Saturday, April 28, 2018

Easter 2018 - Are We There Yet?

Easter Sermon
April 1, 2018
Fr. Phil Eberhart



ARE WE THERE YET?


Are we there yet?     Daddy, are we there yet?

Ever driven across country?  or down to the corner store, with a toddler in the back?  

The ever present question!!   Are we there yet?

This morning I want to talk about the disciples...    and us.

I want to talk about his statement, IT IS FINISHED!

First The Disciples:

Even at the last supper table, after Jesus washed their feet they were still arguing about who was going to be first!

And after He was risen, just before He ascended to His Kingly throne, they ask Him, "Are you NOW going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1)

After the resurrection, the disciples were even more sure that Jesus was the Messiah and that He was going to set up the New Kingdom of Heaven in their midst any moment!!  And so they continually bickered about their own thrones and who was going to sit where.

ARE WE THERE YET?

The ever present question.

You see there was a basic misunderstanding in their minds...  that Jesus was going to set up the Kingdom of God ... with only them in mind.  That's all they really had in mind.  Following the ONE - the Miracle worker - the Feeder of the 5000+;  the Healer of blind eyes;  of men let down through roof tops who walked out, bed in hand;  

Those had to be heady days for the disciples!  He sent them out to go ahead of him in Luke 10 and they came back - PUMPED UP - because of the miracles and signs!  He calmed them down and gave them perspective.
"Don't rejoice that demons are subject to you, rejoice that your names are written in Heaven."

Change your focus!  Get the bigger picture!

ARE WE THERE YET?

And what about us?  Are WE ... THERE yet?

Well, Well, Well ... look where we are!  Easter morning!  I couldn't have written this any better.  "MORE THAN WE CAN ASK OR IMAGINE!!"  I read that somewhere.

 And there is NO DOUBT GOD HAS DONE THIS!!   Any doubt?  ANYONE???

BUT... ARE WE THERE YET?

Has the Kingdom come fully?   Has God made his dwelling among us here on earth?  Have we seen the Heavenly Jerusalem descending to earth?

ARE WE THERE YET?   NO.

So where is THERE?  And where are WE?

I want us to think about three little words, from Jesus lips on the cross that day - that Great Friday!  I think that's what I'll call it from now on!

IT IS FINISHED!!

"It" what?   What was finished in that moment?

Well I think we have a clue in what happened when He died.  First thing that happened- that is recorded for us to read!

The separating curtain in the Temple was ...?   TORN IN TWO?    
HOW?     From TOP to bottom!

Have you noticed how God is into Drama!!!  And SYMBOL?!!!

What happened when the Curtain was torn in two ... by God!

ACCESS...  It's one of my favorite words in all of scripture!
 (yeah, well... I have lots of favorites)

The finished work of Christ gave us ACCESS to the Father - to the very throne of God - to the very heart of the Father!  And that access will never be revoked by GOD -  it can only be revoked by you!  

The curtain was torn - the separation between you and God - was torn from top to bottom - His initiative - His presence - Forever open to you...

because IT IS FINISHED!

ARE WE THERE YET?

Peter, the brash disciple, who jumped out of the boat, who always seemed to have "foot in mouth" disease; who cut off the ear of the servant of the High priest in the garden; and who denied Jesus to his face, three times.

Peter ended up getting it:    Listen to this...  I read this over the body of good friend as I began last rites yesterday morning...

Celebrate with praises the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has shown us his extravagant mercy. For his fountain of mercy has given us a new life—we are reborn[g] to experience a living, energetic hope[h]through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.[i] We are reborn into a perfect inheritance[j] that can never perish, never be defiled, and never diminish. It is promised and preserved forever in the heavenly realm for you![k]
Through our faith, the mighty power of God constantly guards[l] us until our full salvation[m] is ready to be revealed[n] in the last time. May the thought of this cause you to jump for joy,[o] even though lately you’ve had to put up with the grief of many trials.[p] But these only reveal the sterling core[q] of your faith, which is far more valuable than gold that perishes, for even gold is refined by fire. Your authentic faith will result in even more praise, glory, and honor when Jesus the Anointed One is revealed.[r]
You love him passionately although you did not see him, but through believing in him you are saturated with an ecstatic joy, indescribably sublime and immersed in glory.[s] For you are reaping the harvest of your faith—the full salvation promised you—your souls’ victory![t]
ARE WE THERE YET??

IT IS FINISHED!

We are NOT there yet, even though we are here NOW!   IT IS FINISHED referred to God's work of opening a way for us to come to HIM; a way that He will never close!  

IT IS FINISHED and we have a ways to go!

Again from Ro 5

Our faith in Jesus transfers God’s righteousness to us and he now declares us flawless in his eyes.[a] This means we can now enjoy true and lasting peace[b] with God, all because of what our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, has done for us. Our faith guarantees us permanent access into this marvelous kindness[c] that has given us a perfect relationship with God. What incredible joy bursts forth within us as we keep on celebrating our hope of experiencing God’s glory!
But that’s not all! Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope. And this hope is not a disappointing fantasy,[d]because we can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives in us![e]
We may not be THERE in heaven yet, but God has worked a full salvation for us, on the cross, in wood and nails.  And we continue to allow HIM to work that salvation in flesh and bone, in heart and mind, in the left hand turn lane and at the stop light!!!   We all know we have a ways to go!

Let's pray...

O Jesus, Master-Carpenter of Nazareth,
who on the cross in wood and nails has worked our full salvation: Use well Your tools in this Your workshop, that we who come to You rough-hewn, may be fashioned into a truer beauty and usefulness by Your hand, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, world without end.                      Amen.
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O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry  out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made 
new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.