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Jesus Died...but God

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Jesus Died...but God
Skip Heitzig
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...but God

All of us experience times of desperation, but as James Montgomery Boice said, "If you understand those two words, 'But God,' they will save your soul. If you recall them daily and live by them, they will transform your life completely." In this series, Skip Heitzig explores the "but God" moments of David, Jonah, Moses, and other biblical figures, encouraging us to let the Lord turn our personal periods into pivot points.

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Recap Notes: April 1, 2018
Teacher: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Jesus Died…but God"
Text: Acts 13:26-30

Path

The resurrection is the heart of the gospel message. As the apostle Paulstated, "And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty" (1 Corinthians 15:14). Along with the incarnation, the resurrection is the greatest event in history. Because of the empty tomb, history is changed forever. And equally profound, the Father raised Christ so we might live—having new life in Him (see 2 Corinthians 5:15). In this Easter message, Pastor Skip taught from Acts 13:26-30, noting that Jesus died, but God raised Him from the dead. 
  1. God Has a Message for You (v. 26)
  2. God Sent a Messenger to Us (v. 27)
  3. God Knows the Mischief in Us (vv. 28-29)
  4. God Works a Marvel Despite Us (v. 30)

Points

Two Most Important Words: But God
  • What are the two most important words in the English language? According to the Harvard Journal, they are recognition and praise. A physiologist says they are act now. But consider these two important words in the Bible: but God. They offer ultimate hope, pointing to the great interrupter, the One who can change lives.
  • Jesus Christ was dead, but God raised Him to life. Jesus is now alive, seeking and saving lives.
  • Martyn Lloyd-Jones said that but God contains the whole of the gospel.
  • But means on the contrary. It is a conjunction, pulling two thoughts or words together.
  • When you add God to but, anything is possible. The resurrection is the ultimate but God moment in history. If God can do this, He can do anything.
  • Difficulty must always be measured by the capacity of the agent doing the work. God the Father was the agent for the task of the resurrection: "But God raised Him from the dead" (v. 30, emphasis added).
God Has a Message for You
  • "To you the word of this salvation has been sent" (v. 26).
  • God has spoken throughout history:
    • Through creation: This is a general message.
    • Through prophets: This is a specific message. It shows that God is interested in His creation, to speak to and love us.
    • Through Christ: He is God's final message. 
  • Religion is man's attempt to reach God, but we can't reach God. Someone outside the box—outside of our world—must reach into the box and communicate with us; the Father did this in Christ.  
  • God did this because He loves us; He wants to provide hope (see John 3:16).
  • You may say, "My life is a mess," but God has a message for you—one of love: Jesus Christ.  
  • As St. Augustine stated, "God loves each of us as if there was only one of us."
God Sent a Messenger to Us
  • Paul move from an it ("the word of this salvation") to a Him—Christ, the Messiah, the Messenger.
  • God's ultimate message to humanity is a person: Jesus. The Messiah was chosen and prepared to save the world. He came to complete and fulfill the messages sent in the Old Testament.
  • The Old Testament gives a progressive revelation of God's work in the world.  But in the final days, God spoke through His Son, Jesus (see Hebrews 1:1-2).
  • The apostle John stated, "In the beginning was the Word" (John 1:1). John noted that a message was sent: the Word, which is Christ.  
  • Christianity is God bursting into our world, coming into our box to seek and save the lost (see Luke 19:10). God got in the box—the world—to show us the way.
  • When God comes down to our level, as a human, we can relate to Him.
  • Christianity is not a creed; it is Christ.
God Knows the Mischief in Us
  • "And though they found no cause for death in Him…" (v. 28). The Messiah was innocent; He lived a perfect life. But people didn't want to hear God's message, so they killed His Messiah.
  • The Old Testament gave flickering light, but in the New Testament, it's like the sun fell to earth: Jesus was so bright, He illuminated everything in His path.
  • The light of truth came to the earth, but men loved the darkness more than the light (see John 3:19). Jesus said, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12). But humanity didn't like the light, so they got rid of Jesus through crucifixion.
  • Sadly, many people throughout history have misunderstood the identity of Christ, calling Him everything from demon to tax evader. But Jesus knew His mission and His message—to clean the mischief from humanity, recognizing that "He who is not with Me is against Me" (Matthew 12:30).
God Works a Marvel Despite Us
  • "But God raised Him from the dead" (v. 30). But God did the miraculous, a marvel of history—He raised Christ from the dead. The religious leaders and politicians didn't have the last word with Christ; God had the last word at the empty tomb.
  • Apart from Christ, people are spiritual zombies. We don't even know we're dead.
  • Even while we were dead in sin, God raised Jesus from the dead for us (see Ephesians 2:5).
    • You were dead in sin, running from God, but God pursued you.
    • You were deceived and hopeless, but God gave you truth and hope.
    • You were blind, but God opened your eyes.
  • If God can raise a corpse, He can change your life.
    • The world says can't, but God says can.
    • The world says impossible, but God says possible.
    • The world says hopeless, but God says hope.
  • On Easter, it's good to come to a church service, but it's great to come to Christ.
Practice

