Jesus went to the cross to get to you!
In this message series from DCCoE, we're exploring how God loves you so much that in Jesus, He went t to the cross to get to you! God Loves the current you in the condition that you are in now! He did not go to the cross for some future you!
Explore each message in this series below.
Sunday March 25th 10:30 AM Service EASTER FOR EVERYONE | SERMON OUTLINE
Part 1: Easter For Everyone
The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,“Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” At first, his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.
John 12:12-16, NIV
Jesus made His way through the cross to make His way to you.
A. There’s an old story of two shoes salespeople who travel to a village to sell
shoes. They both soon realize no one in this village wears shoes. The first
salesperson calls back to his headquarters and says, “This is a hopeless
situation. No one here wears shoes.” The second salesperson calls back to
headquarters and says, “This is an amazing opportunity. No one here wears
B. Isn’t it funny how two people can look at the same situation and come up
with two completely different conclusions? The same is true for cats and
dogs. Dogs look at their owners and say, “You feed me. You shelter me. You
love me. You must be God.” Cats, on the other hand, look at their owners
and say, “You feed me. You shelter me. You love me. I must be God!”
C. I bring this up because today we are seven days away from one of the most
significant dates in church history. Easter Sunday. As a result, the talk about
God increases this time of year. Like many of you, I believe the Easter story
shares this incredible truth of the most inclusive, welcoming, amazing message the world has ever known: the message of Jesus. Everyone is invited. Everyone is welcome. Everyone gets in the same way.
That’s why we are calling this new series Easter For Everyone.
D. On the other hand, there are many people who don’t see it that way. They
view the message of Jesus sheepishly, warily, skeptically. In fact, many of
them will be here next week! ChrEasters – folks who cautiously walk into the church only on Christmas and Easter.
E. Why is that? For many people, I think it comes down to this: God is
disappointed with us. If there is a God, He must be disappointed in us. (And
Secretly we believe He has good reason to be disappointed. We know the
secrets about us, right?) We know our sins. And since we know our sins and
God knows our sins; it’s logical perhaps to think He is disappointed with us.
And do you know what happens when we think people are disappointed with
us? We stay away. It’s why many people only come to church once or twice a
year (and that often comes about from peer pressure from Mom.)
F. It gets worse. Not only do we believe that God is disappointed in us, we
believe God is going to punish us for our sins. But the truth is this: We aren’t
punished for our sins. Our sins punish us.
G. For example: If you have a secret addiction, God is not up in heaven trying to
punish you for your addiction. Your addiction doesn’t need God’s help to
punish you. It can take care of that without God’s help. What if instead of
seeing God as a punisher, we see God as a rescuer? What if one of the
greatest myths about God is that the better you are as a person, the more
God loves you? What if God loves you? Period.
H. That's why today is so important. Something happened on Palm Sunday that
is a game changer in how we should view God and His approach to us. Jesus
did something very specific on Palm Sunday. When we understand what this
is, we don’t need to approach God warily or sheepishly. We should run to Him.
I. Not only that, but we have an amazing opportunity as a church between Palm
Sunday and Easter Sunday, all based on what Jesus did on Palm Sunday. Our
hope is that people in our community will see Jesus the way He truly is – the
great redeeming Savior who came, in His words, not for the well but the
sick – for those in need of a Savior. J. Some people think Jesus is disappointed with them, and so they stay away.
Our goal as a church is for people to understand the message of Jesus
and to know Him as their Savior. This week provides us with one of the best
opportunities for a church to do this. It’s why Palm Sunday and the week
ahead is so important. We want people to know that Easter is for everyone.
II. JOHN 12:12-16
A. [Provide context for Palm Sunday.]
B. Palm Sunday finds Jesus on the move. He made His way to Jerusalem, but
He was also making His way to the cross. Jesus didn't go to the
cross. Jesus went on the cross to get to you. Jesus made His way
through the cross to make His way to you.
