Central Christian Church Message Podcast

Empty Tomb | Travels With ... | Pastor Caleb Baker

July 31, 2022 Central Christian Church of Arizona
Central Christian Church Message Podcast
Empty Tomb | Travels With ... | Pastor Caleb Baker
Show Notes Transcript

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Well, welcome to central. It's so good to be with you today. If you're watching wherever you're watching from, or with me here in this room, uh, Hey, if you have a Bible, will you turn to mark chapter 16? We're gonna be reading a story, uh, during our time together today, out of mark 16, if you've been with us this summer, uh, you know that we are in this series called travels with, we've been looking at different stories of people in the Bible, people in God's word that are on a journey and they're traveling and they're thrown into.

Incredibly difficult circumstances and over and over and over again, God meets them there and shows up in, in such profound ways. And so, uh, today's gonna be no different as we close out this series, but let me, let me open us up with a word of prayer and ask that God would meet us here and speak to us clearly.

And then we'll jump in. Let's pray together. God, thanks for this time. Now that we have today, uh, to open up your word and I pray that, um, you would help us God, that you would. Open us up in all the ways that we need to be opened up to receive this word today. The things that you want us to see, God will you, will you work that out in us?

The things you want us to hear, the things you want us to feel. Uh, the encouragement, the challenge, whatever it might be. God, I pray that by the power of your holy spirit, that you would meet us now that you would get me out of the way, get any distractions out of the way. Any words that aren't of you, God, would they fall flat, but Lord, would you send your word out among us?

and, and you say that, that your word doesn't return void, that stuff happens. Stuff changes when your word is spoken. So we do that now for the next few moments. We love you so much. We pray this in Jesus name and everybody said, amen. Amen. That was a good, amen. Good for you guys. They're ready for church. Uh, mark, mark chapter 16.

So I am, uh, a pastor. I know that that's breaking news. Don't tell anybody. Uh, but man, I, I love getting to do this. Like I, I feel absolutely called to this. Work it's in my blood. My dad is a pastor, both grandpas were pastors, lots of uncles and so on and so forth. And, uh, it's really all I've ever wanted to be.

Especially as I was growing up and to be a professional basketball player, you have to be much taller and generally more athletic and better at basketball. So that was not in the cards for me, but man, I just love getting to. A pastor, one of the most kind of, uh, profound but complicated, heavy parts of being a pastor though, is that sometimes a family will ask you to officiate the funeral of somebody that they love very much.

And it's heavy. There's, there's really no way around it. Like it, it it's also though, this sounds weird. Hear my heart. It's also a huge honor as a pastor to get to be a part of that day, because even I've gotten to, to officiate funerals with somebody that I know very well, that has passed, and then I've done funerals of.

People that I didn't know at all, but either way you get to kind of help bring comfort, hopefully, and peace and support to a family that is going through so much in such an impossible situation. Uh, and, and it's heavy and funerals are a really interesting thing to me. We, we definitely have a way in our culture that we tend to go about funerals and all over the world right now, if you went to a different country or a different part of the world, or even a different part of our country, you'll see that.

Everybody really values this idea that when we lose somebody that we love, we want to grieve them. Well, we wanna set aside time and space to remember them and to acknowledge their life and to celebrate all that they were. And, and funerals, generally speaking are a time when you really think about your life differently, right?

You, you, you kind of, you are reminded of the weight of all of this. You're reminded of these big things, life and death and legacy. And usually when we're just going through our lives, it's easy to kind of forget the weight of all of this. Isn't it like, even though we're flying through the universe on a space rock, just like rotating around constantly.

And like we know our life can change. Like that with like one bad phone call or one bad drive home from work or one bad diagnosis, everything can change. But usually we just kind of go through our lives. Like, what do you want to get for dinner tonight? You know, like we just pretend like none of that's real, but at a funeral, everyone has some perspective.

Everyone starts thinking about the person who they lost and what their life meant and usually about our lives and what our lives mean.  and I, and I hope today for the next few moments that we can have that kind of a mindset. And as we get into God's word, as we read this story, I hope that we can have some of that weight.

