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It is Finished - Life of Christ Part 108

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
February 22, 2024 7:00 am

It is Finished - Life of Christ Part 108

So What? / Lon Solomon

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How many of you here in the last, oh, I don't know, two, three weeks have run a mile? That's actually more of you than I realized. All right. My younger son was training for this, you know, presidential fitness deal that they have to do, and so we were going over to the track at one of the local high schools and he was running the track.

And so Brenda said to me, well, you know, it's important when your children are doing things that you do them with them, you know, it's not just make them do it, you know, do it with them, so you need to get out there and run. Have you ever tried to run one of those things four times around? That is a long way. Unbelievable. So I was reduced to cheering him on from the sideline after a while.

I was like, go, John, run. You can do it. It's not that hard.

Right. You know, the marathon is 26.2 of those babies. 26 miles. Can you imagine running 26 miles and at the pace that these people run it? And it was in this marathon, the Olympic marathon that I think one of the most courageous things I've ever seen personally in sports, and I saw it on television, ever happened back in 1968 at the Mexico City Olympics. If you didn't see it then, you might have seen it since on replay, but it was during the Olympic marathon. The marathon was over.

In fact, it was an hour over. The medals had been handed out, you know, the crowd had kind of switched their attention to other things that were going on in the stadium when suddenly a young man from Tanzania, his name was John Stephen Akwari, comes running into the Olympic stadium. He's got a big bandage on his leg where he'd fallen down. He's got blood just running all down his leg and everything. He comes running in, really not running. I'd say the right word is hobbling into the stadium. And he goes all the way around the track to where the finish line was for the guy who finished an hour before him and won the race.

When he finally finished, he just collapsed, and later on they ask him, you know, why did you do this? You didn't have a chance at all. Why didn't you just, when you realized the race was over and you had lost, why didn't you just go ahead and stop, go back to the hotel, take a shower, clean up, have fun, whatever. Here's what he said.

And I'm quoting. He said, my country did not send me to Mexico City to start the race. They sent me to finish the race.

And I did. Man, that's impressive. This guy was a finisher.

It's easy to be a starter. Being a finisher is a whole different game. And today we're going to look at Jesus Christ finish something grand and difficult. I think there's something majestic about finishing a grand task. And Jesus finished one. And we're going to talk about that because here in John chapter 19, he says the last of seven things that he says hanging on the cross, you know, we've been studying those seven things were number seven, and then it's done.

So I want you to look with me. I think there's some great spiritual lessons here. We're in chapter 19 of John's gospel. And here's what it says, verse 30. And when he, Jesus, had received this vinegar that we talked about last week to drink, he said, it is finished. And with that, he bowed his head, and he gave up his spirit.

It is finished. Now these three words, when properly understood, form the real foundation of what we think of as all the security that's in the Christian faith. And right now, the words of Jesus, I mean, these three words, we're going to build a lot on this a little later this morning.

But right now the words of Jesus are under severe attack. I don't know if you saw Newsweek or Time or US News and World Report around Easter, but all three magazines had a front page article, a cover story on this Jesus seminar, which is a group of 77 scholars, I use the word advisedly, who meet two times a year to vote. Say, what do they vote on? Well, they vote on whether or not Jesus really said the words that the Bible says he said. And here's how it works. They have four marbles in front of each of these 77 people.

They have a red marble, a pink marble, a gray marble, and a black marble. And they pass around a container. And being under consideration is one thing Jesus said, whatever happens to be, it is finished, whatever.

Everybody votes. If you think Jesus really said it, and you're sure he said it, you put your red marble in. If you're one of those 77 scholars, and you think Jesus said, well, you know, maybe there's a good chance you put your pink marble in. If you think, I don't really think he said it, but there's always the outside, you put your gray marble in.