Connect Up: How are the incarnation (Jesus' birth) and the resurrection two of the Father's greatest miracles? Why are both central to a biblical worldview?

Connect In: How has the reality of the resurrection changed your life, the church, and the world? Discuss how history changed because of the resurrection. (Hint: consider love, the church, the role of women, family life, government, the arts, etc.)

Connect Out: When talking to an unbeliever, what truths might you stress? For example, Christ was born, died for sin, rose from the dead, was seen by many, and is coming again (see 1 Corinthians 15). How would you give a defense of the resurrection to a nonbeliever? Consider eyewitness testimony, changed lives, and historical record. Why are all these important?

Transcript

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Jesus Died...but God - Skip Heitzig

Hello, and welcome to this message. We're so glad that you're joining us to listen to God's word. Before we hear this message, I want to mention two things. First, if your life has been impacted by this ministry, by any of the teachings of Pastor Skip, we would love to hear that testimony.

So just email us at mystory@calvaryabq.org. We'd love to hear your story. It encourages us, and it can encourage others. And maybe your life has been impacted and now you want to invest in this ministry. You want to see more lives change by the good news in the gospel of God.

Well, you can give at calvaryabq.org/give to get behind what God is doing through this ministry here. Well, 2,000 years ago, Jesus died on a Roman cross, and he was buried, he was put in a tomb, but on the third day, he was raised to life. There are two words that have impacted history. Sometimes we're at the end of our rope. Jesus died, but God raised him to the life, and that's exactly what you're going to hear in this message from Pastor Skip Heitzig.

Well, I hope you brought a Bible with you. We're going to be in the book of Acts, Chapter 13 for a very important passage. Before we start though, I need to make a somber announcement. We've had so many great years here in this stadium, but unfortunately, this is the last time we're going to be able to have an Easter service here. April Fool's. I couldn't resist.

Today is April 1. Happy Resurrection day. Are you kidding? We're going to keep doing this till Jesus comes back. People have been coming to these sunrise services for decades, and I remember the very first year that we met for our Easter sunrise service.

I was fresh out of California. I thought this would be a great place to have an Easter sunrise service not knowing that the weather can be very unpredictable in the spring. And we met not here. We met in a little football place up off Juan Tabo at a high school. And I remember that year it was blowing snow mixed with sand. And I thought, never again.

But after a couple of years, we decided to do it again. And you have been faithful and coming for so long every year. Doesn't matter the weather I've noticed. And we've had rain, we've had snow, we've had wind, but you show up, and you show up for a good reason. And you know what that reason is, Jesus Christ isn't dead. He's alive from the grave, and he changes lives today.

And over the years, many people have made commitments to Jesus Christ right here in this stadium. Their lives have been changed forever when they made a choice in this stadium at sunrise service to follow Jesus. That's a decision I'm going to ask many of you to make today, if you haven't done it already. This can be the day when your life changes.

I want you to consider the two most important words in our vocabulary. Now, if you were to ask different people, they would tell you different things. Harvard Business Journal says the two most important words in the human language are "recognition" and "praise." "Recognition" and "praise." And this is what they said. When people do a good job, they want to be told they did a good job. They want recognition and praise.

One psychologist says, the most important two words in the English language are the words "act now." "Act now." Because according to this psychologist, too many people dream and think and plan, but never take any concrete steps to do anything about it.

Many people will tell you, including marketing firms, the two most important words in our language are the words "thank you." To show appreciation to another human being is so important. I love what one freelance writer said. Here's a writer who gets checks if he gets published. He said the two most beautiful words I've ever seen in English are on an envelope that says check enclosed.

But let me tell you about two important words that can change your life. They can change bad news into good news. These two words can be placed into any situation and alter any outcome.

