A Second Look

Pastor Jerry Gillis - March 27, 2016

Although the story of the resurrection is a very old one, we encourage you to take a second look. You may be surprised by what you find.

Community Group Study Notes

  • Do you have a story in your life of taking a second look at Jesus? If so, share that with your group. What led you to that place? How has your life been changed since that second look?
  • How do you know when faith in Jesus is only “religious” to you and has no bearing at all on the choices you make in life? What is the difference between that and genuine faith in Jesus that leads to transformation? How do you know?


Memory Verse

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:31)

Sermon Transcript

So the Easter story is a lot of things, a lot of things that are deep and precious and rich. But one of the things that you miss when it comes to the idea of the Easter story is that the Easter story is also a story about taking second looks. I'll explain that in just a second when we get to the story but you understand what I'm talking about when I talk about taking a second look. It's something that is common to the human experience. Sometimes it happens when we see something that seems like, what is that? Right? It almost seems like that not what we think it is. We can't believe our eyes and so we have to take a second look.

It happens to me all the time when I run into these ridiculously crazy pictures sometimes when I'm doing some work - I'm on the internet for whatever reason and I run into actual pictures of human beings that are actually taken and I'm thinking to myself what did I just see. Let me give you an example. Take a look at this picture. Yeah. So when you look at that picture, basically you're thinking to yourself, is that a blond headed woman zebra centaur or something? Right? But if you take a second look you can tell that she's actually seated on a zebra as opposed to actually being a zebra, right? Yeah. So, check this one out. Yeah. Yeah. So pretty much you look at that picture and you go, wow, that's a baby with a man-head and a man-face. It's actually not. If you take a second look you can see that actually it's dad's outline of his face on the other side because he's holding the child and if you look real hard you can kind of tell. Some of you are going no, no, that's a baby with a man-head. I'm sure of it. So you have to take a second look. Let me give you a third option here. Yeah. I promise you when I saw that I thought to myself, where is this dog commuting to work on the subway? Is he an executive at Purina? I'm trying to figure out what is the story with this particular dog. If you take a second look you realize that the owner of the dog is sitting in the first seat and is leaning over behind the dog and so you can now tell because it still does look like a dog with arms and legs that's riding a subway.

So sometimes we take a second look because our eyes deceive us and we can't believe what we see. There's other times we take a second look when maybe it's something sentimental or emotional. For instance, I fly enough to where I've been at so many airports when I have seen goodbyes to a college student that was being sent off by the parents to college somewhere away. Or maybe with someone who's going off and being deployed into service overseas and you see them when they say their goodbyes and they begin to leave and then sure enough they stop and they want to take a second look before they're gone, right? So you can kind of see that in terms of second looks.

Or maybe a second look comes into play when you have a really bad situation and you're hoping against hope that maybe the situation isn't as bad as you thought, and so you want to take a second look at what the deal is. Or maybe you're hoping that somehow something's changed and so you take a second look to see if it has or if it hasn't. Really, the Easter story fits into that category really well, even though the Easter story actually encapsulates all of those ideas about second looks that we'll see in just a minute.

We're going to be, in just a second, in John's account of the resurrection story in chapter twenty and this is the time where - when he begins his story here it is after the time that Jesus has been scourged and flogged and then crucified and killed. And Jesus was then buried in a tomb that wasn't his. It was a borrowed tomb from a friend who had become a follower named Joseph, and he was from a town called Arimathea. And he owned a tomb in town and so it was used for Jesus' burial, because he didn't have one of his own and he would only need to borrow it because he wasn't going to be there for very long.

And so, Jesus was buried and then on Sunday one of his faithful followers whose name was Mary and she was from a town called Migdal or Magdala, which is why she is called Mary Magdalene. And she was making her way to the tomb because she was going to come, maybe hoping against hope or maybe because I don't know, but she was heading to the tomb that day, and that's where John's story is about to pick up. You remember that Mary Magdalene was somebody who was very precious to Jesus, and was also someone that she felt like Jesus was extraordinarily precious to her because the Scripture tells us that at one time she was oppressed and possessed by seven demons and then upon meeting Jesus he cast those demons out and brought her back to where she was supposed to be and she began to follow after Jesus with all of her heart. And so I'm sure seeing him murdered, seeing him killed was absolutely crushing to Mary who was from Magdala or Migdal or called Mary Magdalene.