And if you think, no way in the world could he possibly have said that, you put your black marble in. Then they total the score up, and they decide what it was Jesus said and what he didn't say. And 18 months ago, they came out with their first copy of the gospel accounts. And it might not surprise you to learn almost everything that the gospel say Jesus said, they don't think he said. It's a very short rendering of the Gospels. Did you know, for example, in the Lord's Prayer, you know, our Father who art in heaven, Hallelujah, you know how many words in that prayer that the Jesus seminar thinks Jesus actually said? Two, guess which words? Our Father, that's it.

Everything else is up for grabs. They think he said that for sure. Now, what's my reaction to these people? My reaction is that these guys need to get a life.

That's my reaction. I mean, to think that they can deconstruct and reconstruct what Jesus said 2000 years later, to suggest that they know more about what Jesus said than eyewitnesses. And eyewitnesses, I might remind you, every one of which paid with their own life on crosses, in lion's den, in dungeons, having their heads cut off, they paid with their lives rather than change the story and deny what Jesus said and what was written that he said. To think that these guys 2000 years later have a better idea than the eyewitnesses who gave their lives to defend what Jesus said. Come on, give me a break.

Give me a break. In fact, in Time Magazine, quoting a professor from Trinity Divinity School, listen to this. He said, if scholars need multiple independent sources to prove that an event really occurred, the evidence is much stronger for the Bible than for many other ancient events that are never challenged. We have only two first century accounts of Hannibal's unlikely crossing of the Alps with 38 elephants, but nobody doubts it. And then he goes on to talk about the incredible amount of information we have regarding the biblical accounts.

Finally, he closes and says, we have a sort of greasy logic here. An anti supernatural bias. Even if we had a sworn affidavit from a first century pathologist stating that Jesus arose and was alive and well, these folks still wouldn't believe it. The point is what we have here, friends, is not scholarship. This is not scholarship that's happening.

This is religious bias being covered over with scholarship. He said, but Lon, what difference does it make? I mean, you're being so picky. I mean, all right.

So we don't have the exact words Jesus spoke. So what if we don't? We got the general idea. We got the big picture.

We got the broad scope. I mean, what difference does it make? So maybe he didn't say it is finished.

Maybe he said I'm done. So what difference does it make? It's the same thing. No, no, no.

Wait a minute. The words Jesus spoke are critical. Matthew four, Jesus said, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every what word, not every general principle that came out of the mouth of God, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God. Listen, Matthew 24, Jesus said, heaven and earth will pass away, but my what? Broad ideas will never pass away.

No. He said, my words will never pass away. In John chapter six, Jesus said the words that I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life. And then because of what he was saying, when everybody started leaving him and forsaking him, he said to his disciples later in John six, he said, Hey, you guys want to go away too?

Remember what they said? They said, Lord, where are we going to go? You are the one who has the words of eternal life. All my friends, everything hangs on the words that Jesus spoke. And he spoke a word here and said, it is finished. Actually, it's three words in English, but it's only one word in Greek.

It's the word to tell a thigh, which in Greek literally means to finish something completely, to bring it to perfect completion, to finish it in full, to accomplish it in full. And Jesus said, I have finished it. I'm done. It's over.

Yes. Doesn't it feel great to tackle a really nasty job, a really tough job and finish it? I mean, if I were to say to you, all right, think of a really hard job that maybe you didn't want to do, but you did it. And after it was over, you felt great.

What would you think of? Well, if you've got children, I know what you think of. If you're a woman, you think of that birth. Now I can't relate to that. Thank God. I never ever done that. Never want to do that.

Never. You couldn't talk me into doing that ladies, but you know, I'm sure I've met a gal in the hall between services who's pregnant. And she said, when I'm done, I'm going to lay there and I'm going to go finished. And I said, yes, you will.

And you'll be glad. But so I can't relate to that. You know what I think of when I think of one of these kinds of jobs where you feel so great when you finish, I think of riding the life cycle at the gym.

See, I don't want to get on it to start with, but I do. And I ride it way up at the top level 11 and 12, and I ride it for 40 minutes. And man, I'm just a pumping and I'm working. And I had a young guy in the gym, a guy who works there come up to me this past week. And he looked at me and he looked at the life cycle. They looked at the level I was riding on. He goes, why are you riding at such a high level? Which being interpreted means an old man like you is going to have a heart attack and die in here.