They are the words "but God." "But God." Each word has only three letters. Each word is very simple to say, only one syllable per word. But when you put those two words together, they form a very powerful truth.

In fact, there may not be two more hopeful words than these two words, "but God." Because they point us to the great interrupter, the one who can powerfully and graciously interrupt our lives with his plans and change our lives forever. Did you know that phrase, "but God," appears in the Bible 45 times, and every time it appears what comes after those words is radical change. Situations are changed radically.

According to Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a great Bible commentator, he said these two words in and of themselves contain the whole of the gospel of Christ. Why? Because no matter who you are, no matter what you've done, no matter how you've lived, no matter what mistakes you may have made, no matter what failures you have been involved in, no matter what addictions you may find yourself in, there can be a "but God" moment that radically changes who you were and who you are.

Now, the first word-- if you consider the phrase, "but God"-- the first word "but" is a conjunction in English. That's a type of speech. And a conjunction is simply a word that connects two phrases together. The word "but" means on the contrary. We use it to make a difference or contrast what we previously said.

For example, he stumbled, but he didn't fall, or this is expensive, but that isn't, or your pretty, and I'm not. Thank you. But when you add the word "God" to that little word "but," when you add the word "God" to that little conjunction, now anything is possible. Anything is possible. With God, the Bible says nothing shall be impossible.

I have a little paper clip with me on my Bible. And what if I were to tell you that I could trade this little paper clip. You can't even see it, I venture. What if I could tell you I could trade this little paper clip for a house. You'd say, well, that's impossible. But did you know it happened?

You can Google it. I would say don't do it right now, but in 2005, a young Canadian named Kyle McDonald, he had a dead-end job, he wasn't making much money, but he decided to go on a little adventure and trade up. Trade up. So he got a paper clip and managed to trade the paper clip for a pen that you write with, a little fish-shaped pen.

Then he took the pen, and he traded that for a doorknob. Then he took the doorknob, and he traded that for a Coleman stove, a camping stove. Then he took the Coleman stove and traded that for a Honda generator. Then he took the Honda generator and traded it up for a keg of beer and a Budweiser sign. I don't know if he traded up or down.

Then he traded a keg of beer and Budweiser sign for a snowmobile. And one year later and 14 trades later, he then exchanged an acting part in a movie for a two-story farmhouse. It all started with a paper clip.

Now that's not impossible. That's just resourceful. That's just very, very creative, but I want to talk to you today about a real impossibility, something that most people think could never happen, and that's a Resurrection. That's what we're here celebrating, the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

The Resurrection of Christ is the ultimate "but God" moment in history. If God can do that, then God can do anything. In Acts, Chapter 13, Paul the Apostle is preaching at a synagogue 2000 years ago, and he gives a long message. It's the first and full, complete message that Paul ever preached, recorded, in the Bible.

And in verse 26, as he speaks to the crowd, he says, men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent. For those who dwell in Jerusalem and their rulers because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning him. And though they found no cause for death in him, they asked Pilot that he should be put to death.

Now, when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning him, they took him down from the tree and they laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead. That's the great interruption.

One single verse, but God raised him from the dead. He was seen for many days by those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses to the people, and we declare to you glad tidings that promise which was made to the fathers.

Jesus died, but God. You see, difficulty must always be measured by the capacity of the agent doing the work. Once again, difficulty must always be measured by the capacity of the agent doing the work.

There lies a dead corpse. You show up. You're not going to be able to help, but God can. Because for Him, it's not difficult. He's the agent doing the work.

Now what I want to share with you today are-- let's call them four truths for Easter Sunday. Four truths for Easter Sunday. First of all, God has a message for you. That's right. He has a message for each one of us.

Paul here, when he preaches his sermon in the synagogue, he says, men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham-- that is in the Jewish community-- and those among you who fear God, non-Jews, Gentiles who are very interested. He says to you, the word of this salvation has been sent. In other words, a message of salvation. God has a message for you.

Did you know that God has spoken throughout all of history. Generally speaking, he spoke. He spoke through creation. Psalm 19 says, "The heavens declare the glory of God." When you see a beautiful sunrise or sunset, when you see something in nature that should grab your attention, that is God reminding you of his glory. The heavens declare the glory of God.

God has spoken generally, but then God has also spoken specifically. He sent prophets, spokespeople to proclaim his messages. The writer of Hebrews put it this way. Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets.

