The sign most spoken against is the Cross. Christ was born for that sign. The sword of His true life revealed the thoughts of many hearts. Another sign was the calming of the wind and waves. What did the disciples witness? How did they think? He raised dead ones. He healed in the midst of enemies. (Luke 2:34-35; Luke 8:22-25; John 11:46-53; Mark 3:1)

Speaker: Thomas Schaller
Sermon # 12634
Time: Wed 7:00 PM

P. Schaller –

Let’s open in prayer tonight. Would you have a prayer with your neighbor for a moment? Pray for family.
Pray for the missionaries on the field. Pray for third world opportunities. With your neighbor
have a prayer. Okay.

Would you turn with me to Luke 2 for our introduction. I feel like the Christian calendar has two
main holidays, Christmas, and Easter. Christmas is when we get occupied with the person of
Christ. Who is He? When he came into the world, who is he? Easter has more to do with his
work. What he did on the cross and his ministry on the earth. I always love Christmas because
it’s a time of meditation on his person. And how fantastic his person is. It’s incredible. No one
like him. Being God. Completely God.

Fully God. Almighty. One hundred percent altogether without any equivocation. No contest. No compromise. Just he is God in the flesh. Because of that, then you have a very dynamic phenomena that happens in life. Because when
we are confronted with him, then it has an effect. This is Luke 2:34-35. Jesus is eight days old
brought into the temple and presented to a rabbi to be circumcised and during that visit,
Simeon, this old man, vs. 34. So, we really have two things that relate to him in regards to this –
let’s see. We have the fall and the rising of what? People. He will be for the fall of people. And
he’s also for the rising of people. Of many in Israel.

Without doing violence to the verse, we could say he is for the fall and rise of many in history,
in the whole world. How you relate to him. Either you rise. You are healed. You are forgiven.
You are promoted. You are given eternal life, or you fall. That’s what he will do to you. You
cannot be neutral. It happens. You are with him, or you are against him.

We see in the Gospels there is a number of places – we’ll see that a little bit later – there’s a
number of places where they were shocked when they encountered him. There were words
like they were amazed. They wondered. There were people that were so amazed, they were
afraid. They were shaken. When they were confronted with his miracles in some cases in Luke 8
and sometimes with his wisdom. This is in Matthew 13. They were amazed. They were shaken in their
lives by him.

So that’s what Simeon says when he’s eight days old. He takes the baby in his arms, and he
prophesies. He says this person, this is it. This is the person in history. I mean, it’s just profound.
There’s nobody like him in all of history. There’s no man. There’s no religious leader. There’s no
philosophy. There’s nothing like it in all the world. He is so unique. He is so different.

What else does he say? For a sign which will be spoken against. I wonder what the sign is that
will be spoken against? I know what one of them is. This one. The cross. That’s a sign. That’s a
sign of Christ. That’s a sign. Maybe you could have the sign of a fish or even something like a
bumper sticker or there’s something that confronts the human race with this reality, and it will be spoken against. I don’t know why, I just don’t like Christians. I don’t like churches. I don’t like
the cross. I don’t want to hear about Jesus. He will be a sign spoken against. Isn’t that amazing?
In the Islamic world, the cross is not a good thing.

The fact that Christ is hanging on a cross between heaven and earth, that is not a good thing. In Islam, they don’t have Jesus dying on the cross. They have Judas dying on the cross. And Jesus without dying is ascended up they say as a
prophet. This is a sign spoken against. But how do you relate to it and how do you and I?
Paul said the cross, I glory in it. I glory in it. It is the answer for the human race. What he did on
the cross, that is our bread and butter. What he did on the cross, that is the gospel. What he did
on the cross is the most amazing thing in all of history. What he did on the cross will solve our
problem. Reconcile us to God. We are reconciled to God. We’re not nice guys.