That's what he meant. And then we got a call to rescue squad and deal with you. Why are you doing this?

And I said, Hey, look, man, my father had four heart attacks and finally the fourth one killed him. And I don't want to die like that. That's why I'm doing this. And when I start feeling like, you know, giving up on that thing, I just remember that the alternative is they crack my chest open, split my breastbone, pull my heart out of its cavity, lay it on my stomach, stop it from breathing, so little things all over it. And when it's all done, put it back in and hope it works. I get real motivation to keep riding. I'm like, no, I think I can do this.

This sounds like more fun than that does. Now, when I get all done, I feel great. I am soaking wet. My shirt is soaking wet. My drawers are soaking wet.

My socks are soaking wet when I'm done. But man, I feel great. I feel so good. You know what I feel like?

I actually feel like going out and treating myself to a big old bowl of Haagen Dazs. That's what I feel like. Yeah.

All right. But I feel great. Now, Jesus, I believe when he said it's finished, I think he felt great because he had taken on a really difficult task too, much more difficult than riding a life cycle. And he'd finished it. So what did he do? Well, he came to earth and he lived a sinless life. He came to earth and he fulfilled every speck of Old Testament prophecy about the Messiah there was. He offered himself as the lamb of God. He allowed them to put him on a cross. For the last three hours, he has allowed the sin of the entire human race to be transferred to him and he's accepted it and he's paid for it.

And now he's ready to die. Jesus finished it. It's done. And with those words, he's telling us that our plan of salvation, our access into heaven, it's done. It's finished.

He did it for us. Now that's the end of the passage, but it leads us to ask a really important question. What's the question? So what?

Right. Giving funerals is not the favoritest part of my job. That's not the part that I really enjoy all that much. But in 15 years of being a pastor, almost 16 now, I have never turned down a funeral. I turned down weddings because I can't do them all. I turned down speaking engagements all the time, but I've never turned down a funeral if somebody's asked me to be a part of it. And I hope I never will because I just feel like that's a different deal when somebody's passed away and somebody's family wants you to be part of that service. I just feel you just never say no to that.

You just don't, no matter how busy you are. So I had a chance to speak at this lady's funeral and I visited her about three weeks before in the hospital. She was dying of cancer and she left a husband and three young children. I couldn't even look at the family during the service because I mean, I knew if I looked at these three little children, I was history.

You know what I'm saying? I was not going to make it. But when I went to visit her in the hospital, I have never seen anybody facing death with more dignity and with more assurance than this woman. As I talked to her in the hospital, I thought, gosh, if I knew I was dying of cancer and leaving behind children, I don't know that I could really be everything this woman is. And she wasn't just pasting it on.

I mean, this was the way it really was. So dignified, incredible to me. But this woman knew some things about the salvation that Jesus just talked about, that it's finished. She knew some things about it that led to her having that kind of dignity as she looked right into the eyes of eternity. And I want to tell you the three things that she knew because I believe when we're facing eternity, God wants us to be able to face it with that same dignity that this woman did. So let me tell you three quick things about this finished salvation. And the first one is this, that our salvation that Jesus finished is totally complete.

There are no missing pieces at all. I want you to turn to Hebrews chapter 10 if you would. It's page 851 in our copy of the Bible, page 851. In the Old Testament days, the temple stood in Jerusalem and the priests would sacrifice animals in the temple and God would accept those animal sacrifices as payment for Sib.

You know that. Well, Jesus right here in Hebrews 10, we're comparing those with what Jesus did for us on the cross. And look what it says in verse 11. Day after day, every priest stands and performs his religious duties.

