Today on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. God changed me. I didn't just have a personality adjustment.
I didn't read a book. I had the power of Jesus come into me and that's because God made Jesus who knew no sin to become my sin that I might become the righteousness of God in him and now in him I'm a new creation and that means all things are passed away and behold all things are become new. Friend, that can be true for you also today. Welcome back to Summit Life with pastor, author, and theologian J.D.
Greer. As always, I'm your host Molly Vidovitch. Thank you for spending Good Friday with us. I just want to let you know that whatever pain you are suffering right now it is all what the apostle Paul called light and momentary and not because your pain isn't real but it's because of what God has waiting for you in eternity if you believe in him. So while today is a day to somberly remember Christ's death, we look ahead to the beauty of his resurrection as well. Today pastor J.D. helps us understand what Jesus has done for us and how to make the most important decision of our lives. Now if you've missed any of the previous messages in this teaching series you can always find them free of charge at JDCreer.com but right now let's see what God has to teach us.
Pastor J.D. titled this Easter Sunday message, Because He Lives. One of the Old Testament pictures of the coming Messiah was the yearly sacrifice that each Jewish family was required to participate in. Each year the father of every family would bring a lamb, a perfect unblemished lamb, and he would lay that lamb on the altar and then he would lay his hand on the head of that lamb and he would begin to confess the sins of the family that year. And as he did that, as he confessed those sins, the priest, the Jewish priest, would slit the throat of the lamb. The picture was clear, the lamb was dying in the place of the family for the sins that they had committed. It was all a picture of the coming Messiah and this is what we now do with Jesus.
He has died on the cross for sin but we have to place our hand of faith on his head saying, I receive you as mine. And y'all, it's not just forgiveness and a new perspective that we receive. Paul was changed.
When you trust Christ, the power of the resurrection, the power that brought Jesus's dead body out of the grave actually comes into you. In Christ, the murderer becomes the lover, the racist becomes the humble servant, the cheating husband becomes the faithful father, the addict becomes the trusted friend. Paul says by the grace of God, I now am what I am now. I'm not what I used to be. God changed me. I didn't just have a personality adjustment.
I didn't read a book. I had the power of Jesus come into me and that's because God made Jesus who knew no sin to become my sin that I might become the righteousness of God in him. And now in him, I'm a new creation and that means all things are passed away and behold all things are become new. Friend, that can be true for you also today.
Today. Number three, because he lives, death has no more sting. In verse 55, Paul says that because of the resurrection, death is swallowed up in victory.
Then Paul proclaims, oh grave, where's your victory? Oh death, where is your sting? The sting of death, y'all, is its permanence. When you bury somebody that you love, you feel like you'll never see that person again, but their life is over and they're gone forever. But see, Christ has taken that sting away. On the cross, Jesus took the curse of death into himself so that now when we or a loved one enter into death, it's not permanent.
It's just a transition and I don't have to be afraid of it anymore. I remember hearing one time about a dad who was driving down the interstate. His little three-year-old daughter was in the backseat of their car and suddenly she began to scream, daddy, daddy, a bee, a bee.
She was terrified of bees and she was deathly allergic to them. So the dad rolled down the window and doing that thing that we dads try to do that probably endangers everyone on the highway. We're trying to shoo the thing out leaning out in the backseat, but he couldn't get the yellow jacket out. And so the dad started to panic. So he pulled the car over because now he made the bee mad.
So he pulled the car over. He got out and jumped in the back seat and trapped the bee against the glass with his hand. And now after a moment, he pulled his hand back and the bee flew away.
The little girl started to scream again. She's like, daddy, daddy, the bee, the bee is going to come back. But the dad says, sweetheart, no, no, no, that bee cannot hurt you anymore. And he opened his palm and showed her the bee stinger lodged in the palm of his hand. On the cross, Jesus took the stinger of death into his hand so that there would be no more sting left for us. And so now you see when we approach death, while it is still incredibly sad, it's got no more sting. And that means I don't have to be afraid of it.
Or let me change the metaphor. There was a pastor that I knew of a little younger than I am. His wife died when his kids were very young. His oldest daughter was 12 years old. He was driving them from the funeral service to the graveside service. His 12 year old daughter was sitting in the front seat.
She was really, really quiet. In his funeral message, the pastor had referenced Psalm 23, where David famously said, yay, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. This little 12 year old girl said, daddy, what does it mean that mommy has gone into the shadow of death? He said, I was thinking there about how I could answer her when suddenly a big truck passed us going the other direction. And for just a brief moment, that truck cast a shadow over our car, and then it was gone. And so he said, I turned to my 12 year old daughter and I said, I said, you see that truck, honey? Would you rather be hit by that truck or by its shadow? And she said, well, by the shadow, of course, daddy.