Some of that perspective together today. I'm not saying that I want this to feel like a funeral. You're like, wow. I brought my cousin. This was the wrong weekend. Uh, but, but I, I kind of, I kind of do want it to feel like a funeral a little bit just in the way that we can have perspective about really, really big, important, scary things.

I don't know if you knew this, but kind of our entire faith is dependent on the story of a guy dying. Like that's the reason we're all here. We even use the instrument of his execution as a logo for our churches. It's right over here. Or like we wear it as a necklace or we get it tattooed onto us as this like symbol of hope and life.

And that, even though the cross, if you just go back to the first century, when Jesus died on the cross was a really, really brutal death for criminals in the Roman empire. We now, as followers of Jesus have this cross as a symbol of hope and life and grace, which is insane in and of itself, we could preach a whole sermon just on that.

But Jesus dying on the cross is supremely important to us as Christian people, which is good. And right. The thing I want to talk about today, though, the, the thing I wanna challenge us with is the fact that I think some of us and I'm saying us and the way that it is supposed to be said that I'm included.

I'm preaching to me. Some of us live our lives, live out our faith at times as though Jesus is still.  like, he's close. We remember him, we can read his words. We can read these stories about what he did, what he said, et cetera. But, but he's not here anymore. He's he's gone like to keep this funeral theme going.

I know you're like, yes, more funeral stuff. It's like, some of us live out our lives. Like we have Jesus in an open casket. Like we can kind of see him. We can remember some of the things that he said and did, but he's definitely not here. And I think with this mindset, we can spend our lives working as hard as we can to try to make him proud or honor his legacy or, or get the preparations for his funeral set up well, and we're working our butts off to try to be good enough so that he'll just be proud of us, even though he is not here and he's gone and he's.

In a better place, whatever we think that maybe we can honor his legacy. And so we do, we, we work hard to prepare his service, to prepare our lives, and we gotta get the flowers and the arrangements and cut the little sub sandwiches into perfect thirds that are at every funeral of all time. Like, this is what we do.

And the problem with this thinking is that ultimately it places Jesus in the past, And man, I think some of us, even as followers of Jesus live our lives or interact with culture, or when we hear news or an article or something happens in our life and we act like Jesus is in the past tense. And the problem with Jesus in the past tense is that he can't really affect the here and the now, if, if he's stuck in the past, even though he did amazing things, we need him to do amazing things now.

Life is really scary now. Like we need some storms quieted right now, but if Jesus is in the past and he just used to quiet the storms, he just used to walk on water. He used to raise dead things back to life. If, if, if we sing to and pray to and live our faith out to an open casket, Jesus that, yeah, we love him.

And he's amazing. And you should have seen him in his heyday, but he's no longer with us then, then surely he can't still do those. Here and now, and sometimes we, we limit his power and his authority and his proximity and his provision into like this little guardian angel. That's looking down over us rather than a living victorious savior.

So as we get into mark 16, I want us to think about this statement a lot. I want us to be challenged by it. If we have a dead savior, then we have a lot to figure. And we have nothing to say. If we have a dead savior, then we have a lot to figure out and we have nothing to say. And that's what we have at the beginning of mark 16, we have a dead savior.

I don't know about your Bible, but the two sections preceding the section we're gonna read today. And my Bible are titled the death of Jesus. And then the burial of Jesus that's that's the end roll credit. This is the end of the story. He dies and he's buried. And the story we're gonna read today outta mark 16, is about this group of women who are going to the tomb to say their final goodbyes, to bring their final burial preparations, to honor his life and his body and his tomb.

Like they're, they're coming to for the last time to say bye to Jesus before they move on with their lives. Or so they. Don't read ahead, mark 16, let's start in verse one. Uh, together it says this when the Sabbath was over Mary Magdalene marry the mother of James two different Mary's and Salo bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus body very early on in the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb verse three, and they asked each other who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the.

who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tune. Let's do some really fast background here. So these three women who are named Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James and Salo scholars, aren't all on the same page with who all of these three women were. There's some different theories on who they were, but we know they were there and we know that they were women.

And, and this isn't really the point of my sermon today, but I. Say this at least just for a brief moment, the first people to ever proclaim the good news that the tomb is empty and that Jesus is alive or what we would call the gospel. The first people ever in the history of our human race to preach the gospel were three women.