Again and again, he offers the same sacrifices. If you go to Israel today, if you go with me, we go to a place called the Temple Institute. And then the Temple Institute, they are rebuilding all the furniture, all the equipment to stock a third temple that they're hoping to rebuild someday in Jerusalem. They're not building these things for museum pieces. They're building them according to the exact specifications of the Bible to be used in temple worship again. Well, they've got all kinds of things in there. They've got big lamp stands and all kinds of paraphernalia and tables. But you know the one piece of furniture they don't have and they'll never build at the Temple Institute?

You know what it is? A chair. See, there were no chairs in the temple. You say, what do you mean? You think I have a chair? No, no chairs.

Say why? Because the priest, look what it says in verse 11. Day after day, every priest, what? Stands. They were never allowed to sit down.

You say, well, why? Because when you sit down, it's a symbol of the fact you finished your work. And their work was never finished. Day after day, they offered the same sacrifices over and over and over, which could never fully deal with sin and take it away. So God never wanted him to sit down because he never wanted the message to be even slightly communicated that their job was ever done. Now look at verse 12. But when this priest, Jesus Christ, had offered one sacrifice for sins, his body on the cross for all time, watch, he sat down at the right hand of God.

Look, verse 14, because, here's why he sat down, because by one sacrifice, his death on the cross, he has made perfect forever those of us who've trusted him as our Savior, and are being made holy by him. You know why there's no temple in Jerusalem today? Why there hasn't been for 1900 years? Because it's irrelevant. It's unnecessary. It's superfluous.

You don't need it. Because it was only a temporary fix. Now we've got the real deal. Now we've got a salvation that is totally complete.

There are no missing pieces. And Jesus didn't have to keep sacrificing himself over and over and over and over and over again, like these priests did. He did it once, it was done, it's complete. In fact, that's what Jesus said on the cross.

He said, it is finished. And he used a Greek tense to say this that's very seldom used in the New Testament. I don't talk to you much about Greek, the language in which the New Testament was written. But this is really important. He used the perfect tense in Greek, hardly ever used in the New Testament.

But when it is used, obviously, it's significant. Here's what the perfect tense means. It means that something was finished, something was completed, but the results of that keep going and going and going and going and going. Jesus said, it's finished, finished and finished and finished and finished and finished for all of time. The perfect tense in Greek is what you would use if you wanted to translate the energizer bunny into Greek.

He used the perfect tense. And so on the cross, what Jesus is really saying is look, I'm finishing something today. And 100 years from now, 1000 years from now, 2000 years from now into eternity, it's always going to be finished.

In fact, this word it is finished was also used as a technical term in commerce to stand for PIF, paid in full, they would write that on bills, they would write this Greek word to tell us that on bills, meaning paid in full. And so Jesus on the cross was saying, folks, I am paying your sins in full today. And 2000 years later, they are still paid in full. And as long as eternity lasts, they'll always be paid in full.

It's finished, complete. The second thing Jesus tells us about the salvation, the second thing this woman knew is that not only is our salvation totally complete, but it's unconditional. And by that I mean it's not based on any human performance. There's no works involved. You have to do anything to keep it, maintain it, preserve it, nothing.

It's unconditional. Let me show you that in the Bible. I want you to turn back to John chapter 10. It's page 760 in our copy of the Bible, page 760, John 10. And please look with me at verse 27, John chapter 10, verse 27.

My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me. Verse 28, and I give them eternal life. Jesus said this, they don't earn it.

I give it to them, watch, and they shall never perish. Now that word never is one of the most important words anywhere in the Bible. I don't know whether these 77 clowns put red marbles or pink marbles or brown marbles in on that word, but regardless of what they put on the word, Jesus said the word never.

And why is that word so important? Listen, because if there were anything you or I had to do to keep our salvation, maintain our salvation, preserve our salvation, complete our salvation, anything at all that you and I had to do no matter how small it is, Jesus couldn't say never because you could blow it, because you could mess it up. How can Jesus say never if it's possible to mess it up? But he said they shall never perish. Now the only way Jesus could make that firm airtight promise is if you and I can do nothing whatsoever to mess this thing up. If it's totally unconditional, if it has nothing to do with our performance and thank God, that's the way it is. Because believe me, if you and I had even the slightest part to play, we'd mess it up.