You know what that means? That means that God, the creator, is interested in his creation. He's so interested in His creation, He doesn't want to just leave them alone floundering. He wants to communicate to them. He has something to say to them.

Now, we have a problem as human beings. We are inside a natural box, and the walls of that box are time and space. We can't crawl out of that box. We're stuck. Outside our box of humanity is the supernatural realm. We all know it's true. All of us born suspect that there's something beyond us.

But someone comes along and says, I got to get outside this box. We got to get into the supernatural world. And every time somebody comes along and makes an attempt to get out of this natural box and make contact with the supernatural world, a religion is born. That's what religion is, man's attempt to reach God. It's man's attempt to escape the natural and get to the supernatural.

Here's the problem. We can't do it. We cannot transcend our own existence. We can't reach outside the box. Someone outside the box must reach into our box, and that's what God did.

And he did it in many ways. He spoke in many ways. He spoke in a burning bush to Moses. He spoke in a lightning storm at Mount Sinai. He spoke in a still, small voice to the prophet, Elijah.

He sent prophets to his people. He spoke truth through those prophets-- truth. His values, His desires, His longings for those people.

Why did God speak? Why did God send his messages? Because God loves people. God loves the creation he created. He did not want people living on this Earth without purpose, without meaning. He wanted us to have hope. Even when people messed up, God spoke. Listen carefully, especially when people messed up, God spoke. Especially when they messed up.

Your life, you may feel is a mess today. You say, my life is a mess. I say God has a mess-age that will speak to your mess. God wants to speak to you, He has a message for you, and here it is in a nutshell. He cares for you. He loves you. He loves you passionately. He has a message of love for you.

There was a mother who went to a doctor. She had three children, and the doctor asked her a question off the cuff. The doctor said, hey, of your three children, which do you love the most? Well, that caught her off guard. She didn't expect that question.

She goes, what do you mean which one of my children do I love most? I love them all the same. And the doctor said, well, it's psychologically impossible to extend the same kind of a love to three different humans. He said that's impossible. She started crying when he said that.

She said, you're right. You're right. When one is sick, I love that one more. When one is in pain, I love that one more. When one is doing something bad, I love that one more. But apart from that, I love all three exactly the same.

St. Augustine said God loves each of us as if there was only one of us to love. God has that message for you today. He has spoken, Paul said, his word of salvation throughout history. Has God been speaking to you lately? Has he been trying to get your attention?

Now, he didn't have to do that dramatically and say, well, I don't think God is getting my attention. I haven't had him speak audibly to me. I haven't had a dream in the middle of the night or a vision. That doesn't matter.

Something deep in your heart God may be trying to get at, and you've been feeling that, you've been sensing that. He's been knocking at the door of your heart saying, I want you to make room for me. Maybe it's through a friend. Maybe a friend invited you today, invited you to church.

You're thinking, why should I get up early and go to a stadium and sit outside? But God could be trying to get a hold of you and speaking directly to you. You're not here by accident, friend. You're here by appointment.

So God has a message for us. Here's the second truth. Not only does God have a message for us, God sent a messenger to us. Paul continues, "For those who dwell in Jerusalem and their rulers because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath have fulfilled them in condemning Him."

Now, notice what Paul just did. Paul just moved from speaking about speaking an it to speaking about a Him. He says, God has had a message for people for years, and they crucified Him, the messenger. So he goes from a message to a messenger. And here's why. God's ultimate message to humanity is not a sermon, it's not a prophecy, it's not a set of instructions or a law, it's a person.

God's ultimate message to humanity is in the person of Jesus Christ. All those messages in the Old Testament, all those profits that spoke were all pointing forward to a messenger the Jews called messiah. We call him Jesus.

Messiah means somebody specifically prepared and selected by God to save the world, including you. So God spoke through the ages, but his final message before judgment is his hand of love extended to people saying, I love you. Here's my son, my messenger I'm sending to you to pay for your sins.

The writer of Hebrews, I just quoted him. I didn't finish the verse though. It says, "Long ago God spoke at many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. But now in these final days, He has spoken to us through His son."

If you think about it, the Old Testament was God's story. It unfolded very gradually and progressively. Genesis gets some truth. Exodus gives more truth. The prophets give more truth. The psalms give a few more, and it just progressed a little bit more, completely, but it was never totally completed. We never really get the whole picture until we open the pages of the New Testament.

