Some of you here today have been through a battle.
It has been something that has nearly destroyed your life.
You are left dazed and confused by the things of life. It’s as if someone took your hopes and dreams and dashed them against the rocks. You feel broken, bruised and torn.
It might even seem as though there is no hope left for you.
- You are just about ready to quit.
- You desire to throw in the towel.
- You have done all that you know to do.
I want to remind you of what we have been talking about for weeks now in this series of posts…
You need to have an attitude that says, “Do Not Quit.”
But what about when your fight is gone?
What about when you’ve exhausted your resources?
What about when you’ve done all that you know how to do?
What about when the problems of life grow bigger and bigger and you feel small in comparison?
If you can relate to anything I’ve said so far, then there is hope for you…especially because of Easter.
Easter is the hope of new beginnings, but not new beginnings that depend on your power or ability.
It is a day that celebrates and commemorates the hope that God has for humanity through Jesus Christ.
Easter is a day that tells us, “I don’t have to be strong enough to not quit, because someone has already done the work for me.”
So today, if you feel like quitting, then take courage, because Jesus has already taken your place.
In fact, Jesus is the one person in history who NEVER QUIT.
Nothing about Jesus was anything remotely close to quitting.
Not one time did it even cross his mind.
The point is simple…and the point is for you…Jesus didn’t quit…he finished.
And There is a big difference between the two.
- Quitting means to stop the work before the work is done.
- Finishing means that you can stop BECAUSE the work is done.
- To finish means that you have earned your reward and you have earned your rest.
To put it very plain: The reason that you want to quit is because you haven’t allowed Jesus to come in and finish the work in your life.
You might have even allowed him to start a work in your life…but he needs the opportunity to finish.
- It’s more than a prayer.
- It’s more than attendance.
- It’s more than showing up.
- It’s more than wishing things would be better.
- You don’t need to know all the answers…you just need THE ONE answer.
- You don’t need to have all the strength…you just need HIS STRENGTH.
- You don’t have to make all the decisions…you just need to make ONE DECISION.
Jesus has done the work that needs to be done in your life and all you have to do is put your hope, faith, and trust in him. Why? Because Jesus didn’t quit…he finished.
Jesus is the only one in history who was able to completely finish life the way God the Father intended for life to be finished.
So Jesus is able to completely save those that put their faith in him…believing that he has already done the work that is needed.
Today you and I need to continue to believe that Jesus has ALREADY done ALL the work that is necessary in our life.
We just have to put our faith in HIM instead of our self.
Luke 23:13–25 NLTse
13 Then Pilate called together the leading priests and other religious leaders, along with the people,
14 and he announced his verdict. “You brought this man to me, accusing him of leading a revolt. I have examined him thoroughly on this point in your presence and find him innocent.
15 Herod came to the same conclusion and sent him back to us. Nothing this man has done calls for the death penalty.
What Pilate says in this moment is vitally important. It is the crux of why Jesus could take your place.
In fact, the Bible says that, “ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
All, that is, except Jesus.
- Jesus never sinned.
- Jesus was NOT guilty.
- Jesus did nothing wrong.
- Jesus did not DESERVE to die.
Even the worldly leaders surrounding him attest to this fact.
Jesus is innocent.
16 So I will have him flogged, and then I will release him.”
18 Then a mighty roar rose from the crowd, and with one voice they shouted, “Kill him, and release Barabbas to us!”
19 (Barabbas was in prison for taking part in an insurrection in Jerusalem against the government, and for murder.)
20 Pilate argued with them, because he wanted to release Jesus.
21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
22 For the third time he demanded, “Why? What crime has he committed? I have found no reason to sentence him to death. So I will have him flogged, and then I will release him.”
23 But the mob shouted louder and louder, demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their voices prevailed.
You and I are the modern day equivalent of this story.
We can either choose to do life in our own strength and power, which is so limited that we will want to quit, or we can choose Jesus, the author of our faith and the only one who can save us; and by his strength and power we can prevail.
They had just one choice…see Jesus for who he really was, or crucify him.
They made the wrong choice for themselves, but it turned out to be the right choice for US.
They chose to crucify Jesus; and with him they crucified:
- Eternal life.
Let me ask you a question:
Which voice is prevailing in your life right now?
- Is it the voice that pushes Jesus away?
- Or the voice that desires for Jesus to come in to your life?
24 So Pilate sentenced Jesus to die as they demanded.
25 As they had requested, he released Barabbas, the man in prison for insurrection and murder. But he turned Jesus over to them to do as they wished.
I want you to understand exactly what it is that Jesus has done for you.
I want you to know why it is vitally important that Jesus didn’t quit, but instead, FINISHED.