Have you guys been keeping up with March shot lately? Huh? The bad girl of baseball, the owner of the Cincinnati Reds.

What's with this woman? I mean, how stupid can you be? You own a major league baseball team. I mean, it doesn't get any better than that, even if they are the Cincinnati Reds. All right.

But it still doesn't get any better than owning a major league baseball team. And what is with this woman? She can't keep her big mouth shut.

Racial and ethnic slurs that I wouldn't even repeat. You remember when John McSherry, that umpire dropped dead on opening day? That was in Cincinnati. The game was canceled. I guess so.

A guy drops dead on the field. And you know what she said? And I'm quoting, she said, I don't believe it.

Snow this morning. And now this, I feel cheated. Can you believe this? What is with her?

She was the one who went on the radio a couple weeks ago and said, Adolf Hitler was really a pretty good guy at the beginning. But then towards the end, he kind of got a little crazy. Major league baseball this week has taken control of the team away from her.

And they should. You talk about self-destructing. This woman's like, you know, Mission Impossible type thing. And you look at her, there's a tendency to say, oh, you know, yeah, poor lady, you know, what a nut case. But hey, there's been a lot of other people who have had things good in their life and couldn't handle it.

Self-destructed. Let's think of some. Pete Rose, John Belushi, Kurt Cobain, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, Tonya Harding. Hey, I can think of one more. Adam. Say, Adam. Adam who? Adam in the Bible, Adam. The guy with no belly button. You know what I'm talking about? Adam, Adam. This guy.

Okay, that's the one. Hey, did this guy self-destruct or what? You talk about having it good. This guy's got it great. Look, he's got a perfect environment. He's got perfect food, perfect clothing, perfect shelter, a perfect job, perfect relationships. He even gets along with snakes. This guy's got it great.

How much better can he get? And you know what? In his whole world, there's only one little itsy bitsy, itsy little tiny thing he can't do. That's it.

Only one way he can blow it. And it's this little one thing. Can you imagine what life would be like if there was only one thing in all of life you could get wrong?

Huh? Only one thing in the whole world you could mess up? Would that be great or what? I mean, what would wives have to talk to their husbands about if there was only one thing we could mess up? But there's not. We mess all kinds of stuff up. And you know, in spite of the fact that Adam only had one little thing, he still self-destructed on it, didn't he?

Amazing. See, the real truth, folks, is you and I have in us, we're wired to self-destruct. And God knows that. And that's why God in his love made a salvation plan that you and I can't possibly mess up. Because if we could, we would. And I'm grateful God made it the way he did.

I got one third point, and that's this. Not only do we have a salvation that is totally complete, and not only do we have one that's unconditional, but last of all, we've got one that's been authenticated. You say, what do you mean by that? I mean that God has given us proof that it's true, it's reliable, it's right, it's authentic. And what is that proof? It was when Jesus rose from the dead. Romans chapter one says that God authenticated Jesus Christ as the Son of God by raising him from the dead. And in Acts chapter two, when Peter was preaching to the crowd, he said, hey, you know, crowd, Jesus was authenticated to you by miracles and signs and wonders, and now God has authenticated him to the max by raising him from the dead. When I was considering whether I should make a decision for Jesus Christ as a college student, the man who was talking to me said, because I wasn't sure about this, you know, I said, well, you know, Buddha's pretty cool guy. And I've been reading the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu's pretty cool guy. And then there's Rabbi Schneerson, you know, in Orthodox Jews.

I mean, he's pretty cool guy. How do I know this Jesus character is really the right one? Here's what he said to me. He said, Well, on it's kind of like this, you get to a crossroads, and there's two roads and they split. And standing by one road is this really healthy, strong guy, you know, alive as the day is long pointing down the road and saying, hey, you go this way, there's food, there's water, everything's taken care of, you'll make it.

