he didn’t just stay a baby in a manger, he grew into a boy and then he grew into a man.
And he faced every trial and every test and every temptation and every struggle you and I have ever faced. But every place where you and I have fallen he was victorious. He was perfect in every way, completely fulfilling everything that has ever been required of you and me. And when he was 30 years old, he was baptized by John the Baptist. And as he came up out of the water, the heavens broke open and the Father spoke from heaven, this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. And the spirit of God descended upon him and anointed him for his ministry. In fact Jesus says about himself, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me. And He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, to give sight back to the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
The spirit of God came upon Jesus and he went around doing good healing all those who are under the power of the devil. You see, Jesus was unlike anything we had ever seen. He did things we had never seen before. He said things we had never heard before. He lived in ways we had never seen before. He gave sight to the blind and healed the sick and raised the dead and cast out demons and walked on water and did signs and wonders and loved his enemies and washed the feet of his betrayers. Jesus was unlike anything we had ever seen. He was life itself. And he went around preaching a really simple message, repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
In other words, change your mind because hope is here. And he took 12 men and he invited them to be his disciples. He brought them into his life and he taught them how to think differently. He taught them how to live differently. He taught them about the kingdom of God. And he told them and he told us that one day we would do the things that he was doing and we would do even greater things than those. You see, Jesus came to show us who the Father really was. Jesus says that if you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father. And he came to restore the distorted view we had about who God was. You see, if we want to know what God is like all we have to do is look at Jesus because the Father talks just like Jesus talks, the Father acts just like Jesus acts, the Father lives just like Jesus lives.
He is the exact image and representation of the Father. And not only that, but Jesus came to fulfill all the law and the prophets, every command, every expectation, every declaration that’s been placed upon your life has been fulfilled perfectly by Jesus once and for all. And not only that, but Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. Satan came to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus came to take back what has been stolen, to resurrect what was killed and to restore that which had been destroyed. And then he showed us what it looked like to be human. He showed us what it looked like to be alive. He showed us what it looked like to live free as a beloved son or daughter.
You see his name is Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, prince of peace, the light of the world, the good shepherd, grace and truth, living hope, friend of sinners, the lamb of God who had come to take away the sins of the world.
And even though he was unlike anything we had ever seen, we despised him. We hated him, we rejected him. You see Jesus came to his own, but his own did not receive him. There was something about the truth in his life that offended the rebellious nature of our heart. And so he was arrested and he was put on trial, accused and condemned even though he hadn’t done a single thing wrong. And he was sentenced to death, death on a cross for our sins. And they took him and they beat him. And as that rod hit his body over and over and over again, every one of those blows was the punishment for our sins.
And then they whipped him. And with each lash the scourge came upon his body and ripped open his flesh, and lash after lash after lash was the punishment for our failures so that we could be healed. And then they took a crown of thorns and they put it on his head. Thorns, representing the curse and the fall of man because God said that the earth was now cursed and it would prick and bite and fight and hurt us in every way, shape and form. But that crown of thorns was placed on Jesus’ head and in that moment when the thorns mingled with the sweat on his brow and his blood the curse fell on Jesus so that the blessing of God could once again come on us, so that we would no longer have to live the life of striving and struggling, but we could live a life of peace and rest.
And then they took the scarlet robe and they placed it upon him. Scarlet, representing the deep stains and shame of our life, you know those things. Like the secrets you keep, the failures of the past, the things that you’re so ashamed of that define you to yourself in so many ways and no matter how hard you scrub you can’t get it out? That was placed on Jesus so the robe of righteousness and the robe of purity could be placed on you. And then they bound him to a cross, he was bound so that you and I could be set free. And then he cried out, I thirst. He became thirsty in his soul so that you and I could have springs of living water and never thirst again. And then he cried out, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? And in that moment the Father became a distant God to Jesus so he could become a loving Father to you.