And so 2000 years later, we are still arguing amongst ourselves whether or not women should be able to preach the gospel. And I gotta ask you based on the Bible, what the heck are we talking about? Come on sister. You can clap.

So that's not really the point of my message, but if we're just gonna be biblical , if we're just gonna be okay, let's move on. So, but women keep preaching. Okay. So these women are, are going to anoint the body of Jesus with spices. This was a common practice in first century, Jewish burials. It wasn't to embalm him.

It wasn't to mummify him. It was just to, to bring these spices and fragrances to cover up the smell of the decaying.  so they're going as soon as they can, after Passover to honor him and grieve him in this way. But I wanna focus in really, for the majority of our time together today on the question they ask among themselves, did you see it in there?

Look at the end of verse two, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb. I'm fascinated by this question.  I've read this story a lot in my life, but as I was writing this sermon last week, this story, this, this question struck me.

If we have a dead savior, then we have a lot to figure out and we have nothing to say. And the first thing that we have to figure out, just like these women in this story, who will roll this stone away. In other words, who is going to carry the weight of all this. We can't even roll the stone away to be able to mourn correctly.

We don't have the strength to get through this. We cannot do this on our own. Who's gonna roll this stone away. Do you feel like that today in your life? Like right now, man, I know some of us are going through things that we just simply cannot.  it's too heavy. It's too complicated. We don't know how to solve these problems.

We don't know which way to go. Maybe you came in here and you saw the cross on its side and we're singing songs about grave still empty. And do you see what I see? And you're like, yeah. Yeah, but for me it just feels really heavy. And I feel like I have no hope. All this stuff seems past tense. Jesus seems like a distant memory, a thing of the past.

Have you ever prayed an honest prayer and say, God, if you cared so much, then why are these things happening to me? If you're so good, then why are things so bad? Who's gonna roll this stone away. Who's gonna give me some relief. Who's gonna help me carry this.

Maybe it's your mental health. And it feels constant and never ending. And you feel like you're having a good day and then it hits again. And you're just disoriented and confused and it feels hopeless and dead. Like you're in a tomb and you're like, who is gonna roll this stone away? Maybe it's a tough season in your marriage and you can't seem to connect and things are busy.

And you've said things that have hurt each other. Maybe it's a tough season of singleness and you're like, God, what are you waiting on? Maybe it's a season of infertility and you so badly want to bring a child into this world, with the person that you love. And it's just not happening who will roll this stone away.

Maybe it's a debt that you've accumulated. Maybe it's the state of our country or our world. There's definitely plenty to be bummed about. Maybe you're starting a new school year and you're overwhelmed by the workload or you're overwhelmed by this crippling. Like desire to fit in or to blend in, right?

Or to matter who will roll this stone away. Maybe it's the loss of a loved one. Maybe it's the loss of a relationship. And you're like, who's gonna carry this. How am I ever gonna get through this? This stone is too heavy for me. This stuff is too heavy for me. I don't know which way to turn. I don't know how to make sense of any of this.

God who will roll this stone.

If we have a dead savior, then we have a lot to carry. Not even to mention that guilt in my own life, the shame that I feel from the stuff that I've done, the trauma that we are all holding from, things that have happened to us, there's just too much to carry.

Have you ever had to do that thing where you walk up to the ticketing and check in thing in an airport and you gotta weigh your suitcase to check to check it right. And you know that this is not, this is not under 50 pounds. Like, you know it for sure. You know, the person knows it's not under 50 pounds.

Jesus Christ himself knows this thing is not under 50 pounds and you're. I hope the scale's broken today.  I don't know. And me and my wife do that thing where like, we have a scale at our house and so I'll step on it. Okay. I weigh this suitcase 70. That can't be right anyways. We'll figure it out up there.

Right. And so you take it up there and they're like, sir, can you put this vehicle on the scale, please? You're like, you got it, put it up there. And they just look at you like, dude, this says 62, like you weren't even. 62 pounds. And so your options are to like take out a mortgage loan to pay for a heavy bag fee, or you can take 12 pounds out of this suitcase and figure out where else to put it right here in front of everyone who is judging you, cuz everyone's late for every flight ever.