Look where it picks up in John chapter twenty verse one. It says early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Madalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one who Jesus loved (that's referring to John) and said they have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we don't know where they have put him! So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus' head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying. Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb.

So, you have the story of Mary coming to the tomb but seeing that it's open and that it's empty and immediately she doesn't know exactly what to do, so upon seeing it she runs back. I don't know how far and how far away Peter and John and the others were but she ran all the way back to them to tell them that the stone was rolled away and that Jesus wasn't there and she's probably beside herself when she tells them. So Peter and John jump up and they take off running and they run all the way to the tomb. Now John's writing this account so he's sure to tell all of us dudes that he beat Peter to the tomb. But he runs all the way back, right and both of them run all the way back and they see that still the cloths are lying in the tomb but they know that Jesus isn't there, but then what they do is they leave and they go back to wherever it was that they were staying.

But here we find Mary. So Mary obviously looked in the tomb the first time, didn't see anything. She runs and tells them. They come running back but apparently she also came running back as well because when they left she was still standing outside of the tomb and she was there crying to herself. She was hardly believing her eyes. She was probably filled with all kinds of emotion and sentimentality and she was hoping against hope that this wasn't as bad as it seemed. And so what did she do? She took a second look and that second look changed everything.

Listen to what the Scripture goes on to say. Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb (for the second time) and she saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?" "They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, "Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him." Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, 'Rabboni!' (which means "Teacher"). Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her.

So Mary comes back to the tomb and she takes a second look at the tomb and it changes everything because in that second look she now is having a conversation with angels. And those angels are saying to her "why are you crying?" And she says, "Because they've taken my Lord away". And then she turns right out of the tomb, and she's face to face with Jesus but she doesn't know that it's him. And she thinks it's the gardener and he says, why are you crying? Who are you looking for? And she said, well, they've taken my Lord away and if you know where they've taken him, would you please tell me and then she apparently turns around. That's when Jesus just calls her by name and then she - the Scripture says - she turned back toward him a second time and took a second look. And there she sees Jesus for who he is. And it changes the game for her. And she takes off running and she brings the message to the disciples that she has seen the Lord and the Lord has spoken to her.

What a story, right? I mean it's an incredible story of Mary who takes a second look in the tomb and gets a conversation with angels. And then she sees Jesus, and she doesn't know it's him and she turns away and she takes a second look at Jesus, and everything changes for her and now she's running with the message that she has seen Jesus. It's almost as if Mary in those moments really finally came to life after she'd seen the King. Why? Because she decided to take a second look.

It's a great story and one that I'm hoping we'll be able to capitalize on in just a moment. But for those of us that are here, maybe we've heard that story before. Maybe we've read the story and we think, you know what? I've heard this story before. I've heard the story of the resurrection before. Maybe you have, but maybe you need to take a second look at this one. You see, the guy who's writing this - John - there's always more going on than meets the eye when he writes, because John is not just a copyist or a historian. John is also an artist and a theologian. And so when John is doing what John's doing, we need to pay really careful attention because he gets our attention.

In fact, look at John chapter twenty where we are, and look in verse eleven and twelve again and you can see it. It says: Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

Now some of you are thinking, okay, cool. This is just John reporting to us what happened. There's no question John is reporting to us exactly what did happen, but it's bigger than that because every Jewish person of which John was, that was reading this would have understood the picture that was painted here in what reality had happened.

You see, the people of Israel had a long term relationship with God that dated back forever, right? And God, when he formed this people called Israel, he brought them out of Egyptian slavery and brought them into a land of promise led by Moses through the Red Sea that seemed like a symbol of death, but he led them through these death defying waters and took them into the Land of Promise and then God gave them some instructions and here they were. He said I want you to build for me a Tabernacle and I'm going to tell you exactly how to build it and when I have you build this Tabernacle, a place where I'm going to dwell and meet with my people Israel, there's going to be a very special place inside of this Tabernacle called the Most Holy Place or the Holy of Holies. And inside of this holy place is going to be an Ark of the Covenant and this Ark of the Covenant is going to have a seat on it called the Mercy Seat where blood is going to be sprinkled on this particular seat and where the High Priest will sprinkle this blood is the place where I will meet with my people.