In that moment Jesus was rejected so that you’ll never have to be. And then they took a hard spear and they shoved it into his soft heart so that your hard heart could once again be made soft. And then he breathed out his last breath, gave up his spirit and cried out, “It is finished.” And in that moment, all hope went out. The earth went dark, the earth shook and it felt like everything was over. Jesus was crucified because of what we had done. And they took down his body and they buried him in a tube and for three days it felt like everything was over.
But after three days of hopelessness, on the third day Jesus rose again. You see, death could not hold him. He defeated sin, death and the grave. And he resurrected and appeared to his disciples and he said, guys look, and he showed them the nail holes in his hands and the spear hole in his side and he said, do not be afraid. Peace be with you. And he breathed this Holy Spirit on them and as they breathed in the Holy Spirit, they too were resurrected to a new life. You see Jesus came to save us. He came to save us, heal us, make us whole, set us free, deliver us not just for eternal life someday but abundant life today. He invites us to be a new creation where he restores our identity and reconciles our relationship with God and redeems our purpose. Jesus literally became our sin so we could literally become his righteousness. In fact, through the disobedience of one man Adam, we were made sinners, but through the obedience of one man Jesus, we have the opportunity to be made righteous.
See, Jesus is the second Adam. He came to do what the first Adam failed to do and he offers us new life and all of the sin and the shame and the brokenness of your past and mine was placed on Jesus at the cross and it’s left dead, buried and gone in that grave. Jesus has come to heal the anxiety and the worry, the fear, the depression, the secrets, the addictions, all of it. And he said to his disciples, guys all authority in heaven and earth has been given unto me. In other words, I’ve just taken back the authority from Satan that he took from you. And now I’m empowering you to go on the mission again with me to rule and reign, so go make disciples of all nations.
in other words, he says, hey remember what we tried to do in the Garden of Eden to bring the realities of heaven to the ends of this earth? Yeah, let’s do that again. Let’s just start right where you are with my Holy Spirit, through my church and the authority that I’m giving to you. And as Jesus began to ascend to heaven he told his disciples, he said, one day I will return again and I’m going to come back. And when he comes back he’s going to make all things new. He’s going to create a new heaven and a new earth. He’s going to bring justice to all things. He’s going to restore all things and all the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our God and we will reign with him forever. Every nation, every people group, every area of life, every individual at some point in times, knee will bow and their tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.
And so we hold on to hope that he’s coming back once again. You see, this is the gospel. The gospel is the story of God creating all things and they were very good. But we broke them, we broke our identity, our relationship and our purpose and yet Jesus in his love and his grace and his mercy he came and laid down his life, not because he had to but because he wanted to, because he loves you and wants to have relationship with you and enjoy you. He came to restore your identity, to reconcile your relationship with God and redeem your purpose so that you could once again live free in love. You see, this is the story.
And the problem for so many of us is we try to interpret life through the current paragraph that we’re living. We try to understand life through the current paragraph that we’re experiencing and the only problem with that is it’s a very limited view. And if you try to understand all of life through your current paragraph, you’re going to make all kinds of judgments and observations and opinions and ungodly beliefs about who you are, who God is and what you are created to do. And so we need to take that paragraph and we need to put it back into the larger story. You see, you are not the hero of the story. You are not the center of the story. Jesus is the hero of the story. The story is all about Jesus. And when we start to understand that he is the hero of the story, that it’s his story, we want to take our paragraph and put it back into that story because then life starts to make sense.
All of a sudden you can interpret a season, a situation or a circumstance in a totally different way when you take your paragraph and you put it back into his story. And the way we do that is simply by confessing our sin, repenting, turning towards God, acknowledging our need for a savior and believing that Jesus is who he says he is, and did what he said he did. And if you don’t put your paragraph back into the story then you have to become your own savior, and somehow you have to figure out how to be your own hero, and somehow you have to figure out how to deal with your sin and shame and brokenness and pain.
The only problem is, is no matter how hard we try we can’t. See, this is the gospel. Maybe you forgot, maybe you’ve never heard. You see, for God so loved the world, for God so loved you that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his son into this world to condemn the world but to save the world through him. This is the story. The only question that’s left is what does it mean to you? What are you going to do about it?