Right. And so you're just walking through the airport with like eight t-shirts on  my, and my three year old's like holding my shoes. I'm like, we're gonna be fine. We're gonna just get to the plane. It's all. We, uh, me and my wife and our two little girls just flew a week or so ago. And all I'm gonna say is that this happened to us.

I'm not ready to talk about it, but like sometimes this is how our lives can feel. There's just too much to carry. Then we try to do that. We try to rearrange on the fly.  just to make it just to survive, just to get to the gate. We're like, okay, this is too heavy. But maybe if, maybe if I do this for a minute, maybe if I pretend to do this for a season, maybe if I, maybe I need a new job.

And so we rearrange, maybe I need to do, maybe I need a vacation, that's gonna solve everything. Right. And so we rearrange and we try to do it on the fly, but all the while we know that this is just too heavy for us to carry, who will roll. Stone away. There's no way to do this. If we have a dead savior, if the cross is the end of the story, then our lives are simply too heavy for us to be able to carry.

And rather than stepping into the invitation that we're gonna talk about in a minute, a lot of us just live our lives, either paying the heavy bag fee or breaking our backs because this is too heavy. There's too much in this. Who's gonna help me move on. Who's gonna provide for me what is next for my life.

And if our savior is dead, if this is the end of the story, then our future, all of a sudden is up to us. Our purpose, all of a sudden is up to us. Our provision, God help us is up to us. And so we, we work and we work and we work as if our future is up to us and we strive like crazy. To bring meaning and purpose for ourselves and we're breaking our backs and we earn and we earn and we earn, and we sacrifice relationships and all types of things in our lives so that we can earn more because we think our provision is up to us.

And if you can't tell by looking around or by looking in the mirror, this isn't working, who will roll the stone.  and I know that we know this isn't the end of the story, but so many of us live our lives. Like Jesus is still in an open casket. He's, he's there kind of, but he's no longer with us and friends.

We cannot keep living this way. We have to move forward into faith. We have to move forward into surrender. We have to move forward past these first three verses and see how this goes. Let's pick it up in verse.  but when they looked up, that's a sermon for somebody in those five words, but when they looked up.

just like you just like me. They were overwhelmed by the stress that they felt in their life. They were overwhelmed with the grief that they felt, all the stuff, all the dreams that they had, this lifetime of following Jesus around as he's doing miracles and healing and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And all of a sudden it was ripped from them.

And they're overwhelmed by the weight of that. They're overwhelmed by the grief. They're overwhelmed by the stress and the pain and everything that's happening around them. Can you relate? But when they looked. When they took a step back out of the static in the noise, when they were able to lift their eyes away from their earthly circumstances into the God that repeatedly meets us in the midst of our struggle, when they looked up, what did they see?

They saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. They saw that the thing that was in their way, the thing that was too heavy for them, the suitcase that would never make the weight actually has already been taken care. You need to hear that today that the faith, just like these women in this story, won't the same be true for you?

That the thing that you've spent all of this time worried about all this time, trying to problem solve and figure out how on earth are we gonna move this stone? But when you look up, when you remember who God is, when you remember how faithful he is, when you remember how close range he is, when you remember that he calls you son or daughter, you're able to see that the stone isn't even there anymore.

Woo. Verse five as they entered the, we can clap. Hold on, clap. Break for Jesus. Come on. Now

women preaching and stones rolled away were two for two. Okay. Verse five. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side and they were alarmed as everyone always is. When they see an angel  verse six, don't be alarmed. He said, you are looking for Jesus. The Nazare who was crucified.

He has risen. He is not here. See the place where they laid him. Jesus is not our guardian angel. He's not just the most important historical figure in the past tense history of humanity. We don't need to keep making preparations for a really fancy funeral. This tomb is empty. He is not here. He has risen.

And I love that the angel even says to these women look, look for yourself, look where they laid him. He's not there anymore. You can see that there is no dead person in this tomb. This tomb is empty. That the story, our story, our good news. Isn't the cross. That's where it starts, but that's not the last chapter.