Now, you say okay, Jerry, cool. What does that have to do with what we just saw. Well, look at what Exodus chapter twenty-five says about the construction of the Ark. It says: Make an atonement cover of pure gold -- two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide. And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim (or the angels) of one piece with the cover, at the two ends. There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant law, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.

Did the you catch it? You see, actually what happened - when you walk into the tomb and you see what's going on there what you see is you see the place where Jesus' body was but is no more, and you see one angel on one side and another angel on the other side. One at the head and one at the feet. Just like the description of the Ark of the Covenant that there would be two cherubim on either side of the Ark of the Covenant, where on the Mercy Seat in the middle is where the blood would be shed so that we could meet with God. This is exactly what you see in this picture. That Jesus' body and His broken body and His blood that was shed was right here between the two angels because this, ladies and gentlemen, became the Mercy Seat where God said if you will trust in what Jesus has done on the cross and through his resurrection from the dead this is now the place that I will meet with you because you can be reconciled to God through what Jesus Christ has done. This is the Mercy Seat for us.

Now, that wasn't a don't clap, that was just a, I'm going, alright? Here's the thing. You have to take a second look to be able to see this. Maybe we should take a second look at the whole book of John, because the whole book itself is actually a book of signs. When you start reading what John does in the whole gospel itself, it's a book of signs and he tells us that there's signs. In fact, there are seven of them in the book of John that we start to see. You may have heard of some of them. Jesus changes the water into wine early on in John chapter two, right? Then he heals a boy of a royal official, and then he brings a paralytic to where he can start walking again. And then he feeds the 5,000 and then he walks on water and then he heals a man born blind and then he brings Lazarus back from the grave. Seven signs that are given to us. Why is that so important? Because to Jewish people, ladies and gentlemen, seven is a significant number. It is the number of completion. It is the number of fulfillment and John is painting for us seven signs that Jesus himself is actually who he said he was, the Messiah of God, the Son of God, the one who was going to rescue us.

You've got seven signs until you get to chapter twenty and you get an eighth. The resurrection. Why is that so important to us? Here's why. Because the number eight for the Jewish people meant everything starts over again. It's a new beginning. It's new creation. You see that shouldn't shock us, by the way, because when John started his gospel, the very first three words out of his mouth in John chapter one, verse one, were these words: In the beginning. You see, John was planting a seed in our minds when he started his gospel by saying in the beginning. What does that make you think of? It makes you think all the way back to the book of Genesis, right? The whole Bible starts out with those three words. In the beginning. When we see God creating everything and creating Adam and Eve who were living in a garden paradise and we see their fall from grace. In the beginning.

Why is this significant to us? Because here we are in the resurrection in a eighth miracle or eighth sign that gives us a picture of new creation or new beginnings and where do you think they find themselves in this story? In a garden. And do you know what's happening in the garden? Mary Magdalene, just like her ancient ancestor Eve is crying in the garden over paradise lost. She is wondering where her Lord is just like Eve did. And she turns and she begins talking to Jesus. Not realizing that it's Jesus, she thinks is a gardener. But do you know what? She's not far off. Because Jesus is the second Adam. The second one to come. He is in fact the caretaker of everything on the earth.