C. “… on a donkey…” This imagery is of a humble king. Not only is God NOT
disappointed in you, But He has also made His way to you, in humility! (Note: In
Revelation, there is imagery of Jesus riding on a horse. Different message,
different imagery, different sermon.) But the point is this: Jesus has made His
way to you, humbly.
D. Many people think, “God tolerates the current version of me but loves the
future "cleaned-up" version of me.” If you follow this logic, what this means
is that Jesus would wait and go to the cross AFTER we got our junk together
and got all cleaned-up. Right? Because if not, if Jesus went ahead and made
His way to the cross, it would mean that Jesus took the first step. He went
first. He must love me then and now.
E. Jesus loves the current version of you, not a future, cleaned-up version of
you. When you understand this, it flat-out messes you up. In a good way.
A. This message is for you, but it’s bigger than you. What Jesus has done is so
big we believe it should extend way beyond you and me. It’s why we want to
lock arms together and share this message throughout our city. We believe
our city can be a tipping point for the Gospel. As goes our city, so goes our
region, and beyond.
B. One of the primary reasons our church exists is to share this message with
people. This week we have an extraordinary opportunity to invite people to
come and experience this truth. Some Sundays are plain easier to invite
people to church than others. Next week is one of those Sundays.
C. Be bold and invite or bring one person to church with you. Aren’t you glad
someone invited you? You might be afraid, but you shouldn’t be! I can prove
it to you. How many of you started coming here because someone invited
you? How many of you are mad at that person for inviting you?
D. [Give a specific example of HOW to invite someone to church. (Point people
to your website, Facebook page, etc.)]
E. But don’t rely solely on technology. Be bold. Call someone up and personally
invite them to church with you.
F. [Tell your Easter service times.]
G. What Jesus has done is so big; we believe it should extend way beyond you
and me. It’s why we want to lock arms together and share this message
throughout our city. We want people in our city to know that Easter is for
A. [Share a personal story about what this week and Easter Sunday means for
B. [Close by asking everyone to pray for the person they are going to invite next
EASTER FOR EVERYONE | SERMON OUTLINE
Part 2: The Greatest Miracle Yet
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the
spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled
away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the
Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes
that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed
down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you
look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how
he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be
delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be
raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.
Luke 24:1-8, NIV
You may be living in a Friday, but God knows that Sunday is coming.
A. Have you ever asked someone a common question and gotten a real answer?
Let’s say you passed someone and asked, “How are you?” They responded
by sharing about how bad their kids are behaving, all the problems they’re
having with their car, and their grandmother’s health struggles. Before you
know it, they’re tearing up a bit, and you don’t know what to do. On one
hand, you appreciate the fact that someone actually answered that question.
On the other hand, you probably would’ve been happier if they had just said
“Fine” or “Doing good.”
B. The truth is that it makes most of us uncomfortable to hear someone else talk
about what’s really wrong in their lives. We don’t like to talk about (or hear
about) things like pain, sadness, sickness, bad days, death, tragedy, etc. We’d
rather talk about sports, the weather, and our bosses. Especially in church.
C. But it could be that the reason we feel so uncomfortable about negative stuff
is because it’s so confusing to us. We only know how to handle the good
stuff. When things are good, we have answers to everyone’s questions. We
have prayers of thanksgiving and praise. But when things are bad, we don’t
have a lot to offer. Which is unfortunate. Because every one of us deals with
the harder things in life at some point or another, and yet we don’t know what
to do when that happens.
D. What do we do when things don’t go the way we want in life? In those
moments, we throw up our hands and ask the questions that everyone ask at
some point or another…God, where are you? Where did you go? Why aren’t
you doing anything?
E. If you’ve ever asked any of these questions, then at some point you’ve
probably gotten mad about them, too. I mean, if God is all-powerful and
capable of pulling off the impossible, why doesn’t He do it more often?
Why doesn’t He do it for us?
F. Whether it’s drama with your kids, health struggles, financial difficulties, or
some other struggle, we all know what it’s like to ask, “God, where are you?”
