Sunday Scripture

(Continued from last Sunday.)

All right. So this is Part 4 of my 4-part online-only sermon that I started here on Sunday March 22ND, and then continued on Sunday March 29TH and Sunday April 05TH. It’s Easter Sunday – Resurrection Sunday. It’s a great and glorious day, as is every day on this fantastic journey. But this one is extra special, for He is risen. He is risen indeed !

Let’s close-out this sermon in a big way.

Let’s go to the Old Testament with wisdom from the Book of Ecclesiastes:

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls – the other can reach out and help. (4:9-10a)

That’s from the current edition of the New Living Translation. It was actually revised from the 1ST edition from almost 25 years ago. It used these words:

Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one – they get a better return for their labor.

I like that – both the original and the revision.

You know that’s called a tag team in the WWE. When one of the superstars gets tired or gets beaten up – he or she tags in his or her tag team partner, and they keep the fight going with their adversaries while the other one rests and recuperates, and cheers his or her partner on.

It’s kind of like us when one of our brothers or sisters submits to the enemy and needs our help to pull them out of the dark and dreary culvert that runs along both sides of the journey. Sometimes we stumble. Sometimes we fall. We can’t walk this journey alone. I learned that during my first 100 days of this fantastic journey. See back then I was an orphan – not part of a church body – not belonging to any church family. I had no tag team partners. I had no stable (another WWE term). I walked alone. I knew I couldn’t go much further like that. I mean I realized that I was rescued and saved by my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, but what’s next ?  I needed a church family to find out what’s next. I soon found a church family that I could grow with.

My next sermon (already written) – is titled “Church & State”. It explores the urgency of being an important part of a church family. Our God commands it. I hope to preach it to my church family real soon – once we gather again in person corporately.

As the Bible says (in Ecclesiastes 4:10b & 12-13):

Someone who falls alone is in real trouble. A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

There’s something to be said there about power in numbers. That’s a common theme in the WWE. When a lovable babyface is being attacked by a miserable heel oftentimes a fellow face or a group of faces emerge from the locker room area backstage, run down the ramp, jump in to the ring, and help the face in peril by ridding the heel(s) from the ring and saving their brother or sister.

It kind of works the same way on this fantastic journey. That’s why we need each other as believers and followers of our God Almighty. We must fight the enemy together. We must encourage and inspire and bless each other. We must cheer each other on. We must pray for each other. We will conquer. God is on our side.

You know I’ve been to a lot of WWE LIVE events in bars and arenas over the past 19 years. We’re a unique type of people. I call them “my people”. They like what I like. They came to see what I came to see. They cheer who I cheer. They jeer who I jeer. We even dress alike. “My people.”

You know who else us are “my people” ?  My church family. We meet and greet every Sunday. We pray together. We sing together. We praise and worship together. We listen to the sermon together. “My people.” God’s people.

Last weekend was WrestleMania Weekend – a 36-year tradition within the WWE. It’s the peak of the year. It’s what it all leads-up to. It’s what it’s all about. The storylines end here. WrestleMania Weekend is usually held in a football stadium, and 75,000 to 100,000 wrestling fans worldwide show up for it en masse. Not this year though. Because of COVID-19 WrestleMania Weekend was held inside an empty training building. The show went on though.

This weekend is Easter Weekend – a nearly 2,000-year tradition here in this world. It’s the peak of the year. It’s what it all leads-up to. It’s what it’s all about. The story didn’t end on Friday on that cross. It continued on Sunday when Jesus Christ conquered death and rose again. Easter Weekend is usually celebrated in church buildings big and small, and millions of Christians worldwide show up for it en masse. Many Christians only enter a church building on Easter Sunday. Not this year though. Because of COVID-19 Easter Weekend is being celebrated in our respective homes. The celebration must go on.

Luke 24-34

HE IS RISEN !  HE IS RISEN – INDEED !  The Lord has really risen !  He appeared to Peter. (Luke 24:34). He was seen by the Twelve, and the more than 500 of His followers at the time, and by James (the half-brother of Jesus), and by all the apostles, and by Paul. (1 Corinthians 15:5-8)

Today we join our brothers and sisters in Christ worldwide – God’s children – God’s church – as we observe and celebrate the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ – our Lord and Savior.

We join our brothers and sisters of this global church family on this Resurrection Sunday, but we know that every waking moment of every new day is a renewed celebration of Christ conquering the grave, rising from the dead, and giving us life. HE IS RISEN !  HE IS RISEN – INDEED !  And since He is risen – we have risen from the darkness that we once knew.

He was concealed in the Old Testament. He was revealed in the New Testament. See Jesus keeps His promises – then and now. He does what He says He is going to do. He is who He says He is. He is the Messiah. He is risen. He is risen – indeed. He is alive. He sits on the throne of Heaven. He is the King of Kings. He is the Lord of Lords. He gives us life. He breathes life onto our dry bones. Breath of God – breathe on us !  He makes all things new. He gives us hope. He gives us purpose. He makes us vessels of vibrant living waters.