And he said, well, the truck of death hit Jesus so that only the shadow would pass over mommy. Death is still an enemy that we hate, but we no longer need to be afraid of it. Death has been defanged. Its stinger is gone. We often say during times of death, we say things like I lost my mom or I lost my wife, but in a truer sense, we have not lost them, have we?
We've just lost contact with them for a little while. That's why we don't say things around here like I'll never see my mom again, or I'll never see my wife again, or I'll never hug my grandma, or I'll never hold my baby again, because he lives, you absolutely will hold, see, and hug them again with your physical arms in the new world. Oh grave, where is your victory? Oh death, where is your sting? Number four, because he lives, our suffering is only light and momentary. Friend, I do not want to make light of your pain.
I really don't. And neither would Paul. Paul was personally familiar with the worst kinds of pain.
The death of loved ones, abandonment and betrayal by friends, loneliness, isolation, even torture. Yet Paul said because of the resurrection, the worst of this pain is only temporary and compared to what God has waiting for me in eternity, it's, he says to the Corinthians, it's only light and momentary. Many of you have heard of John Newton. He was the writer of the most famous worship song of all time, Amazing Grace. John Newton, if you did not know, started out his adult life as the captain of a slave ship, but then he had this radical conversion, and eventually he would lock arms with William Wilberforce and many other brave men and women to shut down the slave trade in the western world.
Newton's conversion to Christ cost him dearly. People asked him how he could remain so joyful even in the midst of pain, and he said this, he said, imagine a man who was told that he would inherit an estate worth millions of dollars. You can see him grinning in his carriage on his way to go and inherit his estate.
Now imagine this man, Newton said, as he rounds the last corner with only a short mile to go. In fact, you can see the estate property right up there ahead as his carriage begins to rattle. The axle comes undone and the carriage stops. He said, now imagine that same man with the estate insight inspecting his carriage and realizing that it's broken.
What a fool, Newton said, what a fool we would think that man if we saw him wringing his hands and blubbering out through tears for that remaining mile. Oh no, my carriage is broken. My carriage is broken.
He'd be a fool because just up ahead is a greater fortune than he could possibly imagine. Our pain now is only light and momentary compared to what is just up ahead for us. Again, I do not mean to make light of your pain. I'm not trying to say it's only like a broken carriage wheel.
I'm just saying that because he lives, it's temporary. The final moments before my mother passed, my dad and sister and I have the privilege just to be with her. As she struggled for those last few breaths, I'll never forget that just a small tear formed in her left eye socket. To be honest, I don't know exactly what caused it, but I will always vividly remember my dad taking out a Kleenex, married to her for 52 years and gently drying that tear out of her eye socket and stroking her face. Three to four minutes later, she was gone. All I could think about was that the next hand that touched my mother's face was a nail scarred hand who wiped away her final tear. I told my dad, I said, that was the last tear that my mother will ever shed. Y'all, what a week my mom has had. What joy she experiences day by day in eternity, and Lord, haste the day when my faith will be sight.
The clouds will be rolled back as the scroll. The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend. I can say it is well. It is well with my soul. Whatever pain you suffer because he lives, it's all, as Paul told the Corinthians, light and moments area, last day, number five, really quickly, because he lives.
Living for Jesus is the only wise choice, right? Paul says in verse 50, who else has overcome the grave? Who else are you going to follow? Who else are you going to idolize? Who else has stood on this stage right here, some of the most famous people in the world?
Who else could you and I ever gather in front of who has gone into a grave and come out of it? I'm going to say what you need is not performance. What you need is not money.
What you need is not education. You don't even need a repaired family. What you need is life back from the dead. And so Paul says in verse 58, therefore, my beloved brothers, you should be steadfast, unmovable if you're a Christian, always abounding in the work of the Lord, always giving your life away because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. Y'all, if Jesus was resurrected, what we do with Jesus and what we do for Jesus is all that really matters in life. This is Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. To find out more about this ministry, visit jdgreer.com. Before we finish up today's teaching, I want to share something exciting with you. We have a brand new resource available called the Gospel Flip Book. We talk about it a lot here on Summit Life, but spending time in God's Word is crucial for growing in our faith and becoming more like Christ. And that's why we've created this spiral bound flip book to help guide you through reading the four gospels. Think of it like your own set of gospel flashcards. There's a reading plan that takes you through all four books, information about the authors, key passages, important memory verses and reflective prayers. Whether you're a seasoned believer or a new Christian, the Gospel Flip Book is an excellent resource for diving deeper into God's Word.
