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Empty Promises of the Cross

By March 31, 2024April 4th, 2024No Comments

Happy Easter. And so good to see you all. And I hope that you’ve been having a great time and and I apologise ahead of time. Um, for all the Easter eggs that children are going to get. Um, during this break.

Praise God. Uh, but the good thing is we just give them back to you. Uh, and you can just do whatever you want with them. But it’s so awesome to see also too if you’re a visitor today. Uh, just want to welcome as well.

Um you know most Aussies will go to church at Easter or Christmas. Uh and so we know that there’s people that might be here because we’re your special events church. Uh so Christmas Easter you come to King’s. If we’re your special events church, welcome. Good to have you back again.

Uh and so awesome. Welcome anytime. And we’re actually open other Sundays as well you know. Uh and so but it’s so good to see you and and if you’re visiting if you’re here on holidays, I want to welcome you as well. Uh we always, whenever I travel and preach, I always bring greetings from people Holiday Church on the Gold Coast, King’s Church.

So, if you’re here on holidays as well, hope you have a great time but it’s so good that you would be here today to celebrate our resurrected lord. Amen. Uh and so, I was reminded actually I grew up in a well I used to go to two churches technically when I grew up and you know, I used to go to church in the morning that was local with my family but also to my dad was a member of the Tongan community and there would be a Tongan service every month held in the city of Melbourne and so we would go to that service. It was once a month on a Sunday afternoon. Tongans from all around Melbourne would go there for this service and and it was held in the Wesley Uniting Church in Melbourne and so now the whole service was in Tongan.

I grew up in Australia. So I I don’t understand a lot of Tongan. The Tongan I do understand. It’s probably not words you should say publicly. Uh and so you know and that’d be and and my mind would drift a fair bit you know when I was at that service and but I noticed at this particular church I had a table up the front and carved in the side.

It said this do in remembrance of me. And I used to like think about it a lot and I also wonder why would that be there? You know and I know it was basically you know a quote of Jesus when Jesus at the Last Supper. Uh he took communion. Well what we now know is communion and he said do this in remembrance of me.

And I thought what would Jesus say do this in remembrance of me. And then I realised because we forget. Sometimes we forget when you get in the busyness of life. We actually forget what the Lord has done for us. You know and sometimes we get moved by the ups and downs of life.

But that is why Easter is so important. Because Easter reminds of what he has already done for us. Ah and that we should never forget. So Easter is the most important weekend on the Christian calendar. I mean Christmas is really really important.

But to be honest ah it’s number two. Easter is the most important, most important time. And it culminates obviously we know about Good Friday. Um you know which is when the Lord died. Ah for our sins.

And ah it’s only Good Friday though. Ah because it’s because of Easter Sunday. There’s no Easter Sunday. It’s not Good Friday. It’s a pretty bad Friday.

Ah and then Easter Saturday where not a lot happens and who knows in the Christian life there’s times when not a lot’s happening. Uh but then there’s Easter Sunday resurrection Sunday. And so today I want to do a little bit of a reminder talk I guess. In the midst of where you are, what you’re doing, maybe you’re here on holidays, or maybe you’re just, you know, in the busyness of life. It’s so important for us to remember what the Lord has done for us.

And so I want to talk to you today. Uh, the title is the Empty Promises of Easter. The Empty Promises of Easter. There’s a number of fulfilled promises that happen over the Easter weekend. That is really, really applicable and important for every single one of that’s what I want to talk to you about today and so my first passage of scripture I’m going to read to you is actually from John chapter nineteen.

Gonna read verses 28 to 34. John 1928 to 13. 28 to sorry 1928 to 30 thirty4. Says this, after this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said I thirst. Now, a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there, and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, put it in his mouth.

So, when Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, it is finished. And bowing his head, he gave up his spirit. Therefore, because it was the preparation day that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath, for that Sabbath was a high day. The Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the person of the other who was crucified with him.

But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediately and water came out. The first empty promise of Easter is the empty cross. The empty cross. We pick up the scripture here and Jesus is on the cross and he’s about to pass away.