And you look down the other road, there's nothing but skeletons and corpses lying all down the road. He said, Now, which road would you take? I said, Well, you know, I mean, any smart person will go down the road. He said, That's right. He said, Well, let me tell you something, you look down that road to the one side, you got Buddhist corpse, you got Confucius corpse, you got Joseph Smith's corpse. And he said, when Rabbi Schneerson is ready, you'll have his corpse. And Rabbi Schneerson, you know, died and people camped out at his tomb waiting for him to rise from the dead.

Guess what? He's not up yet. And he said, going down the other road, you've got the risen Son of God saying, Hey, this is the way that'll get you there. So you make the choice. I thought about that. And I thought, there's some wisdom in this.

And I made a choice that I'm not sorry about 25 years ago. And folks, if Muhammad or Buddha or Joseph Smith or Rabbi Schneerson, if God had raised them from the dead, hey, I'd be following him. But God authenticated that when Jesus said, I am the way the truth and the life, nobody gets to heaven unless they come by way of what I did on the cross. God raised Jesus from the dead to authenticate.

That's right. Because of these three truths, we have a salvation that's totally complete. We have one that is unconditional.

And we have one that's been authenticated. That woman lay in that bed and said, I'm ready for eternity. I'm ready, not happy to be going. But I'm ready. And folks, you and I can be too.

You and I can be too, if we'll just believe the Word of God. You know, the saddest funeral I ever went to my whole life was my grandmother's funeral. She and my grandfather, I talked to them over and over and over again about giving their life to Christ.

That trusting Jesus as their Messiah, they weren't interested. And when my grandmother died, and we had the service, you know, at the graveside, and they had the casket sitting right over, you know, where they're going to lower it down, you know, and everybody's sitting under the green little tent. Towards the end of the service, the rabbi was leading this thing. My grandfather just, he freaked. He just went totally crazy. He jumped up, he ran over, he leaped on top of this coffin.

I'm telling you, I've never seen anything like this in my whole life. And he straddled the top of this coffin with his whole body, grabbing onto the handles on the side, and laying there totally prostrate on this casket. He starts wailing and shrieking and screaming and yelling. And I wasn't sure whether I was supposed to do anything.

But even if I were, I had no clue, what do you do? I didn't know what to do. And that went on for minutes like that. You could hear it. It was the eeriest sound. Today, even when I think about it, I get goosebumps.

It's the eeriest sound. But see, that's what it's like to have somebody go out into eternity and have no clue what's going to happen to them, or what's going to happen to you, whether you're ever going to see them again. God has something so much better for us, folks. God had something better for my grandfather and my grandmother.

If they would have humbled themselves enough to accept it, they wouldn't. But God doesn't want you to be like that. God doesn't want you to face eternity like that. God wants you to know and have confidence and have dignity about what's going to happen to you. And that's why He's taken the time to tell us in the Bible what He has. And that's why Jesus Christ came and died on the cross and said, it is finished. Now you've got something you can hold on to. If you're here and you've trusted Christ as your personal Savior, I hope what we've talked about today will give you that kind of confidence that you need to face eternity with assurance.

Forget what these clowns are doing with the marbles. You trust the Word of God. And if you've never trusted Christ as your personal Savior, hey, the road with the skeletons, folks, are the one with the living person.

It's your choice, but I hope you'll make a good one. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, we are so grateful that in a world where eternity is going to be on every one of us before it's all over, that you've not left us adrift, that you've not left us in confusion, but that you have taken the time to inform us about what eternity looks like. And much more important than that, that Jesus Christ came to this world and did a mission and fulfilled it that has enabled us to have access to eternal life and to heaven and to assurance about eternity. And Father, I want to pray for those of us here who have trusted you that you would use the words of Jesus today to strengthen and deepen and solidify our faith. And Father, for those of us here who have never trusted you, I pray that you would use what we've talked about to challenge their thinking and to bring them to a decision point for Jesus Christ. Thank you for your love for us. Thank you that you went to the cross and gave your life for the simple reason that you love us. Help us love you in return, I pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-22 10:19:10 / 2024-02-22 10:32:10 / 13

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