Then suddenly, it's all clear. That's why Jesus said do not think that I have come to destroy the prophets. I didn't come to destroy them. I came to complete them, to fulfill them. The picture is now complete. All those messages in the Old Testament were still a bit fuzzy until the messenger showed up. Then it's like, ah, I see it clearly.

Listen to how John introduces Jesus. In the beginning, was the word. That's God's message. And the word was with God, and the word was God. And the word became flesh, and he dwelt among us.

So go back to that box analogy. Mankind is trapped in a natural box with the walls of time and space. We cannot get out of our box. We can't reach out and connect with the supernatural, so God's plan was to send his son to crawl inside the box.

Get in the box. For God to become a man and come to our Earth and show us all the truths of God. This is the difference between Christianity and every other world religion.

Many people say, it doesn't matter what religion you belong to as long as you're sincere. That's wrong. It does matter. It makes all the difference. Religion is man's attempt to reach and discover God. Christianity is God bursting into our world, crawling inside our box.

When Jesus came, he showed people what God is like. One of his disciples, Philip, said, Jesus, show us the Father, and that's enough. I guess it would be. Jesus said, Philip, if you've seen me, you have seen the Father. If you see Jesus, you see God. You see the Father.

When I was a kid, I remember looking up at my mom. She was so huge, tall, massive. Now here's the truth. She was 5 feet tall. That's how tall she was.

She was a very little, thin lady. 5 feet. I'm 6' 5", and when I grow up, it's like, really, I used to think you were really a giant. But you know, from a kid's perspective, somebody 5 feet, that's pretty tall.

I have grandkids that are sitting right up here in the front. I can see them, Seth and Katie. Yesterday, we were playing out here on this field, just getting ready. Actually, we were watching everybody else get ready for this event, and we were playing out here.

And so whenever I flex my arms and come at them like I'm going to get them, they cower. But when I get down to their level, something changes. Now I'm approachable. Now I'm gettable. I'm wrestle-able. I'm jump-able, and they'll tackle me to the ground.

Why? Because I've come down to their level. And when you come down to their level, the relationship changes. And when God came down to our level, the relationship changes. He showed us what God is like.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son. That whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life."

So God has a message for you, and the message for you is His messenger for you, and that is Jesus Christ. Christianity is not a creed. Christianity is not a ritual. Christianity is not an institution. Christianity is Christ, personally.

You say, well, I've received the rituals of Christianity. Have you received Christ personally? So God has a message for us. God sent a messenger to us.

Here's the third truth. God knows the mischief in us. Yeah, we have a problem. God knows the mischief in us. Paul said, "And though they found no cause for death in him, they asked Pilot that he should be put to death. And when they fulfilled what was written concerning him, they took him down from the tree," that is the cross, "and they laid him in a tomb."

This messenger from God, this Messiah, was innocent. He lived a perfect life. The very people he was sent to, however, executed him, condemned him as a criminal. People didn't want to hear God's message, and people didn't want to have God's messenger, so they killed him.

John said he came into his own. His own received him not. That is his own people, his own nation. Jesus came to his own world. Jesus came to his own land. Jesus came to his own city. Jesus came to his own temple.

The Jews had waited for the messiah for centuries. He shows up. John said, we beheld his glory as of the only begotten of the Father, but the crowd shouted, crucify him. They executed him, and put him in a tomb.

The Old Testament gave those flickerings of light, those hints of light. And the more you read in him, it gets a little bit brighter and a little bit brighter, and then you get to the New Testament, and it's as if the sun comes out of the sky and lands right on the Earth. The brightest light ever. Jesus said, I am the light of the world.

But it was so bright. You know what it's like if somebody shines a bright light on you? What do you do? You put on the sunglasses like some of you have on right now, or you cover your eyes, if the sun is shining right at-- if the sun was behind the clouds now, but if the clouds left and it's shining right on you, I guarantee you'd have your hand over your face. It's just a little too bright.

So the light of truth came to this world. And the Bible says, "but men love darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil, and they hated the light." And so the very hands that God created took Jesus' own hands and stapled them to a cross. The cruelest form of execution the Romans had was crucifixion because it delayed the death of the victim for days.

So they got rid of him. I've discovered something. If there's one thing this world consistently gets wrong over and over again it's the identity of Jesus Christ. There have so many ideas out there on who Jesus Christ is, and they get that wrong all the time. The gospels are filled with various ideas and concepts of who Jesus was.