To receive your copy, please call us at 866-335-5220 or visit jdgreer.com. Now let's return for the conclusion of today's teaching on Summit Life. My mom and dad had a phrase they taught to me from the time I was a kid. You've heard me say it if you've been at Summit Church, only one life to live will soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last. Y'all, if Jesus is resurrected, that statement is true. In Paul's letter to the Philippians, Paul said it this way, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Question, how would you fill in that statement? If we were just to say to you, hey, to live is blank, put it right there. To live is pleasure, to live is family, to live is money, to live is golf. Paul said to live is Christ and because of that, he could complete the verse to die is gain.
You see, here is the thing, anything else you put in that first blank besides Christ will make that last blank loss. If for you to live is money, then to die is loss. If for you to live is recognition or family or pleasure, then to die is loss. But if for you to live is Christ, then to die is gain. Friend, what you do with Jesus is the most important decision of your entire life because there is only one Savior who has overcome the curse of death for us by dying under it in our place and then rising again.
And what you do with him determines whether death for you is permanent or if it's just a transition. In the Rocky Mountains, there's a famous dividing line. It's marked by this big sign. I've actually been there and stood on that dividing line. All the water that falls to the east of that line flows downward toward the east, forming into streams that become rivers that eventually empty out into the Atlantic Ocean.
All the water on the west side of that line does the same thing but headed toward the opposite side of our country toward the Pacific. That means, y'all, that two raindrops falling side by side through the sky, buddies, friends, chatting it up on the way down, only inches apart, land on different sides of that line and end up oceans apart. You see, the thing is going to happen right here, right now. Seated side by side, inches apart are two people who will land on different sides of Jesus. And one of you will end up in the unspeakable joys of heaven. The other will end up in an eternal place of death and darkness.
Two people side by side today that end up eternities apart. Y'all, listen, for those in Christ, I said this a couple weeks ago, for those in Christ, this world is as close to hell as you're ever going to come. And for those of you outside of Christ, this world is as close to heaven as you're ever going to come. And what you do with Jesus makes the difference between those two.
And so this morning, I make no apologies about it. I stand up here in one of the largest stages in the triangle and I say, I'm going to give you a chance to respond to Jesus if you never have. I want to invite you right now to receive what Christ has done for you. You see, John 1 12, John the apostle said, for as many as received him, it was to them he gave the power to become the children of God. Salvation is a gift. It's a gift.
And like any other gift, you got to receive it. The heart of Christianity is not a new approach to morality. It's not a new reform to live better, to get more religious. The heart of Christianity is something that Jesus did for you that you got to receive. It's why we say Christianity is not about turning over a new leaf. Christianity is about receiving a new life. The Bible term is being born again or being saved.
Here's the question. Has that happened to you? Have you been born again? Have you been saved? Have you received Christ? That can happen right now. My second invitation is going to be for you to be baptized if you never have.
In fact, right now, at this very moment, we're going to have scores of teams that are going to get into place all around this arena, all around this amphitheater, and they're going to be ready to help coordinate what is about to happen. So you guys and you men and women, go ahead and move into position there. Baptism, listen to this, everybody else, baptism is a public profession of your faith in Jesus. We always say it's like the wedding ring. The wedding ring, you're supposed to do it as soon as you receive Jesus as your Savior. Just like putting on your wedding ring is the first thing you do after saying your vows. Right after I said I do to Veronica Marie McPeters, I put on this ring that showed everybody else that I now belong to her for the rest of our earthly lives. We want to give you a chance to put on that ring today. Now you say, but J.D., I brought no clothes and it's a great day and I was wondering about going home soaking wet, I got a new car, it's got leather seats, I don't want to do that.
Hey, good news, right, it's not our first rodeo. We got every size pair of shorts and shirts, very modest, very black, very loose fitting, but we will let you change. We got a great changing area set up. We got everything that you need to do that. We got products for your hair, we got cologne that you can put back on if you came in, that's important to you.
We got all of it, okay. This is going to be your first act of obedience, some of you. It's what tells everybody else that you're serious about Jesus being Lord. By the way, there are some of you who may have trusted Christ some time ago, but you've never done this. You've received Christ before this morning, but you've never been baptized.
Hey, good news, this is your chance today also. You say, well yeah, but this feels complicated. Even if you got clothes for me getting wet on a Sunday morning in front of some people, I don't know all of them, and I wasn't really planning on it.
I just, you say, I just don't think this is that important. I mean, I can follow Jesus just fine, kind of, you know, without this. Listen y'all, I'm not sure that you want to start out your relationship with Jesus by telling Him which of His commandments are important and which ones aren't, okay.