You see, when we start to look into this story, we realize there is more here than actually meets the eye. Maybe we should take a second look at what Jesus said to Mary. Because when Jesus said, why are you crying? Who are you looking for? And she said, they've taken my Lord away. And then she turns away. And what does Jesus say? Her name! You see in every other place where Mary's name is mentioned in the gospels, it's translated just like you have it in your Bible - Mary. But here the English translation doesn't do it justice, because here Jesus didn't just call her Mary. Jesus called her by her original Hebrew name of which Mary is the short form. He called her Miriam. You see, Miriam was her original name and that was born from a name and her namesake was Moses' sister back in the day, who was Miriam. Now if you remember Miriam, when Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt and led them through the Red Sea, Miriam - after they came through and were making their way toward the Promised Land (in Exodus chapter fourteen and fifteen), Miriam bursts out into song, singing about the wonderful works that God has done. She is testifying to the wonderful works that God has done. And now here, in the garden of new creation where everything is beginning again, there is a new deliverer, a better and new Moses in Jesus who is going to lead his people out through the waters of death into the land of promise. And Mary, who is Miriam, is the first one to sing the song about what he's done when she runs to the disciples and said, I have seen the Lord. This is absolutely incredible if we're willing to take a second look at the story.

So, there's so much here if we take a second look. In fact, Mary did. She took a second look, and everything changed for her. And that's what happens when we take second looks. Everything changes for her. You see the resurrected King was resurrecting her. He was bringing her back to life. Spiritually he was making what was dead come back to life and this is exactly what the King does in our lives. That just like with Mary if we will sometimes just take a second look the resurrected King will resurrect us.

So, today is a story about second chances. It's about a resurrected King who can resurrect us. And maybe you're here today and you need to take a second look. This is what today's about in part. Maybe you need to take a second look at what you understand the gospel to be. You see for some of us maybe we have an idea that the gospel is just some readings that we do on occasion from particular books like Matthew, Mark, Luke and John which by the way are certainly gospels - they're accounts, no question. But it's much richer and deeper and bigger than that because they contain within them the story of Jesus. You see, for some of us, we haven't recognized that our idea of what we think the framework of our life is - we've maybe ascribed the word gospel to it but we've missed it.

For instance, there are some of us that think that really life is just about a certain number of rules that we need to endeavor to try and live up to, and if we do that somehow we tie God's hands behind his back and we have to be greeted into his kingdom because we've lived up to a couple of different rules. Or, maybe you think it's this: you think, well, you know, everybody does some stuff from time to time. Nobody's perfect and you're right about that. And so, whenever you do some things that are bad or stupid or horrible you've got to balance that by doing a couple of good things, right? Well, yeah, I yelled at this lady so I walked this older lady across the street. You balance the scales. And so the idea is that maybe at the end of everything, what you're hoping is maybe your good outweighs your bad just a little bit, that for every bad thing that you've done, you've tried to counter it with a good thing and somehow, if that's the case, that God won't have any choice because you've somehow tipped the scale in your favor a little bit.

But here's the problem with the idea that you have. The idea that you have runs counter to the idea of grace. It makes absolutely no sense when it comes to the idea of grace. And here's why: you don't need Jesus. You don't need him for anything. If somehow you've just got to live through a couple of different sets of rules, okay, great. You live through a couple of different sets of rules, and you can move on with your life. Or maybe if you can do enough good to outweigh your bad, okay, great! You can do that. And you don't need Jesus for any of it. My question is what about the cross? What about the resurrection?

You see, some of us have come to places in our minds where we'd rather play on our phones or we'd rather distracted by everything else in the whole world than to think about the idea of what Jesus has actually done. That's why the gospel is actually really, really good news because there's really, really bad news. You see, the reason it's good news is because there's bad news. If there wasn't bad news it would just be news. But it's good news because there is bad news and here's the bad news: you can't save yourself. Here's the bad news: you've sinned and come short of the glory of God. Here's the bad news: people are not inherently good. That's the bad news. We all have a bent towards sin. We all have a bent toward brokenness and we can't heal or save ourselves. That's the bad news. In a million lifetimes you could never do enough good things in your own mind to be able to merit the favor of a holy God. That's the bad news.

