We serve a living God. People of the world have a small god. Don’t limit Him. Get out of the box and roll with the Lord who conquered the grave. (Matthew 27:62-66; Luke 24:1-6)
Speaker(s): Pastor Bob Colban
Sermon # 11462
11:00 AM on 4/29/2018
P. Bob Colban
I was doing a wedding last Friday night and everyone stood for the bride coming down the aisle. I started talking about marriage and looked around and 150 were still standing, so I finally realized you are supposed to sit down when I sit.
P. Mark also mentioned at the 9:00 service, and I got a call last night and it was P. Schaller. He’s in the Far East. He said good morning. I said good night! He called to say to you that I love them and that I miss them and thinking of them and praying for them. That’s our pastor. I thought you were thinking of me!
Mt. 27:62, this part of Scripture follows the death and burial of Christ. He is in the tomb. Pilate was the Roman ruler.
vs. 63. The religious leaders are afraid and what to make sure what Jesus said doesn’t come to pass.
vs. 64-66. I liked this portion of Scripture. It says they wanted to make the tomb as sure as possible because their fear was the disciples would come and steal the body and say what Jesus said came to pass. Not only were they sealing the disciples out but sealing Jesus in. You might say that’s crazy but they were crazy. They crucified the Son of God and put him through horrific torture.
Jn. 11 they also saw Lazarus was dead and saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead. Jesus told his disciples to roll away the stone and then Lazarus came forth. We’ll seal the tomb so they can’t get out. We get a glimpse of how they think. We think about this and how foolish this is. Do you think a seal around a stone will hold the Son of God in? Do you think this tomb can hold me? Do you think you got me in a place where I can’t get out? We look in retrospect but we see the foolishness and folly of thinking they can control God.
Luke 24, this is the third day when the disciples came to the tomb.
vs. 1-6. Another gospel says he is risen as he says to you. Why seek ye him that liveth among the dead (another translation)? We serve a living God. Why seek ye the living amongst the dead? Why would anyone serve a dead God? But we see so many in the world have a small God they can control. They put him in a box and say this is my God. God says, are you serious? Do you know who I am? That’s as foolish as thinking you can keep me in a tomb. Can you keep me in a box? I’ve been to Jerusalem and looked in the tomb and he’s not there! He’s not in the tomb. He’s not static. He’s alive today and wants us to realize that. I think two groups saw Jesus in his ministry; the disciples and the Pharisees. Jesus said to his disciples, follow me and they left everything and followed him. They went on the ride of their life. They went on a lightning bolt and held on. Not with a God in a little box but something for you so far beyond your fishing nets. We’re going on a ride. God says I’m going to take you on a ride. The Pharisees tried to keep the lid on it. They had control of their God and their concept of God. We have a nice, neat system and we don’t want him messing it up. I think of this analogy. It expresses what I want to express. I don’t know how many of you make popcorn. Not microware. But put in the pot and put oil in. The pot and the oil. If you put in too many cornels, you blow the lid off the pot. All of a sudden it’s filling up and then it picks the lid up. You have this wall of popcorn and then it explodes and you have it all over the place. That’s how Jesus was. The Pharisees would say, Jesus, you’re getting popcorn all over the kitchen. Watch us make it. We measure the exact amount. We have it under control. We’ve been making popcorn for 2,000 years. Jesus says I’m here to blow the lid off your popcorn! That’s what he would say to us. The Pharisees had this nice life; most of them were well off. They could control the people…they had this comfortable position in society. They had authority. Jesus said you say things but don’t do them. They were the person to be seen of men. They would make sure people see them pray. Everything was done outwardly for a show.
Mt 23, he took them to task…you love these greetings and best seats in the synagogue. Inside you are filled with dead men’s bones. These were Jewish religious leaders following God to the T. They have God in a box they can control. Don’t mess with the box. The box gives us our life. We profit off of this making sure we control God. Jesus messes it all up. Why did they crucify him? Is it because I gave sight to the blind? It is because I said pick up your bed and walk to the paralyzed man? Are you killing me because I calmed the water or cast out demons? We are killing you because you’re messing up with the popcorn. They went behind Jesus trying to clean up like the guy with the elephant at the parade. We know this but it’s great to be reminded. They healed the paralyzed man.
Luke 6:11 his hand was paralyzed from birth. They were filled with madness. He did it on the Sabbath. He did it outside the box so it caused problems with the Pharisees. You see someone with a withered hand and they are paralyzed or can’t walk, because it’s on the Sabbath he sad I’ll heal you today.
Jn 5 the guy was there and Jesus said pick up your bed and walk. The Pharisees said what are you doing? I’m walking for the first time of my life. You can’t carry your bed on the Sabbath. I’m walking. Who told you you could carry your bed on the Sabbath? You’re not in my box here. His name is Jesus. They didn’t say, praise God you’re healed. Wouldn’t that be our reaction? Who said you can pick up your bed and walk? They were mad at Jesus when Jesus healed the blind man. Who did it? I don’t know because I couldn’t see. I was blind when I did it. They challenged him. Were you really blind? They called his parents. Was he really blind? What about praise God you can see? The religious leaders say who told you? Who did this? For the blind man they put him out the synagogue. All I know is I was blind and now I see.