The last chapter is the empty tomb that Jesus walked out of and is inviting you. This empty tomb that secures your purpose, that secures your future, that secures your provision. That's the gospel. That's the end of our story? Not just that Jesus died for you. He definitely did. He definitely took the bill and paid in full, but not just that, but that death couldn't hold him.

That the tomb wasn't big enough that the stone in front of the tomb was rolled away so that Jesus could walk out in victory. And he's inviting you to come along with him. That's the good news. And this angel says I. Think you're carrying all this weight still. I know you can't imagine making sense of all this stuff around you, but if you would just look up, you'll see that the stone is rolled away and that there is no dead savior in this tomb that you can step into life, everlasting, that you can step into purpose that you cannot find within yourself, that you can step into a provision that no job or no insurance or no 401k can give you the type of provision that God secures.

With an empty tomb in life, everlasting, this is our good news.

This angel tells these women he's not here. Literally. He's not in this tomb, but I think he's telling us today, 2000 years later, why are you looking for Jesus in a place where dead things are? That's not where he is death. Couldn't hold Jesus. Tombs are no match for the power of our God. Isn't Jesus. The one that brings dead things back to life.

Isn't Jesus. The one that ran head first into our hopelessness and darkness to bring hope and light isn't Jesus. The one that rolls the stone away. So you can keep wearing that cross necklace. I get it. That sacrifice is huge, but please make no mistake. He is not still on it.

He didn't just die for your sin.  he died for your sins and then didn't stay dead. And I think the same way that this angel invites these women into the tomb, we have that invitation for us today to come and look to come step into this empty tomb, to see that for followers of Jesus, even a tomb is just a new beginning.

Even a tomb is the beginning of the story. When you follow Jesus, not even death can hold.  man, I'm stressed about emails. Not even death can hold you. How are we gonna make ends meet, not even death. How am I gonna get through this scary diagnosis? How am I gonna fix my marriage? How am I gonna fix my relationship with my kids?

What are we gonna do when this doesn't add up anymore? Not even death can hold you. In Jesus name, this empty tomb that represents the hope that can never be taken from us. This empty tomb that gives us life in the midst of all the death around us. This is all we got and we don't have what it takes to roll this stone away.

But I think our story will be exactly like these women, that the stone that was too big for us, the weight that was too heavy for us, the problems that were too complicated for us, God wants to invite you today into relationships so he can. I that stone that's too big for you is not too big for me. That weight that is too heavy for you is not too heavy for me.

That problem that you can't seem to solve has already been solved. Not even death can hold you. If we have a dead savior, then we have a lot to figure out and we have nothing to say, but if Jesus is alive, if that tomb is.  and we have nothing to figure out and we have a lot to say, we don't have to spend time anymore worrying about who's gonna move the stone.

It's already been moved. We don't have to carry all this weight around anymore. God wants to tell somebody today I can take that from you. You know, you don't have to walk around hurting your back. You don't have to pay the heavy bag fee. I know you don't have enough to pay it. That's why I took that weight from you.

You're my son. You're my daughter. I can completely restore you.  I know you're scared of the storms, but I didn't just used to quiet storms back in the day. That's what I do in real time. Present tense. I am not in an open casket. I didn't stay in the, to.

God is still in the business of bringing dead things back to life. He's still in the business of standing in the gap for the marginalized and the oppressed. He is still in the business of providing, and I think he wants to walk each and every one of us into that tomb today so that we can see exactly how much life is in there for us.

And we can walk back out in victory.  now Jesus, isn't stuck in the past. He wasn't just a great teacher or philosopher or healer. No, no, no. He he's our living savior and he defeated death and he's inviting you into that. We have nothing to figure out as it relates to our eternal lives.  God even took away the last obstacle of the stone over the tomb.

Not because Jesus can't walk through stones. I'm sure he can do that too, but just so that these women could see clearly that there is nobody in that tomb.

I don't know what you're carrying today. I don't know the suitcases that you're trying to manage and shift weight around. I don't know the trauma. I don't know how hard this weekend was for you. I don't, I don't know. What you're carrying, but I know that the stone was rolled away so that your burdens wouldn't have to be your burdens so that your weight wasn't dependent on how strong you are.