This is the other picture maybe you could say. I don’t know how to – free page here maybe.
Okay. How do you make that black? Okay. Forget it. Shut her down! I can’t remember what I
was saying. The other way is you’re a nice guy. I’m a Buddhist. How’s that working? I’m good.
I’m Islamic or secular or an atheist. Human race. We’re good. We get along. Hey if we just get
along and behave, it doesn’t matter what religion you have. It’s all good. Don’t worry about it.
This is different from this one. Where were we? I’m getting lost again in this thing whatever I’m
doing. There’s one. The fall and the rising. This is what Christ came to do.

This is extraordinary.

He doesn’t say we’re nice guys. Just get along. Whoever you worship. Whatever you believe in.
Whatever works for you, that’s good. We’re all basically good and we get along.
He didn’t say that. That’s not the gospel. This one is a controversy. This one is radical This one is
the reality of God. This one is reconciliation of enemies. Being reconciled to God. To become
friends of God through the cross. That’s what we are celebrating, the person that saved us. The
person that made that happen. The person. God that came into the world to save us. Isn’t that
beautiful? Okay. That’s it.

We did a little short compilation of some video from a few different places and some pictures I
think because I am so blessed that the churches in Greater Grace in different parts of the world
use this time to reach out and touch people by caroling and sometimes doing radical street
work in order to share the message. So, we have some. Is it self-explanatory? I think it is. We
have Turkey, Oman, India, here in Baltimore. So, let’s see what we got there. The last one was a
train station in Helsinki, Finland. Isn’t that beautiful. Amen. Thank you. So, Benscu and Mika are
visiting here for Christmas time, so I’m asking Benscu to share a few words with us and pray for
the offering. Here he is. Good to have you. Anything on your heart. Anything at all.

Benscu –

I have just big thanks in my heart. Really. Like my life changed here in Baltimore and I
feel the authority of God in this room. I feel the anointing of God in this room. And if you are
seeking God, I believe your life can be changed here. God has anointed this church, and life getsbetter and better when you find Jesus. From glory to glory. We’re not shrinking back when we
go back from Bible school, but we keep finding Christ more and more. I believe that. The Bible
says that. Just a big warm thanks. We can make a difference through the Holy Spirit. We can
choose. Let us pray that God will raise up more leaders, quality leaders like he has. So, thank
you. Thank you. Love you guys so much. Thank you.

P. Schaller –

Okay. Turn to Luke, please, for our message just for a few more moments. We are
in chapter 2. Luke 2. The Deity of Christ in Hebrews 1. He is the brightness of God’s glory. The
express image of God’s person. Recently, I’ve been meditating about if we didn’t know the
gospel, and we asked somebody the question, if God came into the world, what would you
expect God to be like? If God who created the universe came into the world, what would he be
like? Isn’t that a good question?

I would say I would expect him to be wise. I would expect him to be affecting us. I would expect
him to be – I would like to believe he would be kind, powerful, extraordinary. I would like to
think he would do miracles. I would like to think when he talked to somebody, he would touch
them. That he would not overwhelm us by being something beyond us that we could never
really comprehend. I would like to think he would be with us, like come to us and care for us. Of
course, I have been deeply affected by the gospel. Obviously. But that being said, I really, I
really think it’s a good question. And when Christ came, that’s what we find.

But he’s also not coming just to say we’re nice guys and whatever you believe in is fine with me.
Get on with your life. I came here to encourage you. But instead, he came and the effect he has
and what it means to us is profound.

Look at Chapter 2:34-35. Mary is the mother, and she has a soul. She’s with her son and
watching him grow up. And hasn’t yet seen where this is going. But she’s told by prophesy that
it’s going to be painful for you. You’re going to suffer also. Maybe because in retrospect as we
see it, she’s at the cross seeing her son crucified. How hard that would be for a mother. How
sad to see your son kind of on the outside of society. So sad to see that things are happening
and it’s affecting her painfully. She’s realizing we’re not playing games. It’s for real. If this is the
Messiah and she knew that it is, if this is the Messiah how is this playing out? It’s hard on me,
maybe she could say. I sword is piercing my soul.