Talk about starting off a relationship on the wrong foot. If you are serious about Jesus' lordship, you need to obey His first command, which was to be baptized as a public declaration of your faith. If you won't obey this command, why would you be willing to obey the more difficult ones that will come later? You say, well, I rode with somebody, and they're not going to want to wait for me. I mean, they want to beat the line.
They want to get out, and they want to go to lunch. They will wait, I promise. I promise you they will wait. If not, bring them down with you, and we'll talk to them. Maybe they should get baptized too. I'm just going to throw that out there, okay. You say, but I've already been baptized when I was a baby.
Hey friend, listen, I want you to get this. We respect that, but did you know there are 27 baptisms recorded in the book of Acts, and in all 27 of them, they believed before they were baptized. You say, but I don't want to disrespect my parents. They baptized me when I was a baby, and I feel like if I got baptized right now, I would be rejecting that. I would say rejecting that?
You're actually doing the opposite. It was their hope for you when they baptized you as a baby. What was their hope? Their hope was that one day you would grow up and follow Jesus, and now you are. So you have the opportunity to come forward of your own choice to ratify the decision they made for you when you were a baby.
You weren't involved in that decision when you weren't a baby. They did it for you, and thank God for them. That was their hope for you, and now you have fulfilled their hope. So this afternoon you get to call them, and you get to say, Mom and Dad, remember all those years ago when you baptized me? Remember all these things you were hoping I would grow up and follow Jesus?
Mom and Dad, good news, I have, and I have. You say, well, I don't really want to become a Baptist. That's fair. That's fair.
I'll just say that out. But you are not being baptized in the name of a denomination. I promise you we will not mention any denomination's name. We're going to baptize you in the name of Jesus. Every follower of Jesus should be baptized as a profession of their faith in Jesus, and if you have not, you should do it today. Oh, my parents were first married.
Neither of them were Christians. My dad tells a story of being in a service like this one, not quite as big, but like this one, and a guy like me gave an invitation like this. It was one of those old-fashioned churches where they sang all 218 verses of Just As I Am until everybody had either gotten saved or left to go home. My dad, he said he was standing there, third or fourth verse of Just As I Am. So I was gripping the pew in front of me. He said I was gripping the pew so hard that I could see my knuckles were white, and I didn't want to let go, and I didn't want to walk forward. I didn't want to let go, and I didn't want to walk forward. Then he said all at once I let go, and I stepped out, and I barely remember anything from that point on.
Then he said everything in my life changed. Sometimes I can't help but think now about what would have happened if he hadn't stepped out at that point. I wonder, what if he'd held on? What if he'd not taken that step? What if he'd let his lack of courage get the better of him?
How different would my life be? Because my dad let go, my mom's life changed, and then my life changed, and then my sister's life changed, and for those of you that are affected by my ministry, your lives changed because 50-some years ago my dad stepped out. I don't think it's over speaking to say that future generations are going to be affected by what some of you do in these next few moments.
Here's what's going to happen. I'm going to pray a prayer. I'm going to pray a prayer to lead you for those you who want to receive Christ so that you can do that, and then I am going to invite you that prayed the prayer or others of you that need to be baptized, I'm going to invite you forward to be baptized. So why don't we bow our heads, and we're going to pray. If you need to receive Christ and you never have, or you're not sure that you have, it's not a magical prayer.
It's a cry from your heart, but it would sound something like this. You can use these words if they come from your heart. Lord Jesus, I know that I cannot save myself. Only you can save me. I believe you died for my sin.
Say that to me. I believe it was my sin that you were dying for on that cross. I believe you're resurrected, and I surrender to you right now as Lord.
Say it to him. I surrender to you as Lord. Now say thank you, Jesus, for saving me. Amen. Amen. This Good Friday, as we reflect on the cross, we are so thankful for the good news that Jesus has risen.
He lives. And we hope you enjoyed today's teaching. And as a reminder, you can listen to previous messages in this series or download the transcript for today's sermon when you visit us online at JDGrier.com. And JD, in addition to these broadcasts, we've also got a lot of other resources on our website. Yes, we do, Molly, and even some new resources. In fact, you can sign up right now for our daily devotional.
We would love to day by day be in your inbox. We've also got the Summit Life blog where we deal with different topics that are related to messages I've preached. In addition to that, every month we have a different free download available. Sometimes it's a study guide. Sometimes it's a background or a set of devotionals and an ebook format. All these resources on our website, they're completely free. And you can access so many of these things digitally and it's free because it's our privilege to be able to walk with you in your growth in Christ. So check it out and let us become a part of that journey with you. I'm Molly Vidovitch. Have a wonderful Easter celebration with your church family and we'll see you again next time for Summit Life with Pastor JD Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by JD Greer Ministries.
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