If you've been living your life, like we have a dead savior, maybe today is your day to walk into that tomb to see exactly how much life is offered to you. In Jesus' name, maybe today is your day to say,  so that you can step into this victory. That's been bought on the cross and established by the empty tomb.

Maybe today we'll stop trying to be enough on our own. And we'll say, God, you know, I can't carry this. You're my enough. You're the only one that can carry this. You're the only one that can roll that stone away. Maybe today we're ready to confess. I don't want to keep looking for purpose and provision and future and meaning in dead places.

I wanna put my trust in Jesus.  I wanna say yes to a life and relationship with him for some of us though, we already know this news. And I wanna challenge us with the last verse that I wanna read today out of verse seven. So he gives him this news. He has risen. He is not here. See the place where they laid him verse seven, but go tell his disciples and Peter.

but go and tell he is going ahead of you into Galilee there. You'll see him just as he told you, if Jesus is alive, then we have nothing to figure out. And we have a lot to say, not like on Facebook or all of our opinions. We got that part down  but I mean like we have the best news and the history of the world and the calling is clear.

Go and.

this is the type of news that changes everything for everyone. This is all that we have. This is church. Go and tell that the tomb is empty. That Jesus is alive. I think the church has become known for saying a lot of different things. A lot of the time I pray, we can get back to saying this one thing a lot that the tomb is.

that Jesus has defeated death and he bought everyone's ticket to join him. Will you stop trying to carry this on your own? Will you stop trying to produce meaning and purpose for yourself? Will you stop looking for hope and dead places today? I want to close for the last couple minutes telling you guys about my grandma.

To continue the theme of incredible women preaching the gospel. My, my grandma, my dad's mom is named Susie baker. Uh, there's a picture of her. She's the best. She's about to turn 80 years old in like two weeks, which is super exciting. Come on now. Thank you sister. I appreciate you. And. She is one of the most faithful, relentless kindhearted women you would ever meet.

And she's like five, two, but she packs a punch, man. I mean, she like she'll shout at any junior high basketball referee. You can throw at her like she is not scared at all, but she she's been through it in her life. I heard stories growing up about how abusive and cold the house was that she grew up in.

And specifically with her mom was just very, very cold to her. And then. Had a relationship with her dad and then found out after he passed that he was up to some, let's just say not so great stuff either is the best way to say that in church. Um, and then she married my grandfather in Bible college. He was gonna be a preacher and she was married to him until he passed away about 25 years ago.

And for a good majority of their marriage, he was unfaithful to her, uh, over and over again. He put them in financial situations that were just crippling.  her family. And so he dies. She's a widow in her mid fifties, and she has spent the last 25 years loving every single person that she has come across because all she knows how to do is go and tell.

When I think of this calling to these women in mark 16, I can't help but think of her because she has a million reasons to have given up.  but all she needed was one reason that's secured by the empty tomb. All she needs is her faith in Jesus. And she's held onto that through every storm in her life. And she's a hero to me.

I, I don't, I know I'm not that strong. I don't know how she did it, but she believes in Jesus that much, she believes that much in this empty.  and now almost 80 years old, she lives in a nursing home in Indiana leading a Bible study. What else would you do? All she knows how to do is go and tell why, because this Jesus isn't past tense.

And I know this has felt heavy today, but this is not a funeral. This might just be the beginning for.  this might be chapter one of the rest of your life. Right now. There's a, there's a song that I love from a band called bony bear. And there's a line that I can never get out of my head in my heart. It says everything that happens is from now on everything that happens is from now on.

I don't know what got you to this place. I don't know the stuff that you've been through. I don't know how heavy it's been to today right now, 2022. I don't know all that's played into this, but I know that if this news is true with all the reasons that you have to run away with all the reasons that you have to be overwhelmed by the weight of life, with all the reasons that you have to say, no, I know we have the best reason to say yes.

And that's the fact that Jesus walked out of that tomb in victory so that you could join him in everlasting.  and if that's all you ever have, is that good news of the empty tomb, then I promise you that's enough. My grandma's been modeling that for 80 years. Everybody turned their back on her, but she, she had her savior and he's alive.

