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"But God..." - (Easter service) - 2013-03-31 (Traditional)

"But God..." - (Easter service) - 2013-03-31 (Traditional)

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Published by John Partridge
David was a murderer... but God.
Moses was a shepherd... but God.
Gideon was a coward... but God.
Two words can change the world.
How will they change yours?
David was a murderer... but God.
Moses was a shepherd... but God.
Gideon was a coward... but God.
Two words can change the world.
How will they change yours?

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Categories:Types, Speeches
Published by: John Partridge on Mar 31, 2013
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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“But God…”
March 31, 2013
Easter Sunday
Luke 24:1-12Acts 10:34-43I Corinthians 15:19-26
Have you ever been in a situation where you seemed to have come to the end of your rope, where therewas no one to turn to, no one to call, no help in sight and you have very nearly resigned yourself towhatever fate was about to drop on your head when suddenly… everything changed? This week I read astory about a man in California who went for a walk in the park with his dog, something that he does allthe time, but this week it all turned out differently. This week as they were in the middle of the woods inthe park, his dog stopped, refused to go further, began whining, and pulled him off the trail. There, under a tree, was a hole the size of a dinner plate and, as the dog sniffed the hole and the man looked down intoit, he realized that there was a pair of eyes looking back at him from the hole and a faint voice that askedfor water. In the hole was a homeless man who had gone under the tree looking for some shelter and fellin the hole. He had been trapped there for four days. He would have died… but… there was this dog. Not every situation of this kind is a life or death struggle. Sometimes younger workers are spared in acycle of layoff because a few of the older guys decided to retire. Sometimes a new contract comesthrough just before the money runs out. Sometimes we hold on by a thread through the generosity of our family, friends and church. Whatever it was, many of us have been through times when we though wecouldn’t make it, but we did, thanks to the intervention of another person, or through the grace of Godhimself.In all of history, in all of the works of literature, there is no word that heralds the unexpected greater thanthe word “but.” There is no word that prepares us to expect change, like the word “but.” After beingtrapped for four days the man in the hole thought that he was going to die,
there was this dog. If weconnect this amazing and powerful word, “but,” and we connect it with the creator of the universe, this becomes an earth shattering, world changing combination… but God.Baby Moses would have died… but God prepares a way out.Moses was a shepherd in the wilderness, happily minding his own business… but God has other plans.Israel was trapped against the Red Sea… but God makes a way forward.David was a cheating, wife stealing, murderer… but God uses him anyway.Gideon was a coward from a family and a town almost no one ever heard of… but God calls him “mightywarrior.”That is the story that we remember at Easter. No matter what is happening in your life, no matter whereyou have been, no matter what you have done, no matter what others think of you, when you add thewords, “but God,” everything changes. Let us begin on this Easter morning with these words from
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
but when they entered, they did not  find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that  gleamed like lightning stood beside them.
 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?
 He is not here; hehas risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:
‘The Son of Man must bedelivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”
Then theyremembered his words.
When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.
 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to theapostles.
 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.
 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves,and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
Jesus had died on the cross on Friday and buried before the Passover holiday began at sunset. The tombhad been sealed and a guard had been posted to keep disciples, zealots, and grave robbers away. Thewomen, friends and followers of Jesus, go to the tomb on Sunday morning to do what could not be doneon Friday evening; they go to the tomb expecting to find everything the way that they left it…
but God
.Whenever we say that, the world changes.Jesus was dead, but now he isn’t. The tomb was full, but now it isn’t. There used to be a bunch of Romanguards, but now there aren’t. Everything has changed in an instant because of those two words. Peter wonders to himself what had happened, but over the course of the next few weeks, he begins tounderstand. Peter and the rest of the disciples meet the risen Christ, speak with him, eat with him, touchhim, even placing their hands inside his wounds, and they begin to understand. In
Acts 10:34-43,
Peter explains to the world what has happened…
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism
but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.
You know the message God  sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptismthat John preached— 
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how hewent around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was withhim.
“We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him byhanging him on a cross,
but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen.
 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.
 All the prophets testify about himthat everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Peter says “
You know what happened 
.” You know what Jesus did.
We are witnesses of everything that he did 
They killed him by hanging him on a cross…
but God 
.” There it is again. There are those twowords that change the world. Jesus was dead…
but God
. Peter says that he and his friends used to be2
fishermen and tax collectors and ordinary men and women…
but God
has now made them all teachersand preachers and missionaries.
are called upon to
and so, all of those who arewitnesses of the miracles and the teaching of Jesus Christ are commanded to tell the world what hashappened.But as wonderful as this news is, it isn’t the end. Remember I said that those two words changeeverything. In
I Corinthians 15:19-26
, the Apostle Paul writes this:
 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
 For  since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.
 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when hecomes, those who belong to him.
Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.
 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
Jesus was dead and buried… but God.The world changed, and Paul reminds us that it isn’t just the world that we live in that has changed. Itisn’t just the seventy or eighty years that we are allowed to live on planet Earth that have changed.Human beings, as a group, and as individuals, tend to be a sorry bunch. We make mistakes and do stupidstuff… a lot. Not one of us can claim a life that even remotely approaches perfection, but that is exactlythe standard of a perfect God.Every one of us has committed offenses against God that require us to pay the penalty of death. Wedeserve to die…
but God
.Because of what Jesus did on Friday evening and on Easter morning, death itself has been destroyed.Every one of God’s children has fallen short of perfection…
but God
has made a way for us to be made perfect. We were all doomed to pay the penalty for the things that we have done…
but God
has allowedJesus Christ to pay that penalty for us.That is the story that we remember at Easter. No matter what is happening in your life, no matter whereyou have been, no matter what you have done, no matter what others think of you, when you add thewords, “but God,” everything changes.In
Ephesians 2:12-13
, Paul says, “
remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded  from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God inthe world.
 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Whatever it is that makes you think that you are separate from God, whatever it is that makes you think that you don’t belong, whatever it is that makes you feel like an outsider, whatever it is that makes youfeel like you’re not good enough, whatever it is that makes you feel like you are without hope and withoutGod…
that thing
what Easter is all about.3

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