The good news is God knew our predicament. God loves us. God cares about us. God wants to re-make us, and so he sent his Son, who came willingly to live among us - born of a virgin, lived sinlessly and perfectly in what he thought and what he did and what he said and he went to a cross, ladies and gentlemen, to bear upon his sinless self our sins. Because the justice of a holy God has to be satisfied. He doesn't just wink at sin. He doesn't just kick it under the table. He actually deals with sin. And here's how he dealt with us: instead of us having to stand in the place of judgment, Jesus the perfect sinless one stood in our place on a cross taking upon him the judgment of God for your sin and my sin - not for his own sin. He never sinned! You and I are the ones who messed it up. You and I are the ones who have blown it. You and I are the ones where the Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That's us, and put me at the front of the line which means I desperately need a savior. I need someone who stood in my place and he was sinless. He became sin who knew no sin so that in him we could become the righteousness of God. What a savior who died for us, who took upon himself the penalty of our sin but who did not stay dead because God raised him from the dead because he conquered sin and hell and the grave on our behalf so that when we put our faith and trust in him we can be reconciled to God transformed in this life and transformed for the life to come. This is the gospel of Jesus and this is what we need to come face to face with. Maybe we need to take a second look at it.

You see, maybe you need to take a second look not only at the gospel, but maybe you need to take a second look at yourself. Because some of you in your own heart and in your own mind have maybe never come to a place where you've recognized your great need. You've bought into the fact that you have maybe an idea of religion or an idea of faith but that faith that you have has not even transformed you in this life yet you're somehow leaning on it for the life to come? I think it's a bad bet on your part. If the truth of Jesus and the gospel of Christ can't transform you in the right now, you're going to bank on that for your whole eternity? I think you've bought a bad bill of goods because maybe if you ask yourself and look inside of yourself and ask yourself what do I really believe? Because basically what I do gives evidence of what I believe. What I do gives evidence of what I believe. Not just what I say - what I do. Right? The rest is just kind of hot air.

And see, if your life is not so centered in Jesus and his death, his burial, and his resurrection and that that truth has not transformed you and his Spirit has not come to live inside of you and really changed you from the inside out, you may need to ask yourself what you really fundamentally actually believe. Who leads your life? Maybe you've listened way more to the promises of the world, right? And they haven't satisfied you. You see the world just gives you empty promises. God gives you an empty tomb where Jesus has risen from the dead to transform you and to make everything new where it's like starting all over. Sin can be forgiven and washed away and we can be made new and transformed in this life and we certainly have a hope for the life to come.

Maybe you need to just take a second look at Jesus because sir, ma'am, young man, young lady - maybe you have felt like nobody's ever given you a second look. Maybe you've felt overlooked - forgotten, abandoned. Remember Mary. Mary turns around from a tomb and she thinks that she's talking to a gardener. She's looking at Jesus. But then she turns away to go about her business until Jesus calls her name. And when she hears her name, she turns and she looks a second time to realize that Jesus was always looking at her. Even when she turned from him.

You see, I'm here to tell you that the God of the universe who came in the person of Jesus loves you. He's never forgotten you. He's always been looking at you. Even when you turned away. That's why the Bible teaches us that while we were still sinners, Christ still died for us. When we paid him no attention, he paid attention to us. That's the kind of love that's offered to you on this Easter, this Resurrection Day. It's the kind of love that Mary found. It's the kind of love that countless millions have found through the ages. It's the kind of love that I found when I was nineteen years old.

And you know, I've talked to young and old alike who've said, Jerry, I've got my ideas and my philosophy about life and God and who exists and who doesn't and all that kind of stuff. Cool. Here's the thing. A man with an experience is never at the mercy of the man with just an argument. I know that he's changed me. I know that he's transformed me. That he picked me up out of the mud and the mire and he set my feet upon a rock and he gave me a new song that he put in my mouth and everything changed. I moved from the kingdom of darkness and self into the kingdom of Light and others. This is what Jesus has done. This is not because of me. This is what Jesus has done. He did it for Mary. He's done it for me. He's done it for countless thousands more and I'm telling you, if you'll take a second look he'll change everything for you today. Everything.

Would you bow your heads with me? If you don't have to move I'd ask you not to. Out of the kindness and respect of people around you. But as our heads are bowed here for a moment some of you in this moment are realizing that you need to receive Jesus. You need to turn from your sin and put your faith and trust in Jesus. Some of you realize that he's calling your name - your true name. What he really wants you to be. He wants to remake you. And you need to understand that today, if by faith you want to turn from sin and self and all of that stuff and put your faith and trust in Jesus you can have your sins forgiven. You can be made clean. you can be washed white. You can be transformed in this moment, on this day, in this place.