Just before he passes away, he says, it is finished. Noticely, he notice that this he says that at the moment he expires on the cross. Now, we know he’s coming back in a couple of days. He doesn’t say I’m nearly finished. I’ll see you in a couple of days when I rise again.

We also know that he’s going to appear after that resurrection for 40 days just to prove to everyone who’s still alive and then he ascends to heaven and then 10 days later is the day of Pentecost when the spirit is poured out. But he doesn’t say at that moment he expires on the cross that I’m nearly finished. He says it is finished. So something happens there on the cross that is achieved at that moment. And the thing that is achieved at that moment on that empty cross is the forgiveness of our sins.

It’s the forgiveness of our sins. In Leviticus chapter sixteen it tells us that there’s a day that the Jews would observe the day of atonement. And the day of atonement was basically that the day that they would make sacrifices for the sins of of of the people to be forgiven. So every year there was a day of atonement and there was three animals that were brought in. The first one was a bull.

The bull would be sacrificed and for the forgiveness of the sins of the priest and his family. Then there was two goats. One of them was a little less lucky than the other. So one goat was actually sacrificed there and then as well. And it was sacrificed for the sins of the people.

And then there was a goat and this goat would have the hands laid on it by the priest and all the sins of the people will be put upon that goat and it would be sent out into the wilderness. It’s called the scapegoat. So basically all the sins of the people would be sent away from the people. That’s exactly what Jesus did for us at the cross. All our sins were put upon him.

And he went out into the wilderness and he got sacrificed and he died the cross of Calvary for every single one of us. He himself was without sin. He did not deserve to die. That’s why when he is on the cross, he says, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? It’s the first time he personally experienced any separation between him and the father because he himself was without sin. However, it’s our sins that were actually put upon him.

Yeah. And our sins were nailed to the cross with him that our sins might be forgiven. The Bible says that Jesus was the propitiation for our sins. What that means is this, that actually, there’s satisfaction as a result of him actually dying on the cross for us. That we are because of our sin, we owe the Lord a debt that we could not repay.

We, ourselves could not make up for the sins that every single one of us has committed and so, because of that, there was separation between us and god but because of Jesus Christ, he was able to take the punishment for our sin that we ourselves could have our sins forgiven. Amen. That’s a pretty good deal. That’s why we’re called more than conquerors. We’re not the conquerors.

We didn’t do anything. But we’re more than conquerors because Jesus Christ took the punishment. For our sin. That we might have our sins forgiven. Now there’s been some conjecture over the years about whether Christ really died.

About whether he maybe actually just slipped into a coma and then rose again later on. But the scripture here already tells us that he must have died. Couple of reasons why Number one, that that was the testimony of the Centurions who actually went and saw him on the cross. Now, these are guys, this is their job. They actually can tell when somebody has died and the Centurions observed that he had actually died and not only that, when they pierced his side, blood and water came out.

That’s a sign that he’d actually passed away. The separation of that blood and water and he needed to die just like that bull and that goat needed to die. Why? To take the punish for our sins. So, what that means is this, forgiveness of sins is available for all. Not only that, we actually all need our sins forgiven.

Maybe you’re here and you’re a pretty good person. You get it right about 95% of the time. Maybe you only sin once or twice a week or something like that. If you only sin once or twice a week, you are close to the holiest person I’ve ever met in my life. Maybe you’re someone who’s only ever sinned once in your entire life.

Can I tell you? Only once means that we fall short automatically. Only just and I know that most of you probably sinned a little bit more than that. The reality is all of us are sinners and we actually all need saving. Many years ago, I was talking to a friend of mine who used to, you know, I used to hang out with and go clubbing with and that sort of stuff and and I remember I was catching up with him after I became a Christian and I thought he was the kind of guy. I was a bit nervous about telling him because he was the kind of guy I thought it would kind of tease me and mock me for my new found faith and so, I I you know, I bumped in women.

