Sunday Sermon // The Last 24 :: Last Moment Alone

The Last 24 // Last Moment Alone

[ECC Lead Pastor, Scott Moore, Covington Campus]

What would you do if you knew you only had 24 hours left to live?

Jesus knew he was dying and he stopped and prayed. Not some normal “thank you, God” prayer but a prayer that caused him to sweat drops of blood. In anguish and anxiety he speaks to the Father.

Jesus prayed for me.

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. (‭John‬ ‭17‬:‭20-21‬ NLT)

Jesus didn’t pray for us to have magical gifts to heal people or the ability to speak eloquently and save people..no he simply prayed that we would be ONE. And our oneness/unity is what will prove to the world that Jesus is real.

Jesus healed an enemy.

But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of the twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss. But Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” When the other disciples saw what was about to happen, they exclaimed, “Lord, should we fight? We brought the swords!” And one of them struck at the high priest’s slave, slashing off his right ear. But Jesus said, “No more of this.” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. (‭Luke‬ ‭22‬:‭47-51‬ NLT)

Maybe you feel like an enemy to God. Maybe you too have some part of you needs healing too (relationally, emotionally, physically, spiritually). Jesus wants to heal you.

Jesus restored a friend.

At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly. (‭Luke‬ ‭22‬:‭61-62‬ NLT)

Jesus “looked at Peter” not with scorn or indignation but with compassion. And this look of mercy and forgiveness brought Peter to his knees. Later when Jesus appears to the disciples Peter jumps out of the boat to get to Jesus as fast as possible. Peter knew he had been forgiven and he couldn’t wait to embrace his savior.

When we act with a selfless love toward others it leaves a lasting impact on their lives.

Selfless love leaves a lasting impact.

 

The Mystery King

(Today’s post by Chris Queen)

The Mystery King – Genesis 13:5-14:24

The Mystery of MelchizedekI love a good mystery, don’t you? There’s something about a story full of intrigue and characters who make surprise appearances. One of the coolest mysteries of the Bible – and one of my all-time favorite Biblical accounts – takes place in today’s reading.

Most of what we’re reading today concerns the family drama between Abram and his nephew Lot (which is pretty fascinating stuff in its own right), but the best part of today’s reading takes place over a handful of verses, when Abram has a unique brush with royalty.

17 After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying,

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. 20 And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.”

Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Then Melchizedek goes away and doesn’t appear again.

So, who is Melchizedek? Obviously he’s a king and a priest of God Most High, but he would remain a shadowy figure, an asterisk in the tale of Abram, a blip in the continuum of God’s chosen people were it not for two other Biblical authors.

First off, King David wrote in Psalm 110:

1 The Lord says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

2 The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of your enemies!” 3 Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy splendor, your young men will come to you like dew from the morning’s womb.

4 The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

Many scholars consider this Psalm a clear reference to the coming Messiah – which leads us to the New Testament book of Hebrews, where Melchizedek gets the most real estate. The author of Hebrews spends several verses talking about Jesus’ forever priesthood, which was a position bestowed by God Himself:

5 In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him,

“You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”

6 And he says in another place, “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

Melchizedek, the mystery king, was both ruler and priest – both royalty and servant – just like Jesus. Messianic Jewish scholar David H. Stern puts it this way:

“Yeshua [Jesus] is to be compared with Malki-Tzedek [Melchizedek] because in Yeshua, Jewish priest and Jewish king are united in one person. So far as is known, the author makes a chiddush (‘innovation’) in presenting the idea of king and priest combined in one person.”

Just like last Friday’s reading from Genesis 3 alludes to Jesus, God places a figure in Abram’s path who also points to the Messiah. So today’s post is rather heady, and there’s not really a whole lot of practical application, but you’ve got to admit: Melchizedek’s story really is a cool mystery.

You Are Not Alone In Your Sin

(Today’s post by Chris Queen)

Observations From The Fall – Genesis 3

apple_biteLet’s face it – the story of Adam and Eve is pretty universal. Even people who haven’t opened a Bible in their lives have heard the account. I even recently read a book where an atheist used the example of Adam and Eve to make a serious point (one that I’m getting ready to make).

I wanted to find a fresh angle on such a familiar passage – which isn’t always easy. But I noticed three distinct observations from this chapter. Here we go…

  1. Some (…well, most…) temptations look appealing and beneficial on the surface…

There are no neon signs that advertise that you’re about to sin. It’s rare for a temptation to start out looking bad, or why else would we give in? That’s what Eve discovered when the serpent went after her first…and what Adam learned when she turned to him to join in with her.

6 Now the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a thing of lust for the eyes, and that the tree was desirable for imparting wisdom. So she took of its fruit and she ate. She also gave to her husband who was with her and he ate.

Guess what? They both learned pretty quickly about observation number 2.

  1. …but the consequences of sin far outweigh the pleasure of giving in to temptation.

Of course, Adam and Eve’s sin had a ripple effect that has plagued everyone on earth since them.

16 To the woman He said, “I will greatly increase your pain from conception to labor. In pain will you give birth to children. Your desire will be toward your husband, yet he must rule over you.”17 Then to the man He said, “Because you listened to your wife’s voice and ate of the tree which I commanded you, saying, ‘You must not eat of it’: Cursed is the ground because of you— with pain will you eat of it all the days of your life. 18 Thorns and thistles will sprout for you. You will eat the plants of the field, 19 By the sweat of your brow will you eat food, until you return to the ground, since from it were you taken. For you are dust, and to dust will you return.”

Yep, that’s right. Because Adam and Eve took the plunge in disobeying God, we’re saddled with the curse of death. I bet after their little talk with God, they regretted the taste of the fruit they were told not to eat.

But God provided a way out from sin, which leads us to number 3.

  1. God set his plan of redemption in motion at the Fall.

Right in the middle of the chapter is an interesting statement God made to the serpent (who is Satan, of course).

15 I will put animosity between you and the woman— between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head, and you will crush his heel.

Who is this “he” God is talking about? The Messiah, of course. Three chapters into the Old Testament, and we get our first Jesus teaser. But don’t just take my word for it; here’s what Matthew Henry had to say about it:

A gracious promise is here made of Christ, as the deliverer of fallen man from the power of Satan. Though what was said was addressed to the serpent, yet it was said in the hearing of our first parents, who, doubtless, took the hints of grace here given them, and saw a door of hope opened to them, else the following sentence upon themselves would have overwhelmed them. Here was the dawning of the gospel day.

As weird as it may sound, I love the account of Adam and Eve’s sin. I love it because it sets up God’s great, astounding redemption narrative. I love it because it reminds me that I’m not alone in sinning and that I’m not alone in receiving grace. How about you?

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