And I want you to know that no matter what has led you to ask that question,
today is for you. Because Easter is for everyone. And if you fall into the
category of “everyone,” then Easter’s answer to pain is for you, too!
G. Think about rock-climbing. I don’t know how much you know about the sport.
But when climbers climb, they put clamps in crevices to hold them to the rock
in case they lose their footing. It gives them something to hold on to. [Show a
picture of rock-climbing with clamps if possible.]
H. And that’s what today is all about: giving you something crucial to hold on to
through the worst times of life. It’s something to grab ahold of that keeps you
from falling when you feel like you’re slipping during hard times. It’s
something that I think could completely change your perspective on the bad
things that happen in your life and in the lives of those around you. Whether
you’re a regular church-attender or you’re just trying to check this Easter
service off your list, this is for you!
I. We start by joining in with Jesus and His disciples during the lowest point of
their time together. Jesus is on a cross, and His disciples are standing on a hill
nearby watching their leader and friend die. We need to really tune in to what
is happening in this moment, because this where the disciples are asking the
same questions you and I have asked: “God, where are You? What are You
doing? Surely this isn’t the plan, is it? You’re going to do something, right?
You were supposed to save Israel, be our king, and rein forever. Is this how
You’re going to let it end?”
J. They were hurt, shocked, and outraged. God hadn’t done what they
expected Him to do. And here’s the crazy part: Jesus was hurt, too. One of
the things Jesus Himself yelled out on the cross was, “My God, My God why
have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 NIV). Wow. The Son of God asks the
very same question that we ask when bad and hopeless things happen to us
—my God, why?
K. That’s where the disciples were as they watched Jesus suffer, struggle, cry
out, and ultimately die. And God did nothing.
L. But as hard as it was to believe at the time, the story didn’t end there. Jesus
died on a Friday and was buried. But Scripture tells us that on the third day—
which we understand to mean Sunday—something happened.
II. LUKE 24:1-8
A. [Read Luke 24:1-8.]
B. Don’t miss this question: Why are you looking for the living among the dead?
In other words, He isn’t here—He’s risen! This was His plan all along! This is a
big deal. Because Jesus’s death and resurrection wasn’t just God stepping in
to correct the story when things took a wrong turn.
C. When the disciples thought God was absent, idle, or not paying
attention, He was actually engineering the greatest miracle of all time.
When it seemed as though God was failing, He was actually putting the final
touches on the most important event in all of human history—the resurrection
of Jesus from the dead! The resurrection wasn’t just an incident; it was the
pivotal moment in the whole story!
D. On Friday when Jesus was murdered, it appeared as though God wasn’t
lifting a finger to save the day. But on Sunday, we realize that He was actually
moving to do something so impossible, awesome, and glorious, that people
have actually been basing the hope of their lives (and eternities) on it ever
since. On Friday, people thought Jesus was dead. But on Sunday, they saw
E. That’s what God did for Jesus on that Sunday morning—something He had
been planning to do since the very beginning. All throughout history, when
things looked like they were broken and couldn’t be fixed, God knew that the
resurrection would eventually make things better. God was in charge of
pulling off the resurrection. Why? Because God is really interested in fixing
broken things. He cares about broken people, and He cares about a broken
F. Jesus being raised from the dead wasn’t just to make Jesus look good. It was
to show the world that God had been involved the whole time. When things
seemed hopeless, and we were helpless and desperate, God was up to
something that would change the game.
G. If God had a plan from the beginning of the story for His Son, He has a plan
now for you now. Because when the story seems to have ended on Friday, it
takes a whole new turn on Sunday!
• No matter who you are.
• No matter what you’ve done.
• No matter how far away from God you feel.
• No matter how bad things feel in your story.
H. The resurrection is something you can hold on to. His involvement and plan
in the midst of your hurt and pain is like a rock-climbing clamp you can
implement in case you slip or fall. This anchor holds no matter what difficulty
you’re going through—sickness, poverty, relationship hurt, anxiety,
depression, or fear. You can hold on to the resurrection. Why? Because the
resurrection allows us to have a relationship with Jesus. It offers us hope
and Someone we can count on when things get difficult. The resurrection
gives us confidence in a bigger story. It assures us that God is still in control—
even when it feels otherwise. It tells us God is still involved, even when we
can’t always see evidence of it. It tells us that God is still active and
participating in the story. The Big Story. Your story. You may be living in a
Friday, but God knows that Sunday is coming!