Jn 11 Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.
vs. 53. This is the response. Amazing, isn’t it? It’s mind boggling to us. Their little God in a box and they don’t want anyone to mess with it. Here they control everything but over here, God controls everything. Then you have these disciples hanging onto the coat tails of Jesus. Jesus is taking them on the ride of their life. Come follow me and I’ll make you fishers of men. They are walking away from their nets and start to witness these miracles. It also says they were astonished at his doctrine. He spoke with one who had authority. There was something in his words and countenance. Jesus is sleeping in the storm. They were the fishermen. They should have been calm. It was the opposite of what you expect. If Jesus was in the box, he would rely on the fishermen. But Jesus isn’t in the box. He did so many things outside the box, outside the norm. I’m a god that is alive now, I will be alive then, and for all eternity. It’s amazing to see it in Scriptures. They watched him heal the sick and cast out demons. We have not food and have 5,000 people. Not a problem. Fish and loaves. The math, five loaves and two fishes and five thousand people. The math doesn’t work. The natural way of thinking is not working here. You got to send them away. Not a problem. I am the living God. I don’t even need the loaves and fish. They start passing it out and it keeps coming out of the basket. Dozens of baskets of leftovers. I’m a God that says I don’t need any of that stuff because I’m a living God. I’m not in a tomb or box. I’m not in a stale belief system. Bring what you have and it will be enough. The disciples didn’t expect this. Jesus comes walking out in the middle of the storm. How’s it going? Jesus, do you understand you are walking on water? I’m the living God. What does water matter to me? I rolled the stone away so you can look in not so I could get out. I’m the living God. People came to him. He raised the widow’s son from the dead. Leprosy. Incredible disease. Go and you’ll be healed on the way. Their skin becomes perfect again. John said in the last verse of his gospel, if we wrote down everything Jesus said and did the world cannot contain the books. That’s what they were experiencing. The Pharisees are trying to keep the lid on.
What’s the question this morning to us? Can we get this way? We absolutely can. If we’re not going this way, we’re drifting this way to a small god. I’ve been saved over 40 years and could say I know all this stuff. I can get very cavalier. I know it all. I know God. What do you want to know? So my box is this tiny. Can’t we get that attitude? Oh, church. Another message. I’ve heard 20,000. We put God in a tiny box and I say to all of us, watch out. You’ve seen the jack-in-a- box that scared kids for life! At two years old it scares the heck out of them! Why don’t they like clowns? Because he jumped out of the jack-in-a-box.
God will blow our box apart. TNT or whatever he has to use. You think you know me? You put me in this little box. You haven’t seen anything. When Jesus was told Lazarus was sick, why didn’t he get up and go? He waited two more days. He could have said you’re healed but he stayed two more days. He said to the disciples he’s dead. He said it flat out. I’m doing this for your sake. When he gets there, they say if you were here, you could have healed him. They had a big box. They believed God could have healed Lazarus if he came in time. He wanted to show something else about himself. I am the living God. Don’t pigeon hole me. I’ll show you something else about me. If your box is this big, I’ll blow your box apart. I don’t care if he’s dead ten days or 20 years, he’s coming out of that tomb. God doesn’t want us thinking we got him wrapped up. Let’s go. I’m alive. Grab on. We could be either type of person. We could be a Pharisee and think this is the best it will get with God. Our life gets small all of a sudden. There is no excitement because we have it all under control. Christianity is boring. Soul winning, who needs to do that? We got God in a box and we are not allowing him out. Then what happens we start to look for excitement elsewhere. We have not let God be a living God in our life. He’s a dead God, a God I can control. This can happen to any of us in any point in time. We need to be aware this can happen to us. To think we understand God and there is nothing else. God has this amazing life for us.
My wife and I were talking the other day. We’re not wealthy. I’ve been a carpenter and raised 4 kids. Every dollar was precious. Somehow in the midst of all of that, I’m not bragging, I’ve been to India, Puerto Rico, Budapest, Hungary; we lived in Nimes and visited Paris; we’ve been to… (He names more places). On a carpenter’s salary? How does this happen? Our families are like, what is with you guys? You’re going to Europe again? Are you independently wealthy? I worked for a boss who took me and Chris to Eurocon four times for free. Hanging on to Jesus’ coat tails. We went to four conferences in five years. God says I’ll take you to Eurocon so you can experience that for free. Hang on. Don’t stop over here and limit me. Maybe it’s not traveling all over the world. Our doctor keeps up on our trip. Where have you been lately? We say our church is international.
It’s God, the living God. Whatever it is for you, it could be totally different. But there is life there. I love the testimony pastor shared about Zuza. She was in bed and couldn’t do anything. Can’t fly around the world. They had a hotline, a suicide need help, and the number rang to her phone. She had the phone by her ear and she took all these calls. How many people did she minister to? Maybe she talked some off the proverbial ledge. I have something for you.
You’ll minister life to people on a daily basis. What’s the difference? No difference. Don’t think you’re done. God, what’s next? I am yours. Not you are mine. I am yours. Do with me as you will. Make sure I don’t lose grip of this. This will take us to a life whether here or anywhere, hanging onto the coat tails of Jesus.
In conclusion, what else could I say? We pray to a living God. We pray and have an expectation. Some might say I pray and God doesn’t answer. The paralyzed man, the beggar was there from birth. Jesus said today is your day. There was a day he said you will be healed today. Pray with that expectation and see what God does. I serve a living God. My God is alive and not dead. That’s the message this morning.
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