For example, in John, Chapter 7, some in the crowd said he was a good man. Some said he was a deceiver. In Matthew 16, some said that he was John the Baptist, others said he was Elijah, others said he was Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.

In John, Chapter 6, after Jesus gave a free lunch to a large crowd, they thought he would be their King, and they tried to take him by force and make him King. In Luke, Chapter 23, they called him a tax evader and one who subverted the government.

In John, Chapter 10, they said he had a demon. Even his own family wanted to get rid of him. Did you know that? On one occasion, they came and tried to take him away because they said he's crazy. It's his own brothers and sisters.

So the world consistently gets wrong the identity of who Jesus Christ is. Every year, at Easter time especially, it's sad but almost humorous to notice all the television specials that come out and they say, here's the real Jesus. We've just found out who he really was.

So everybody tunes in to find out what we've never known before, and they have the craziest ideas of who Jesus was. Some say he was a magician who practiced hypnosis and illusion. Others call him a zealot, others a guru, others call him an avatar. One theory is that he was the husband of Mary Magdalene, and they were going to procreate a secret lineage to rule the world.

And here is the best one. The concept that the name, Jesus Christ, was a code word for a hallucinogenic mushroom. And the disciples would take the mushroom and get really high, and they would see all these crazy visions of what Jesus did, and they made a religion out of it. So it's like they were the first hippies, I guess.

What about you? Who is Jesus to you? What have you done personally with Jesus Christ? Have you rejected him? You say, oh, no. I've never rejected him. I've never rejected Christ, I'm just not a fanatic, like some of these people around me, hands raised, singing really loud. That's just weird.

Really? I'd like to see you in a football game in this stadium. I bet you're a fanatic. You're just a fanatic about the wrong thing, perhaps. The best thing to be a fanatic about is the living God who can change lives. God bless all you fanatics.

You say you haven't rejected Christ. He said, if you're not for me, you're against me. If you don't follow me, you scatter. So you ask yourself that question, who is Jesus to you, and who are you in relation to him?

I want to close with a final point. Not only God has a message for us, not only God sent a messenger to us, not only does God know the mischief in us, but here's the best part. God works a marvel despite us. Despite us. That's verse 30. But God raised him from the dead.

He was seen for many days by those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem who were witnesses to the people. I love this verse. The chief priest didn't have the last word. Pontius Pilate didn't have the last word. That fickle crowd didn't have the last word. God had the last word.

But God raised him from the dead. There's those two words, "but God." Jesus was put on the cross and left for dead, but God raised him up. They put Jesus in a tomb, but God got him out. They walked away and thought it was all over, but God made sure it was just the beginning.

"But God," those two little words of hope, they can be part of your story. I hope they are part of your story. I hope that what I'm about to read right now is your story. You tell me if it is.

In Ephesians 2, Paul said, once you were dead, doomed forever because of your many sins, you used to live just like the rest of this world full of sin obeying Satan. We were born with an evil nature, and we were under God's anger just like everyone else. That's quite a statement.

Paul is saying, apart from Jesus Christ, people are spiritual zombies, the Walking Dead. They're dead, and they don't even know they're dead. But it says this. We were under God's anger like everyone else, but God, but God who is so rich in mercy and He loved us so very much even while we were dead because of our sin, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead.

I hope that's your story. I hope that's your testimony. Every Christian has this basic testimony. I was going my own way, but God changed my life, and I'm going a different direction.

Once you were dead in sin, unable to find peace, but God showed up. Once you were running from God, but God hunted you down. Once you were deceived, blind, and hopeless, but God opened your eyes. As the hymn writer's saying, "I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind, but now I see."

Now you may be sitting here this morning, and you may be thinking something like, well, you know, I've lived a hard life. I've got a lot of baggage. I've got a lot of stuff that I've done that I'm not too happy about. I have too many sins to overcome. I have too much to be forgiven for. You need to insert those two words, "but God."

Cause listen, if God can raise up a dead corpse from the dead, he can change your life today guaranteed. "But God." The world says no, but God says yes. The world says can't, but God says can.

The world says defeat, but God says victory. The world says death, but God says life. The world says impossible, but God says possible. The world says hopeless, but God says hope.

I'm really glad you came to sunrise service. I'm so glad we're celebrating together, but I hope, I really hope that you won't just come to service or come to the stadium or come to church, but I pray you'll come to Christ, personally, really, authentically. That you'll make your own decision for Jesus as so many thousands have over the years in this very stadium, and that's worth celebrating.

