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Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday Service

Summary of the Good Friday Sermon given by Spike Coleman

As mentioned before in the Maundy Thursday post, the sermon is the 2ND part of a three part Easter message. Last night we focused on a community of love and what it means to die with Jesus Christ. The scripture lesson is Luke 23: 1-49. It is the story that makes us tremble.

Some of us have had the opportunity to meet Steve Hayner. While he was president of a small christian college, one of his jobs was to separate the students from their parents so that they could attend orientation. He planned events for the parents and often times he would ask them what they wanted for their children. The parents would often say that they wanted their kids to be happy. Steve would say that the was, "so very sorry. I want so much more for my kids. " He would tell the parents he wanted them to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. When we are conformed to this world we pay the price of sin. We think worldly things will make us happy. What does it mean to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ? Think about that.

A friend of Spike's is an associate pastor named Todd. One Sunday when conducting the children's sermon, he asked the children what they needed to do to get to heaven. He got a multitude of different answers. One child said that to get there, first you gotta die. Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. (Luke 17:33) Paul writes in Romans about dying in sin. Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? (Romans 6:2) And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. (Romans 6:21) We will find salvation in Christ. Christ lives in Him and he lives by faith in the son of God.

Tonight we are here to remember the sacrifice made for us so that we die to the powers of sin and evil in the world. What does that mean? It means getting rid of bad habits, the improper way we treat our family, examining the way we use resources, our time and our treasures. We must recognize that the power of evil and sin are greater than our mistakes. Sin corrupts our most noble virtues.

When Spike first got out of school, he at first was dealing with a church located in a bigger metropolitan area. The church was healthy, people came often. It seemed all he had to do was open the doors and they would come. The church was growing and it was strong. Later while working in a different area...Kingston, things were different. Spike was living in the middle of a tobacco field in an area where tobacco used to be king long ago. It was a place where the family farm used to be a way of life. Several generations used to live on the family farm. Now it was a place where all the young people moved away to find work. It was a tough place.

There were some wonderful people there. There were people who loved the Lord and were kind. Years ago there used to be quite a few youth (about 40), but since the younger families were moving away, there were only about four. Parents came to church, not to make it strong, but for healing. There were hard times there and it was tough. One particularly hard day, Spike went home and after reflecting on a Byzantine icon he had acquired from Greece, he lit a candle and prayed for hours. He thought, God, I don't know what you have gotten me into, but if you will provide a moving truck, I will not step foot into another Presbyterian church.

He thought that the ministry was what he could or would do with the church. That is not how it works. Sin is much bigger than our mistakes. Sin affects all we do and are. We need to confess our mistakes, hopes and dreams and plans made to save our lives. Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. If we try to save ourselves we will lose our lives.

Rayford. B. was one of the church members who was having a medical procedure the next day. Spike still had not energy at all. He did speak with Rayford's wife, Sue at the hospital. Spike tried to smile, but he had nothing to give. He stayed with them. The doctor ended up being called away to an emergency so the procedure was delayed. Spike and the family waited and prayed and sat in silence. After a while Rayford looked at Spike and said, "I am grateful to God that you are my pastor." Needless to say, the moving truck never came. Jesus came.

It is not our plan. It is what Jesus Christ wants to be in and through us. Our goal and life in church is constructed by the mission of Jesus Christ. If we are to get new life, first we must die.


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