Why? Look at the verse. It says that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. It has to be
shocking. Cause we are in the middle of either loving him or hating him. It is that way. Like
there’s no middle ground. And many times in the Gospels, you see they were drawn to him and
then they were like oh no! This is extraordinary.

Let’s look at one story, Luke 8. This carries the weight of what I want to say. Luke 8:22-25. Of
course, you know that they don’t exactly know what they are a part of. They are learning. They’re just following. They’re living by faith like many of us as we started our Christian
journey. Yeah, I’ll go with him. Yeah, let’s go. I don’t see any problem with that. I actually like
him. I’m attracted to him. I mean he says some crazy things. I don’t know exactly what this
means but I’m hanging out with him. Of course, it’s deeper. They’re called and they are going
but it’s kind of like on the surface. They don’t know. They don’t know.

Vs. 23-24. Now comes the extraordinary part. Vs. 25. I want to put in my words. They said to
one another, what the heck is going on? They said one to another, no. This is crazy. What? Did
you see that? They were amazed. They were shocked. They were moved. They could say what
are we part of? What is this. I’m out of here. What is this? This is too strong. This is too much.
Yeah. I don’t know but I’m trying to say to you that when this person touches your life, when
this is Christ, when God comes into your life, it’s not a game.

It’s so serious you get scared. It’s so real it shakes you. You start to say, what? You start to say I love him. I am in. I am drawn. Or you might say I am out of here. I hate him. I want to kill him. That’s what happened. We’ll look
at it in a minute. Let’s look at the story.

Vs. 25. There it is. Now, go to John 11. Another one of these stories. He raises Lazarus from the
dead. Chapter 11:1-44. You know the story. You can read the chapter and get an understanding
of the radical nature of this story, the resurrection of a dead man. Four days dead. Resurrected
from the dead. What are you going to do about that. What would you do about that? Worship
him. Believe in him. What are you going to do about that. Of course you would worship. You
would fall down and worship him and love him. Yes, and no. No. No. They don’t do that. Yes,
they do.

Let’s read it. vs. 45. Yes, he got them. Yes, he did. He touched. Yes, he affected. Yes, they were
amazed. Yes, they were convinced. Yes, it was amazing. Yes, that is radical. Yes, that is
incredible. Yes, he is Christ. He is the Messiah. Yes!

Then what about vs. 46-48? You’re blowing smoke. You’re full of it. Who cares about your
opinion or what you have to say. You can always find if you hate him, you can always find. You
can resist him. You can hate him. You can go against him. You can make up a story about Billy
Graham or the church or you can go and do your thing because you’re not going to be left
alone. He’s going to bug you and you’re going to have to kill him.

Let’s read it. Where are we? Vs. 49. So, they’re doing their conspiracy and he’s arrogant. Vs. 50.
Whatever they’re talking about, whatever thing they’re spinning whatever story their talking
about it’s just [?] as they say in Hungarian. You can imagine what it means.
Vs. 52. Let’s turn to Mt. 13. I pray that Jesus will not let you and I alone. Amen. No. He will not
let us alone. Okay. Got the wrong one. Let’s go to another one and we’ll finish up. Mark 3. Yeah.

Vs. 1-2. It’s incredible the spirits that are in the world. The spirits that are against Christ. The
spirits. I remember being in college when I first became a believer, and I remember one guy in
the dormitory that was like furious about it, about believing in Jesus. He was just so angry about
it. I didn’t know anything about this Christian life. I didn’t know anything. I remembered that
thing that happened.

There are many spirits in the world and there are spirits that people have succumbed to. There
are spirits of arrogance. There are spirits of lying and deceit. There are spirits of error. There is
jealousy, bitterness, lasciviousness, alcoholism and so on. Spirit of rebellion. I know a person if I
say “green” they will say “red” just because they’re rebellious. If I say “yes” they will say “no.”
Just because they are rebellious. You say “yes” they will say “no” just because they have a weird
spirit in rebellion. They are just in a state of rebellion. They are not thinking. They are not
objective.