In just a moment, I'm going to give you an opportunity. The band is going to come. I'm going to lead in prayer. Band is going to come up. I'm going to give you an opportunity. I want you to think now and get ready to do this, to get up out of your seat no matter where you are seated in this stadium, to not leave right away, but to get up out of your seat and make your way down here on the field and come right in front of this platform.

And by coming, you're saying, I want to receive Christ as Savior. By coming, your saying, I want my sins forgiven. By coming, you are saying, I want my own "but God" story. By coming, you're saying, God changed my life.

Have you come to Him? Have you really come to Him? Do you really believe in Him? Is it just something traditional passed on in your family, or have you made your own decision to follow Christ. No matter who you are, what you've done, what's clinging, holding on to your life, but God. He can change it all.

Let's bow in a word of prayer, and you get ready to come. Father, we thank you for the glorious hope that is found in those two words "but God." Jesus died, but God raised him from the dead.

Jesus was placed in a tomb, but God raised him up. Lord, may that be our story. We were going one direction, but God spoke to our hearts, grabbed a hold of our hearts, and rescued us. Saved us.

Lord Paul said, to you this word of salvation has been sent. To us, here in this stadium this morning, this word of salvation is sent. Many here have been coming to church for years. Some are even leaders in a church, but that pure, deep, authentic, real, personal surrender has not yet happened.

I pray that that would change forever right now. I pray you'd give strength to those who are seated here as we pray for every person, every seat. We pray for those who are watching online right now and seeing this in different parts of the country and the world. We pray for those who are listening by radio. Lord, would you just save and rescue and assure and convince that you love them and have a plan? In Jesus' name, Amen.

I'm going to ask you all to stand for just a moment. When you stand, you make it easier for people around you to get up who are seated next to you and move around you. But as we sing this last song, I'm going to ask you to come up, stand wherever you are standing in this stadium to receive Christ as Savior, to dedicate your life to Him or to rededicate to come back to him because you've wandered from him.

Let this be your "but God" moment. I'm going to ask you to get up and come right now. Find the nearest aisle, and come unto this field and just stand right up here. We're going to just close in together. I'm going to lead you in a prayer to receive Christ as your Savior, your Lord, and then we're going to be dismissed.

Don't put it off another day. Don't put it off another year. Don't wait till next Easter. Don't wait till your friends are or aren't with you. Get up and come now.

Give your life to Christ. If you're far in the back, does not matter. God loves you. God sees you. God knows you by name. You get up and make your way down here.

Don't worry about getting out of here early. We'll make it plenty easy for you to get out. But you come this way. Come stand right up here. Young or old. Male or female.

Doesn't matter your background. Doesn't matter of the color of your skin. God doesn't look at color. He looks at the heart.

You've been invited here by friends or by family members. It's because they love you. They want to see you change for God's glory, for your good. Many are coming. Just come right up here, and stand right up in the front.

We're going to give you time to make that little journey down. If you're way up in the back, we'll give you it time, but come now. Just make your way down this way. Come and stand.

Make a stand for Christ today. You've made a stand for a lot of other things in your life. Make a stand for Jesus. Make a commitment to him. But God. God can do a work in you and for you like never before, like no one else. That's right.

[MUSIC]

I will rise, stand redeemed. Heaven opened over me. To your faith eternally, endless glory I will pray. I will rise, stand redeemed. Heaven opened over me. To your name eternally, endless glory I will pray.

We're going to wait another few moments. If you're in the top, if you're in the middle up in the back. Listen, if you're caught in a row, if you were just saying, excuse me, it's like parting the Red Sea. I love to watch this.

People will just get out of your way or stand with you, encourage you as you come. This is an opportunity. You've been prayed for by a lot of people. They prayed for you. They've invited you. You're here. Now is your moment. Don't pass this moment up. Don't wait another moment, another day.

Are you sure? Are you absolutely sure that you're a saved man or woman? Are you sure that if you were to die, you would go to heaven?

If you're not sure, come and be sure. Make sure. I'm going to lead you in a simple prayer. If you're on that side of the stadium, make your way right through the field here. Just come on this way like this gentleman is doing. God bless you.

Thank you, Jesus. Just as I am, I come. Hallelujah. Oh, what amazing love. Thank you, Jesus. Just as I am, I come. Hallelujah. Oh, what amazing love.