I. That doesn’t mean that things always turn out the way we expect or like. Your
kids may still struggle. You may still get alarming reports from your doctors.
Your bank account may still have ups and downs. But what God has promised
us is that in the big picture, there’s another Sunday coming that will change
J. Because of the resurrection, our own Sunday is coming. The resurrection
gives us the hope of heaven, which is the ultimate Sunday! The day is coming
when He’s going to give you, your mom, and your grandma a new body: one
that doesn’t get sick or die. The day is coming when He’s going to make this
whole planet new. It will be a place where people don’t hurt or leave each
other. He’s going to wipe every tear from our eyes.
K. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or
mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed
away.” (Revelation 21:4 NIV)
L. And I know that a lot of you feel like it’s Friday. You feel like the disciples did
when their leader was dead and they were wondering where God was. You,
too, may wonder if God is even around. And if He is, you wonder what in the
world He’s doing. But no matter who you are and what you’re going through,
I want you to know that you can have confidence that God is around, He
does have a plan, and He’s offering all of us heaven one day.
M. You can hold onto the promise that God is working His greatest miracle yet.
Sunday is coming, and that’s when…
• What is dead will be brought back to life.
• What feels forever lost will be restored.
• What’s impossible will be made possible.
N. And that’s the anchor you can hold on to today. That’s what will hold you up
no matter what comes your way in life. It might feel like Friday, but Sunday is
coming. And when we get to Sunday, God can do anything. The resurrection,
what we celebrate on Easter, shows us that He can even raise the dead to life!
A. Here’s where this intersects your life right now: Some of you are in the middle
of a situation right now where you’re calling out to God to do something big.
To prevent a Friday from even happening. To show up and stop whatever
pain and hurt you’re in the middle of. It’s great to keep praying and crying
out to God for that! But while you wait for God to move, I want you to
hold onto to what He’s already done, and I want you to put your hope in
what He will do one day.
B. In the resurrection, God has given all of us the promise that Sunday is coming
—that heaven is coming—and that one day, all the things you’re asking Him
for will be true because of Jesus.
C. Easter is for everyone, because everyone can hold on to the resurrection.
D. So your prayers at this time could sound something like this…“God I’m
praying for my mom’s sickness. Heal it please! I need You! Let me say that
again, I need You! But while I wait, I just want to say that I’m also thankful.
Because I know that Sunday’s coming. And that’s awesome, because even if
You don’t answer this prayer the way I want you to, I know the day isn’t here
yet when everything will be as it should. The day’s coming when You’re going
to give her a new, perfect body and we’ll be together forever and ever. So
thank you that I can count on a future Sunday! Thank you that by resurrecting
Jesus from the dead, I have confidence in what will happen one day. I’m still
asking for the healing today. I still want it. But if all else fails, I’m still holding
on to the resurrection and the hope that You’re working now and for our
E. Some of you may not be in a situation like this right now, but you know
someone who is. You need to bring hope to their situation. You need to get
in the middle of it alongside of them and start praying for whatever
they’re praying for. Pray with them and for them. And as you do, know that
the hope of the resurrection is the best hope anyone could ever have. It tells
us God has a plan and Sunday is coming!
A. You have a Heavenly Father who loves you so much that He sent you His Son,
not simply to die and be raised from the dead, but to initiate a relationship
with you, and to give people a future hope and confidence in the fact that He
hasn’t abandoned us. He’s with us! He came to fix what is broken. And He did
so by raising Jesus from the dead. That one event is the greatest event in
human history. Because of it, we can hold on, even in the most challenging of
life’s circumstances, however hopeless they may feel.
B. You may be living in a Friday, but God knows that Sunday is coming