He said, what are you doing? And I was about to move to Sydney to go to Bible College, you know. So, letting the cat out of the bag sort of thing and and so I he said, what are you doing now, Ben? I said, I’m going to Bible College in Sydney and and I thought he’d mock me, you know? He’s religious freaks, something like that. But he didn’t do that. He said, oh, that’s great. Good for you.

And I was like, I was like, what? He goes, good on you. He goes, you become a Christian. I said, yeah, he goes, well, good on you. I’m glad you found something that makes you happy. And I said, and thought that meant he was open to the gospel himself.

So, I said, well, are you, you know, oh, you sound very open. I said, are you interested in giving your life to Christ, becoming a Christian? He said, me? No, not me. He said, oh well, I’m happy for you, mate. I’m glad you found something that makes you happy. And when he said that, I thought to myself, what about really sad? Cuz he thought it wasn’t for everyone.

But it actually is for everyone. Yeah. It’s for every single person. The Bible says, all have sinned and fall short of the glory God. But the good news is this, through the empty cross of Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven.

Amen? That’s the first empty promise of Easter. The second empty promise of Easter is this, says in John twenty verses one to two. Says now the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early while it was still dark. And saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon, Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved.

And said to them, they have taken away the Lord out of the tomb and we do not where they have laid him. So, when they come there, this is after a couple of days, it’s the third day, they come to the tomb and they notice it was empty and they thought it was because his body was stolen but it wasn’t. It was empty because he was risen. So, the second empty promise is the empty tomb and the promise that’s applicable to us is eternal life. The same spirit that rose Christ from the dead actually lives in us as well.

There is new life available in Jesus Christ. How awesome is that? So, not only do we have our sins for given. Which is awesome. But we also have new life. And we have eternal life.

So what that means is this. That eternal life starts now. And it also means that death for us is no longer final. It’s actually just a door. That’s why the Bible says oh oh oh death where is your sting? There’s no sting and death for us anymore.

Why? Because we’re going to live onwards and onwards after that time as well. Bible says in John 316 for God so loved the world that he gave his only that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. There is everlasting life with him. People get worried about their eternity and people think if I do good things now then maybe I’ll be alright in eternity. Can I tell you? If you give your life to Jesus Christ, you are already right for eternity because you can have eternal life.

You get to go and be with go go to heaven after you die which is awesome. But it’s even better than that. The eternal life doesn’t start after you die. The eternal life starts right here right now. God has a plan and purpose for your life friends and he can actually transform your life.

So, that’s why the Christian life isn’t about forcing yourself to be good. Yeah. Because when you give your life to Christ, he changes your heart. His spirit comes to live on the inside and he actually transforms our lives as well. That’s why I love water baptisms.

We go down under the water and up again to say, it is a new life. We are all dead to the old and then we are born again and so being a Christian more than a ticket to heaven. It is a transformed life. You can be kind to become the kind of person you never thought you could be. I was thinking recently about the testimonies of people who lives were completely transformed.

I had a mate a guy who became a mate, a guy when I first met him. He was a drug addict and his name was Ben. And he was a drug addict. I met him because his wife, oh sorry, his partner had started going to the church where we were at. And he came to something once and this guy, you could see he was broken.

His life was totally out of whack. He had no joy. He was full of depression and I never and and you could tell that he was completely riddled with all these issues that was going on in his life. And then not long after that he gave his life to Christ. And then I saw him a couple of years later.

And it was he was actually at the drug rehab. I got invited to speak at a drug rehab up at Toowoomba and do the chapel service there. And so I spoke at it and Ben was there. When I saw him I couldn’t hardly recognise him. He is transformed.

There was a smile on his face. He was completely changed. I saw him a couple of years later at a church and he was like a different guy. You wouldn’t even know that he was the person that he was many years before. Now, he’s actually working for that drug rehab and helping other people as well.

What happens? You don’t just get a ticket to heaven, friends. You get a transformed life. There is new life in him. When you put your life in his hands, you’ll be amazed at the at the transformation. You might go from like from death to life straight away.