Thank you, Jesus. Just as I am, I come. Hallelujah. Oh, what amazing love. Oh, I come. I come. I come. Hallelujah. Oh, what amazing love.

Let's all go this way. Do you mind? Let's just move a couple steps this way. We're making room for a few more coming in this way. Thank you. Thank you for that. We'll give it just another moment.

Is Jesus knocking at the door of your heart? You may have never a better opportunity than right now, right here. Doesn't get any easier, so to speak than this. Jesus did it all for you.

He did all the heavy lifting for you. He paid the price for you. He shed his blood for you. All you need to do is come and receive Him. Ask Him into your heart. Ask Him to forgive you. It's that simple. Come and make that statement of faith.

Don't hide behind your religion. Don't hide behind your good works. Come nakedly, authentically as you are to Jesus Christ. He'll forgive you. But you come. You come and say this prayer along with the others.

I'll rise. And I will rise, stand redeemed. Heaven opened over me. To your name, eternally, endless glory I will pray. Oh. Thank you, Jesus. I will come. I will come. Yeah.

I want you to know something, those of you who have come, that not only does God love you, He loves you just the way you are, just the way you are. You've come to Him in faith. He loves you the way you are.

But He loves you too much to leave you the way you are. That's the "but God" part. He's going to take you as you are, and you're going to find Him changing. You're going to be different after today. In a moment, you're going to say a prayer to ask Jesus to come in, and he's going to do it. He's going to come inside you, and he's going to change you, first of all, permanently before God, but then every day daily, individually, your lives are going to change.

We still have a few more coming. We're going to make time for them. Anybody else? Anyone else? Come quickly. Don't hesitate. Come down. Just run down those steps. Good. Good thinking.

Now comes the best part. I'm going to lead you in a prayer. It's a prayer of asking Jesus to come inside you, to take control of you. You're giving him you. You're giving him control of your life. You're saying I'm sorry for my sins. I receive what you have done for me. Take me completely. That's what the prayer is. You're giving him ownership and control. You ready?

So I'm going to pray. You're going to pray out loud after me. Let's do it. Say Lord, I give you my life. I know that I'm a sinner.

I know that I'm a sinner.

Please forgive me.

Please, forgive me.

I believe in Jesus.

I believe in Jesus.

I believe he died on a cross.

I believe he died on a cross.

I believe he shed his blood for my sin.

I believe he shed his blood for my sins.

But I believe he rose from the grave.

But I believe he rose from the grave.

And that he's alive today.

And that he's alive today.

And that he's with me right now.

And that he's with me right now.

I turn from my sin.

I turn from my sin.

I repent of it.

I repent of it.

I turn to Jesus as Savior.

I turn to Jesus as Savior.

Help me live for him as Lord.

Help me live for him as Lord.

In Jesus' name, I pray.

In Jesus' name, I pray

Amen.

If God was able to raise Jesus from the dead, what can He do in your life? Hopefully, this story ministered to you, and maybe you have a "but God" story. Maybe you have a story of God intervening in your life. We'd love to hear that. You can let us know at mystory@calvaryabq.org. and maybe you want to get behind this ministry financially. You can always give online at calvaryabq.org.

Hopefully, this message has ministered to you. We're so glad that you joined us. We'll see you next time.

Additional Messages in this Series

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Date Title   Watch Listen Notes Share Save Buy
4/15/2018
completed
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Haters Hate…but God
1 Samuel 23:14-18
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
I want to help you today to view the circumstances of your life correctly; I’d like to clear up your spiritual vision. This week and next, we will examine the lives of two well-known characters in Scripture who were attacked by people close to them, but God changed the outcome. Their evil hatred couldn’t stop the great plans that a good God had set in motion. Today, a five-verse pericope gives rich principles that clear up our vision.
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4/22/2018
completed
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Evil Happens…but God
Genesis 50:15-21
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
The story of Joseph is one of the Bible’s most compelling tales. And the most gripping feature is the difference between Joseph’s outlook and that of his eleven brothers. After all the intrigue, the ups and downs of Joseph’s life and career, and the years of deception and selfishness by Joseph’s brothers, the finale comes after their father, Jacob, dies. This is one of the Bible’s best but God moments,as forgiveness eclipses failure. Let’s consider Joseph’s brothers as they approach him one last time.
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There are 2 additional messages in this series.