So maybe you're sitting there saying, how do I do that? I mean just ask. Believe. He hears you. He's here. He's among us. I'll even help you with some words but my words aren't that important. It's the posture of your own heart. But if you want to receive Christ in these moments, maybe pray something like this in your heart, if you mean it. Pray: Lord Jesus, I realize that I've sinned and I've come short of your glory. And I realize that Jesus came to die for my sin and because of my sin. But I believe that Jesus rose from the dead and I believe, Jesus, you can make all things new including me. And so I confess my need for you as my Savior. I'm asking you to come and live inside of me. To change me. To save me. To make my life new. To forgive me. I believe in you.

As our heads are bowed and eyes are closed in this place if you would say, hey, Jerry, I just prayed that with you and I meant it with all of my heart. I don't want you to be ashamed of that. I want you to draw a line in the sand spiritually speaking and say, no, no, I did that today. And I meant it with all of my heart. Whether you're in this room or in the East Worship Center - maybe another place on our campus - if you prayed that with me just now I want you to just put your hand up in the air as high as you can. I want to look around the room. Just put it up high. I just prayed that with you. I'm receiving Jesus this day. Put it up high. Don't be embarrassed or ashamed. Just put it up high. Thank you. Thanks. I'm still looking around the room. It's a big room. I see you way in the back. Even though I've got glasses, I'm still looking. Thanks. I tell you what. If you just raised your hand, would you do me a favor? Put your hand down but lift your head up and look at me. Everybody else in the room, if you would just be so kind as to pray for the people around you, just quietly listen with your head down. For those of you who just prayed to receive Christ, would you just look at me. I'm thrilled with what you've done but you need to understand that this is a decision that's not just like a one time religious ritual. This is about surrendering your life to Jesus. It's about giving him everything, right? This is about all of him for all of you. Because he said I am the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me.

And if you are serious about that and this is a journey that you're ready to take and you want to walk with him and you want to learn of him and you want to follow after him with all of your heart. It's not just about showing up once or twice to a worship gathering on holidays and then kind of forgetting about. No, this is about centering your life around who he is and beginning to learn his ways and how you can help to change the world because of his life in you. But if you prayed that, I'm going to ask you to do something in just a minute because we want to help you. We want to be a blessing to you. We want to be an asset to you. Because we want to help you in this new journey of faith.

And so in a moment I'm going to ask you to do something that may take a little bit of courage. And I don't apologize for that. I'm actually glad about it. Because to be honest with you it doesn't take that much courage, because these people in this room - they're for you. They are on your team, all right? So, here's what I'm going to ask you to do in just a second. Here's what I'm going to ask you to do in just a second. We've got a pastor in this room, Pastor Wes, who's going to be standing right in the middle of the aisle in this room and in the East Worship Center we've got a pastor there who's showing himself in the front of that room. If you're in some of our other locations as well, there will be one of our team members that will be there to wave their hand and show you that it's them. But in a moment I'm going to ask you to stand up in your seat and I'm going to ask you to come to Pastor Wes right here in the middle aisle or in the East Worship Center, come to that pastor there or wherever else. And plain and simple, here's what we're going to do. We're not going to take you into some scary dungeon where it's dark and frightening. We're going to take you out of the room for a moment and we're going to give you something. We're going to have somebody pray with you and we're going to give you something that's going to help you in your new journey of faith. It's that simple. Okay? That's what we want to do. So you know in advance.