YES !  On this Resurrection Sunday that the LORD has made – let’s observe – let’s rejoice – let’s celebrate – our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ – The Risen One !

All rights reserved (c) 2020 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

Sunday Scripture

(Continued from last Sunday.)

There are those out there – our family, our friends, our coworkers, our colleagues, our neighbors, our acquaintances, and those who come within 6 feet of us. That’s a lot of people who we come in contact with. We realized just how many people that really is when we were recently introduced to the term “social distancing”.

So some of those people near and dear to us worship other gods of this world – while mocking our God. Maybe they worship money. Or maybe it’s possessions. Or maybe they worship a singer, or an actor, or an athlete, or a politician. Don’t judge them, for we have many fellow believers and followers of Jesus Christ – our brothers and sisters – who secretly – or perhaps even publicly – worship our God – as well as other gods of this world. Beware:

Exodus Chapter 34 Verse 14:

You must worship no other gods, but only the LORD, for He is a God who is passionate about His relationship with you.

That’s actually from the very first version of the New Living Translation from almost 25 years ago. It was updated for the 2ND edition, and the word “jealous” replaced “passionate”. That brought it in line with most of the other major Bible translations:

You must worship no other gods, for the LORD – whose very name is Jealous – is a God who is jealous about His relationship with you.

His very name is “Jealous”. God is passionately opposed to us when we worship false gods – which are all other gods – other than Himself. He’s the One and only true God. There is no other.

The Bible says (Exodus 20:5a):

You must not bow down to them, or worship them, for I – the LORD your God – am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.

He’s a holy and jealous God. He created each and every one of us to be in a personal relationship with Himself.

You know those people out there – God’s beautiful creations – His marvelous masterpieces – the ones that don’t yet know our God like we know our God. Well our God will never give up on them, and we must never give up on them either. Our God always has His arms wide open for all, and we should too.

Revelation Chapter 22 Verse 17:

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.

The “bride” is the wife of the Lamb. It’s the church body. It’s God’s people.

You know the Bible taught me that God will change me a little at a time. He’ll never give me more than I can handle. He’ll always be there – guiding and directing me. He’ll transform me into a new person by changing the way I think. Then I will know what God wants me to do, and I will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is. (Romans 12:2b)

And as God transforms you into a new creation – His church will cheer you on.

In the WWE that’s called a “face turn”. You were once a heel – a miserable heel. But then you repented. You turned away from your sins. You’re being cheered on now. It’s a great and glorious sight to see.

You see in wrestling a “face turn” is quite simply when a longtime heel (a bad guy) turns face (a good guy). He or she was evil – and was jeered, but now he or she is kind – and is cheered. It can be a gradual turn, or a sudden turn.

It’s like the start of salvation. My face turn was gradual. In the beginning nobody really noticed my salvation. The changes in me were slow and subtle. It didn’t happen in an instant. It took a while. After many months as a face – friends and coworkers began taking notice. The subtle changes had become somewhat noticeable over time. Some of those friends began “social distancing” themselves from me. In their mind Chris had gone cuckoo.

Now please don’t misunderstand me, and don’t misquote me. I am not saying that all of those people out there who don’t yet believe – who don’t yet follow – the God Almighty that we believe and follow – I am not saying that those people are heels – or bad guys. There are plenty of faces – or good guys out there. They may not believe in our Lord & Savior. They may not follow Him. Maybe they do, but maybe they don’t belong to a church family. Maybe they are just honest and hard-working people who always try to do the right thing, and are kind and generous and loving to others.

My friends – just as there are faces and heels out there in the world – we have faces and heels right here in God’s Kingdom. The enemy loves our heels. The enemy uses our heels against us to create trouble and strife from within.

As the Bible says:

These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised !  Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness (or as godly ministers). In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

Now a little “Behind The Scenes” here. The original manuscript of this sermon – written in 2017 – included a large section on “Satan & Hell”. I actually referenced “Hell In A Cell” – which is another monthly WWE PPV. Due to time constraints I’ve decided to spinoff that section and expand it into a new sermon that I plan to write right after Easter.

Earlier in the Apostle Paul’s 2ND letter to the Corinthians he writes about his preaching ministry, and I’ll close Part 3 of this multi-part sermon with this Scripture:

Therefore – since God in His mercy has given us this new way (this wonderful ministry) – we never give up. We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We do not try to trick anyone, or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this. (2 Corinthians 4:1-2)

The Apostle Paul was privileged to have the God-given ministry of sharing the message of the Good News. See Paul considered himself to be the least of all of the apostles. He believed that he wasn’t even worthy to be called an apostle after how he had previously persecuted God’s church. He thanked God. He thanked God for His grace – unmerited special favor. He thanked God for His mercy. He believed that God was working through him during his face turn.

My friends – I am privileged to share the message of the Good News – thanks to God’s grace and mercy. Thank You God for this wonderful ministry.

(To be continued next Sunday.)

All rights reserved (c) 2020 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries