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Friday, March 25, 2016

Assurance - of God's Unstoppable Love! (Good Friday Homily 2016)


(These are the notes for my homily on Good Friday 2016. Here is the audio file)
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Assurance - of God’s Unstoppable Love
Luke 23.26-56
What’s the big deal behind crucifixes? Crosses and crucifixes abound on walls, rearview mirrors, and tattoos; so what’s the big deal. And what’s the big deal behind these old words: “What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus”? Assurance - of God’s unstoppable Love! Romans 5.8.

Crowds Attending
a. Mourning, scoffing and railing: V.26-39
b. Defending, believing and exonerating: V.40-49
c. Dead and buried: V.46, 50-56

So here you have the objective, historical fact: crucifixion. So what?

Christ Atoning
a. Mediates: 32-34 “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they’re doing” (34).
b. Expiates: 40-43 “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (43).
c. Alternates. 47 “Certainly this man was innocent” (41 and 47)!

Capitol Assuring
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8.31-39).

Our assurance grounded in God’s out-poured love for us…Our assurance – no longer condemned (Thief and Romans 8.1). God declares us “Not Guilty” or “Acquitted” of the charges. Not because of our innocence – not because we really have none; but because of what his Son’s innocence obtained for us and made ours! Assurance that we can finally be near to God, clean before God, acceptable to God, acknowledged by God – all because of Jesus crucified for us and for our salvation. Assurance that God actually DOES want us near! How do you know? Look at the cross! “At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day!” At the cross Christ brings the end and begins the new!

Assurance - of God’s unstoppable Love!
Now, assured of God’s unstoppable love, we can look outside of ourselves. We can face life, death, success, failure, injustice, social decadence, economic failures, political chaos, and we can even the devil himself – all without fear; because we can now face God!

Assurance - of God’s unstoppable Love!
Do you have this assurance? There’s only one way. Rely on Christ crucified, and submit to him. And as you do so you will find this is true for you: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3.18). And John 15.13!

Assurance - of God’s unstoppable Love!

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