Here's the thing. I don't apologize for asking you to do this because Jesus went to a cross on your behalf very publicly. He died very publicly for you because of his love for you. If you can't get up from a seat in a room full of people who are on your team, who are cheering for you, on Easter Sunday of all days, right? Then it's going to be real difficult to live for Jesus out in a world that doesn't care. Okay? So, we want to help you. Let us do that. And have the courage to follow after Jesus in this place as a fist step of your new found relationship with him. So, I'm going to ask any of you who just prayed to receive Jesus and you were serious about that decision, I want to ask you right now to leave your seat, come and stand with Pastor Wes in this room right here in the center or over in the East Worship Center you'll see a pastor down front. Thank you. We've got somebody who's courageous enough to stand up. Thanks, ma'am. Appreciate that. Right here. Right here, we'll wait on you for a second. That's awesome. Wow. Right here. Keep coming. We probably needed two Pastor Wes, right? Yeah. Keep coming. Just file on in. Come on in. That is awesome. So what I'm going to ask you to do in a second - by the way, my goal isn't to emotionally manipulate anybody. We just want to give you an opportunity to meet Jesus, to know him and we want to help you in that, okay?

So, if you need to slide out when they're walking out and you want to join them because you've just were totally freaked out about getting up, just a second ago - I don't care. Just get up and join them, all right? Just whatever it takes to get to Jesus. If you have to slink in, that's fine. We're fine with that. All right? Whatever you got to do to get to Jesus, man. And if you're in any other part of our building, you're going to join us in the same place. We're going to take you right across the Atrium into the Fireside Room. Again, there' lights on, there's no scary people. All right? So everything's cool. And if you're one of our prayer partners, we've got a whole lot of people. We'd love for you to help us out if you're a prayer partner to come and be with these folks. Why don't we let them, as they make their way out, let's let them know how grateful we are for what God's gone in their heart. That's awesome. Wow, man.

What's encouraging is that - I mean, at seven o'clock this morning ten people at least gave their lives to Jesus at seven o'clock this morning. You know it's the Spirit of God when people are giving their lives to Christ as seven o'clock in the morning, right? It was incredible and then last worship gathering a number of people came to faith in Christ and then just to see what God's done in the lives of these people - that's astounding and for those of you that brought some of these friends, thank you. Thanks for exposing them to the gospel, for showing them how much you love them by bringing them to Jesus. What an incredible thing. That's awesome. A lot of these people didn't just come on their own. They came because you invited them to come. Here's what we're going to do. We're going to do a couple of more things before we dismiss - as they're being talked to and we're going to take an opportunity to worship through our giving and let me explain to you what we're going to do. If you're a guest of ours though, you don't have to feel any obligation to anything. If you are a part of the Chapel, you better feel an obligation. I'm kidding. It's a joke. Not really. Here's why, here's why. If you're a guest, just take that connection card that you had and you can just put that in the offering plate and that would be your gift to us. We'd appreciate that.

But if you're here as a regular attender do what my family and I are doing. We're giving our regular giving but we're also putting something additional into an Easter envelope and whatever goes in that Easter envelope we're giving away. Let me tell you where it's going. You can see it on the screens. Jericho Road Community Health Center is here in our local region and they have VIVE which they have recently started/acquired and they are helping refugees in significant ways and we want to partner with them and help them in that process. Secondly, Renaissance Church is a church that we're partnering with in Harlem that is a church plant and it's very challenging to plant churches in New York City sometimes. And we want to help them. It is a multi-cultural church. Pastor Jordan who's there doing a phenomenal job and we want to help partner with them so that they can continue to move forward in their church plant in Harlem. And then thirdly we're going to partner with Mission of Hope Haiti, one of our global partners because they are developing a child development center there and everything they do is gospel centered in what they do so anything that you put in those Easter offering envelopes we're giving away and that's where it's going. Okay? So you guys can know that. We have a tendency to do that sometimes on these holiday seasons. For the rest of us, we can just continue our regular giving, but anything in those Easter envelopes - that's where it's headed.

So Father, I pray that even as we give right now we would do so as people of great generosity because we know that Jesus is the indescribable gift and that you make us, you re-make us into people of generosity. Use what we give for your glory and to help people. We pray in Jesus' name, amen. As the offering plates are coming through, you'll not want to miss hearing what you're about to hear.

Worship Set List

My Victory



God & King

Gateway Worship



Elevation Worship


Death Was Arrested

North Point InsideOut


Share This Message

Share This With A Friend

Subject: A Second Look

Sharing URL: https://thechapel.com/messages/a-second-look/a-second-look/

Send Email