This is not a burial site. This is an empty tomb. This is an invitation.

Let me pray for us. God, we're thankful for this story.

So thankful for Jesus and the power and the hope and the grace that we have access to because of the sacrifice and the victory and his name.

God, I pray for every single one of us that you would stir this up in us that this wouldn't just be old news that we've heard before that this would hit us fresh.

God, we love you so much. Speak clearly to us. Now God meet us here. God, will you meet us here right now? We pray this in Jesus name. Amen. We want to give you a chance today to respond, to actually say yes to this invitation. The worst kind of invitations are ones that you can't respond to. That's not what an invitation is.

And I don't know how many church services you've sat through or how this type of thing starts to make you feel inside. But I just wanna tell you what we have no ulterior motive of trying to convince you, twist your arm into anything. Look at me. We want to give you a chance to step into this empty tomb and see how clearly Jesus has paid the price for your.

I just want to tell you a million times that the weight you are carrying brother, the, the, the stuff you're holding sister, you don't have to carry that. You don't have to hold that anymore. That Jesus is stirring something up in you right now to go, Hey, I already paid for that.

I broke my body. I spilled my blood to wash away that sin. And even more than that, I in victory walked out of this tomb so that not even death can hold you.

And so I'm gonna pray again in a couple minutes and we're gonna sing a song and we're gonna take communion as the body and blood of Jesus. The sacrifice that we get to remember. But I also, and during this time, as we worship together, I want to invite you that if that's you today and you've been living your life, trying to bring purpose on your own, you've been living your life, trying to shift weight among suitcases.

You've been living your life. Like we have a dead savior. Could I, could I challenge you? To be bold to stand up, to say yes, to step forward, to come down. We're gonna have people down here that are more than happy and excited to pray with you and process with you and receive you in this decision. There's not gonna be anything crazy.

We're not shooting off fireworks. We're not gonna throw your sins up on the screen and I can promise you that. But today is your day to say yes, everything that happened up until this point. I don't know the weight of it, but I know that everything that happens now is from now on and everything that happens.

Now, we get to jump out of this empty tomb, fully alive, not having to carry the weight of our trauma or our labels or our shame, not having to balance the weight of this crazy life, but stepping into a loving relationship with the Jesus that paid everything so that you might be home.

And I know that this is, I. I know that this can be scary, but if you'll be bold, if you'll say yes today, I promise you, we have a loving God that wants to meet you where you are. And if you're like, yeah, but I need a few more weeks to figure it out. I can just give you a million examples of everybody in scripture that had nothing figured out and God still provided for them and loved them and met them.

Are you willing to be bold today and to say yes to step into this life because we have a living savior and if we have a living savior, we have nothing to figure out. You have no final preparations to make. You have no details to iron out. You just get to say yes and step into a relationship and to step into Everlast.

So I'll challenge you to do that today. I'm gonna pray. And then if you could stand with me, actually, while I pray, let's stand together, we're gonna sing another song. Take your communion. Let's remember this sacrifice, but man, I just know there's somebody in here that today is your day to say yes, bro.

Today is your day sister to come forward. To stop running. We want to be here with you as other broken people that are just as in need of this empty to as you. So let's say yes, let me pray. God, we're grateful

that we don't have to have anything figured out God for you to welcome us in as a son or a. No matter how much time we've spent running away, blowing all of your money, blowing all of the inheritance, doing everything wrong. The minute we run back, God, you run out to meet us

the minute we stand and put our hand up, you wrap your arms around us. Uh, and so I pray for my brothers and sisters here today. In the midst of our pain in the midst of the weight that we're carrying, God, will you take that from them? Will, will you speak clearly into their hearts by the power of the holy spirit that you have rolled away?

Every obstacle that they might be able to walk into relationship with you right here. And right now, God, thanks for grace. Thanks for the life that we have because of what Jesus.

We love you. God, give us boldness now in this moment to say yes to this imitation, pray this in Jesus name. And everybody said, come on church. If this is you today, and God is stirring something up in your soul. As we sat together, will you come forward and say yes, and step into this life that's being offered to you.

Thanks guys.