You would see the exact transformation in your life. That’s why not there’s no good reason for trying to get your act together before you give your life to Christ. It doesn’t work that way. Give your life to him. Give him your mess.

Give him your mock up. Give him your bad decisions. Give him your sin and he’ll forgive you but then change and transform. Your life. I’ve told you church before, I’m a living testimony of that as well.

I was preaching at a I was I was doing a a wedding one time and as I was conducting the wedding, I noticed some friends of mine duck out of the wedding talking on their phones. Found out later what they were doing. They were ringing up their friends and they were saying, I’m at a wedding and Ben Nytoco is the minister. They could not believe it. They had a school reunion at 20 years.

They voted on who ended up in the least likely occupation. God can transform your life. There’s a new life, eternal life, and a destiny here. That’s why it’s the best of both worlds, friends. It settles your eternity and it opens up your destiny.

Just like death could not heal, hold him down, it can’t hold us down as well. That’s why it can give us great comfort as well. When it comes to people that we know that have passed or and that sort of thing like especially if we know they’ve got a relationship with God. Uh couple weeks or sorry last week actually I was up in Cairns and I was talking to a a a friend of mine a lady who was a pastor that I’d known for many years and I said to how you’ve been and she said I’ve had a pretty rough few months. I said, well, I said, why is that? She goes, my dad passed away.

Now, it wasn’t a tragic passing. He would have been close to ninety. But you know, it doesn’t matter. When a family member passes, there’s still grief and there’s still a hole in your heart. But she said to me, she goes, you know what? I’m sad and I’m trying to get used to having a life without my dad.

But I’m not bitter. Cuz I know, I’m going to see him again. And I said, that’s right if you ask him to come back he probably wouldn’t want to anyway. Why? Because in Christ, there’s eternal life. Amen.

And there’s also and there’s also forgiveness of sins. And the third thing is this. Says in verses three to eight of John twenty. Peter therefore went out and the other disciple and would go into the tomb. So they both ran together.

The other disciple outran Peter came to the tomb first. And he’s stepping down and looking and saw the linen cloths lying there. Yet he did not go in Then Simon Peter came, followed him and went into the tomb and he saw the linen cloths lying there. And the handkerchief that had been around his head not lying with the linen cloths. But folded together in a place by itself.

Then the other disciple came to the tomb first went in also. And he saw him believed. The second ah the third empty gum. Empty promise is the empty burial clothes. I get a little bit convicted about this because because Jesus made his bed before he left.

Amen. And and clearly he and folded away his clothes and clearly he obviously wasn’t stolen because if he was going to get stolen, there’s no way they would have taken off the wraps and left them there. They would have actually taken that away as well and so, we can see here that basically, he took those those robes off himself. He took those wraps off himself. Why? Because he’s alive.

He’s a living god and so the third promise for us is this, that in Christ, we can actually have a personable relationship with him as well. He’s a living god. Being a Christian is not us a scent of a beliefs and a code and a creed that we live by. We just don’t live according to a book that other guys read and everybody’s dead. Can I tell you the ultimate author of that book is still alive? The Lord Jesus Christ.

And because of that we can actually have a personal relationship with him. Now, what that means is that he can speak to us. He can help us. He’s our comforter. He’s our guide.

Bible says, he’s a never-present helper ever present help in a time of trouble. He’ll never leave you or forsake you. Jesus said to his disciples that I’m with you always till the end of the age. So not only do you get your sins forgiven, not only do you get a brand-new life and a ticket to heaven after you die but also you got one who’s with you, who’s alive, and wants an intimate relationship with us. So, what that means is no matter what you’re going through life, the Bible does not promise that in this life, everything will be easy but he does promise will never be alone.

Yeah, that’s right. And that’s because he’s with us and he’ll never leave us or forsake us and so, whatever you need in Christ is available through him right now. You know, when I was I used to think, oh, how awesome would it be? To be one of the disciples walking and talking with Jesus, you know, when he was still alive but the thing I’ve realized is this, he is still alive and I can still walk and talk with him right now. And everything that you could have through him back then, you could have the healing back then, you can have it now. The guidance that he gave back then, he can give it now.