Here Christ comes into the synagogue, and they are watching him. Vs. 2. They watched him. Vs.
3-4. Why did they hold their peace? They are not in it. They are not in it. They are against it.
They are against it. Isn’t that amazing? This is all that I want to say tonight that Christ, his
person – imagine how difficult it was for him to come into this world and be with us. Be with
these spirits. Be with us that are afraid of him. Be with us who love him, but we have big
questions in our mind about our self-life. Will this destroy me? If I follow him, will he destroy
me? That’s in Mark 1. Depart from us. Did you come to destroy us? There are many spirits. And
also in the Christian life there are spirits that we may have that come upon us or persuade us or
something in our heart that is not right.

So, the advice tonight, and I like what Benscu said. It was really sweet and precious and
powerful that let us gather together and test our spirit. Are we loving? Are we forgiving? Are we
thankful? Are we worshipping? Are we responding to him? Are we relating to him? Because he
is for the rise of many. But is also for the fall of many. And once you begin to fall like Haman’s
family said, if you start to fall before Mordecai, then it’s over. It’s kind of like a momentum. It
goes fast. You start to fall and then it increases in its speed and force.

Unless I am restored and get myself right before God. Humble myself before him. Relate to him
in the right way and he will fill us with the Spirit and help us live courageously and boldly with
him in life. Don’t be timid. Don’t be afraid. Don’t withdraw. Don’t go against him. Be submitted
to him. Embrace him. And say, Lord is this radical? The Lord Jesus says it is so radical it will blow
your socks off. If you hang out with me, you’re going to see something. And you go, I don’t
know. I’m not sure about that. And the Lord says, I am kind. I am gracious. I am loving. I am
forgiving but I am reality. That’s the thing you need. I am reality. Where are you going to go
without me?

Without me, where will you go? What? You think it’s neutral? It’s not. You think you can find a
safe place to hide? You cannot. What? You think you can just put it in neutral and live a good
and make it? You cannot. Death will be knocking at your door. And when death knocks at your
door, the good news is that I am with you. Yea, though you go through the valley of the shadow
of death, you will fear no evil for I am with you. My rod and my staff they comfort you.

How about just getting into the Word and embracing it and saying to the Lord, yeah, deal with
me. That’s fine. I accept it. I want you in my life. Correct me. Teach me. Help me. Show me.
Teach me. I embrace it with all my heart. Do it as a way of life, you know.

Because if you go for the neutral ground, you might find yourself saying to him at Calvary, yeah,
if you are the Son of God, come down. You might find yourself on the other side of this. Yeah, if
you are. Yeah, Jesus. If you’re real, then why don’t you answer my prayer. Jesus, why am I
suffering like I’m suffering. Jesus, if you are real, why don’t you do something about this crisis?
And the Lord could say to us, come on. Come on. Can’t you suffer? Can’t you walk with me?
Can’t I take you through the suffering? Can’t you be submitted to me? Can’t you embrace me?
Do you know who I am?

I made you. I am God. I’m the God of every second, every detail, every
millimeter. There’s no accidents in my kingdom. Just draw near to me. Walk with me. I will
show you. I’ll give you a way of escape. I will answer your prayer. I will fulfill my promises. I will
show you who I am. And when you’re done with life, you’ll be all messed up and beat up and
everything. Kind of like something’s missing in one part. And you will say, you know what? I
embraced him and I rose. He was for my rising. I got blessed. I found God in my life. It didn’t
look so pretty, but I found God. Isn’t that the story of the Apostle Paul? It doesn’t look so pretty
but I found God and God is reality and that’s what you and I are hungry for.

If you don’t embrace it and walk with it, you might find yourself an enemy of it. And you might
say, what did I get myself into? I’m out of here. And when you say I’m out of here, the Lord will
go with you. Like Jonah. He’s in the fish. How are you doing? And he’ll say, I want out. God
could say, come on! Let’s go. I’ll bring you out. And he spoke to the fish, and he went out and
he went out with God and God did his work. You get the idea what I’m trying to say tonight.
God bless you. Would you pray with me.

 

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