You and I need to understand the gravity of the choice that we have.
- It is a choice of life or death.
- It is a choice of heaven or hell.
- It is a choice of eternity with God or separation from him.
Whether we think it or not, we CANNOT live life on our OWN terms and make it to heaven.
- You and I cannot be IN CHARGE of our own way and still live for God.
- You and I cannot make the choices that WE WANT TO MAKE and still be pleasing to God.
The message of the Gospel is hope to humanity, but for this hope to come to light in our life requires that we LAY DOWN our life and TAKE UP his.
The Bible goes on to describe some of what Jesus did for you and me…
In fact, this is from centuries before it ever took place.
These are the Old Testament prophecies that Jesus fulfilled…
Isaiah 50:6–11 NLTse
6 I offered my back to those who beat me and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard. I did not hide my face from mockery and spitting.
7 Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame.
Jesus set his face like a stone to do God’s will so that WE COULD BE SAVED.
He did all of this for you and for me.
- We’ve turned our back on him.
- We’ve lied, cheated, and stolen our heart from him.
- We’ve gone our own direction, and followed our own path.
- We’ve done disgrace to the heart of God.
The Bible says…
8 He who gives me justice is near. Who will dare to bring charges against me now? Where are my accusers? Let them appear!
9 See, the Sovereign Lord is on my side! Who will declare me guilty? All my enemies will be destroyed like old clothes that have been eaten by moths!
10 Who among you fears the Lord and obeys his servant? If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the Lord and rely on your God.
This is the call that Jesus makes to each of us.
Trust in the Lord and begin to rely on God.
- This happens when you give your whole heart to him.
- This happens when you turn over the keys to your life to him.
- This happens when you believe that Jesus died for YOU.
Jesus didn’t quit…he finished.
- He finished the work needed to heal your broken life.
- He finished the work needed to put together your broken heart.
- He finished the work needed to fix all your problems.
- He finished the work needed to make your heart right with God.
The most important message of the Gospel is the fact that because Jesus died and ROSE again from the dead…that if you believe on him, and confess that he is your Lord, and believe that he rose again…YOUR HEART CAN BECOME RIGHT WITH GOD.
11 But watch out, you who live in your own light and warm yourselves by your own fires. This is the reward you will receive from me: You will soon fall down in great torment.
Listen, you cannot live life on your own terms and expect for things to work out.
You cannot expect to be anything but a quitter.
You might tell yourself, “I’m not a quitter,” but unless Jesus comes into your life and becomes your strength, you WILL quit.
Even if not in THIS life…eternity will force you to quit.
The choice to not choose Jesus, is the choice to quit on the only real life that is available to us.
Here’s what I mean…
You might have your way IN THIS LIFE…but this life is NOT the end.
You have an eternal soul that needs God and needs the sacrifice that Jesus offered on the cross, otherwise your eternity will be WITHOUT God and without HOPE.
Not choosing Jesus is QUITTING on your eternity.
Speaking of Jesus, the Bible goes on to say…
Isaiah 53:3–11 NLTse
3 He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.
4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!
5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
7 He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.
8 Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people.
9 He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.
10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.
This passage of scripture has been fulfilled completely.
Jesus did not quit…he finished.
In fact, the final words of Jesus on the cross tell us that he knew his work was done.
John 19:28–30 NLTse
28 Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.”
29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips.
30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Here’s what we need to know today…
Jesus didn’t JUST DIE…
- Jesus CHOSE to die.
- He chose the exact moment to die.
- He chose to carry our sins.
- He chose to take your place.
Jesus did not quit…he finished.
There is a BIG difference.
What we celebrate in the message of Easter, is the fact that Jesus did not stay dead.
He did not stay in the tomb.
The grave was not a prison for him.
On the third day, Jesus rose by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit of God came into his body and he rose from the dead.
This is why we have hope.
Jesus finished his mission on earth, and started his mission in heaven, where he sits at the right hand of the throne of his Father, praying for you.
- He seeks to find you.
- He is the one who looks for you when you are lost.
- He is the one who took your place.
- He is the one who rose from the dead to PROVE that he is God.
And today YOU and I have a choice…
To choose life…
Or to choose death…
Choosing your own path is sure death for your eternity.
But Jesus is the choice that brings life…the only choice that brings life.
- Today is the moment of choice.
- You don’t have to continue down the same path…your destination can change today.
- You have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.
- There is a battle going on in your heart and mind for control of your life.
- Not everyone will become a child of God.
- Some will choose their own way.
- But you don’t have to be one of them.
Jesus didn’t quit…he finished.
Today you can choose him and God will change your life for the better NOW and for YOUR ETERNITY in heaven.