The wisdom that was available in him back then, he can give it now. The the deliverance that was available in him back then, he can actually give it now. Why? Cuz he is living and we can have a relationship almighty god. No matter what you’re going through or what you’re facing in your world right now, you can always turn to the lord and he’ll always help you. Why? Because he’s alive.

The Bible says, he seated at the right hand interceding on our behalf. He is for us and not against us, friends and we have a relationship with a living and a loving god. So, you can talk to him at any time you want. Whatever you’re facing, whatever you’re going through, you can turn to him and he can help you. The amount of times in my own life where I feel like I’ve been caught between a rock and a hard place.

Where I feel like I’ve been stuck and I didn’t know what to do. It’s in those times when you turn your eyes to the Lord and he is with you and he’ll never leave you or forsake you. Psalm twenty-three tells us even if you go into the valley of the shadow of death and you’ll feel like you’re by yourself. He is with us. He’s rod and his staff will comfort us.

That is why whatever you’re going through right now, my encouragement to you is this, turn to the lord and walk with him because he is with you right now. It’s not just trying to force yourself to follow and observe a bunch of rules. It’s a transform life and someone who is you every step of the way. That’s why being a Christian is the greatest thing. Why? Because he’s alive.

He can access his presence. In his presence is fullness of joy. Why? Because he is here. His name’s one of his names is Emmanuel. God with us.

He’s with us not against us. He’s for us. And he’s for you right now. And the only way the only thing we have to do to access these empty promises. Is to in our heart and confess with our mouth.

The empty promise of the cross, forgiveness of sins. The empty the promise of the empty tomb of eternal life. The promise of the grave clothes personal relationship with Jesus. All of those are available in John 316 says it so well. For God so loved the world that he gave his only son.

That whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. The Bible also tells us if you believe in your heart and confess with your then you’ll be saved. And maybe you’re hearing this is your events church. Maybe you grew up in church your whole life and and then as you got older stop going but you’ve come on Easter. You’re always welcome and we’re so glad you’re here.

I grew up in a Christian school and I grew up in church. I went to church every single week. I mean when I say every single week, I mean every single week. When I live with my parents. I remember one time that that church we were at they actually had a church camp.

But my dad who was an elder of the church on the Sunday still went back to the church to put on a service just in case a couple of people actually rocked up. So we were even going to church when the rest of the church wasn’t going to church. That’s the kind of church we’re in. I went to a Christian school. My my whole high schooling was in a Christian school and you hear the word of God every single day.

But you know what? I did not become a Christian myself till I was nineteen. I was around it. But I didn’t step into it. And you know that’s what can happen with us too sometimes. Maybe you can grow up in a church.

Have a positive attitude towards the church and God. But you yourself have not given your life to Jesus Christ. Maybe people here. You grew up in a Christian school. We have Christian schools.

Maybe you grew up in a Christian school but you yourself have never given your life to Jesus Christ. Told you a few weeks ago that I spoke at the year 12 camp for Reedy Creek and for Pimpama for the school. And sometimes kids who go up to year 12 their attitude towards the gospel is like oh well you know I’ve heard it all before. I know everything about it because I went to a Christian school you know. I know what it’s all about.

And I just said to the students. I said it’s the height of hypocrisy. To say you know everything about it when you never even experienced him. You never gave your life to him. You can be around it but never actually experience it.

And maybe you’re here today. I don’t know everybody here. But maybe you’re here today. And you go to Easter. You go to Christian.

You’re a good person. You do the best that you can. But like every single one of us. All of us, in spite of how good we are. We all need our sins forgiven.

And maybe you, yourself, have never personally made that decision to give your life to Jesus Christ. You’ve never believed in your heart and confess with your mouth. What better day to do that to access that new life then I need resurrection Sunday. I thought I knew everything and what it meant to be a Christian. But at the age of 19 when I gave my life to Jesus Christ everything changed.

I said to people, the grass looked greener, the sky looked bluer. Everything changed. What? Something happened on the inside. Bible says I was born again. His spirit came to live on me.

The same spirit that rose Christ from the dead came on the inside of me as well. And maybe ever had that experience. Will it be remiss of me to not give people an opportunity to enter into that? We’ve already had some people unplanned. Go and get water baptized. And maybe we’ve got some people today even unplanned saying you know what? I want to give my life to Jesus Christ.

I want to access every one of those empty promises. If that is you just close your eyes and bow your heads just for a moment. And if you want to give your life to Christ today or maybe you once did and you walked away and you want to come back. If that is you with every eye closed and every head bowed, just write where you are, slip up your hand and say that’s me. Today, I want to access those empty promises.

I want to give my life to Christ. I want that eternal life, that forgiveness of sins, and I want that relationship with Jesus. If that is your right, thank you. I see that hand down there. Is there anyone else that you’re saying, thank you, I see that hand over there as well.

Is there anyone else you Put that hand up nice and high. No one’s looking and say I want to give my life to Christ today. If that is you, just slip up your hand and say, it’s awesome. I see that hand down the back there as well. That’s wonderful.

Is there anyone else today? So, I want to give my life to Christ. I want to access those empty promises. If that is you slip up your hand and say that to me, awesome down the front here as well. Is there anyone else you want to give your life to Christ today? What better day to do it? Thank you. I see that hand there.

What better way at time to do it than on the day of that on the day of Amen. What we’re going to do is this, you believe in your heart. Now, we’re going to confess with our mouth. It’s going to start with a prayer. Gotta invite Christ into your life.

So, I’m going to invite those people who put their hands up to say this prayer after me and I want to encourage everyone else to pray this as well in support of them. Pray this after me. Dear lord Jesus, forgive me for being a sinner. Thank you for dying on the cross for me. Today, I ask you to come into my life, to be my lord, be my savior, be my best friend.

Help me to live for you all the days of my life. And I thank you that today, I’m joining your family. In Jesus name, amen. So we give those people a round of applause about five people with a hand up. So good.

At the end of the service, I want to invite those five people. Feel free to go to the hub there or the hub outside and talk to one of our team. They will help you with the decision that you made. But I also felt very strongly that there’s people here and you’re going through a tough season, going through a tough time. Bible does not promise that that never happens.

But he does promise he’ll never leave us. And so I want to pray for you where you are. We can call on the name of the Lord even right now. So if you’re here and you’re going through a difficult season, just slip your hand up. We just want to pray for you whatever it is.

We’re not going to ask you what it is. But you need God’s wisdom. you need his healing, you need his our provision, whatever it is. If that is you just slip up your hand right now as a family and we’re going to pray for you right now. The put up.

There’s many hands there. That’s awesome. Just put on nice and high. We’re going to pray. Father, in the name of Jesus.

I pray for every person with their hand raised. And I just thank you Lord you’re a prayer answering God. I thank you that you hear us. I thank you that you speak to us. And I thank you that the same power you wielded when you walked on the earth is available to us right now.

And so I declare right now in the name of Jesus for every with a hand raise that every need that they have be met in Jesus name. I pray for those that need healing. I pray for those who need provision. I pray for those that need direction. For those that just need a straight up breakthrough.

I thank you for that Father right now in Jesus name. I thank you that you are working miracles 2000 years ago and you are still working miracles today. I thank you and I praise you for a lot in Jesus name. Everyone said, let’s give the lord a hand of praise. Why don’t you stand on your feet? Before we go and have some hot cross buns we’re going to worship god one more time.

Amen. Regardless of what you’re going through, let’s never forget what the lord has done for us. Amen. Let’s worship him one more time. Oh name of oh mistakes we will God can we sing that out of praise oh praises Come on, let’s see this one more time.

Ps Ben Naitoko

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