17 Apr 2017

A Lot Can Happen In 3 Days – Good Friday


A Lot Can Happen In 3 Days Pastor Paul Choo 14 April 2017

A Lot Can Happen In 3 Days
Pastor Paul Choo
14 April 2017


Sermon Transcript

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Tonight we're here to celebrate something that happened 2,000 years ago. And those few hours on that cross, the future of mankind was transformed. 37 years ago, my life was transformed by this very event that we celebrate tonight. And I believe with all my heart that tonight God can transform your lives, that you will leave rejoicing at the great future God has for each of you.

We saw three video clips tonight. I'm pretty sure most of you, or many of you, were still pretty confused at the end of three clips. But you know, the truth was 2,000 years ago people were standing right before that cross, and they were much more confused than you. They could see before them this pathetic suffering figure. It was obvious He was being tormented, tortured, and He was going to die. The problem was they couldn't figure out why. For three years they had seen this man, heard about this man. He lived a perfectly sinless life. He taught truth like nobody had ever taught before. He did miracles that no one had ever done before. Why is He up there on the cross? Why is a good man suffering like that? Why is one who gave hope to the world looking so hopeless? Why is it someone who can cure and heal the sick and suffering couldn't stop His own sufferings? They heard and they saw Him raise the dead, and He couldn't stop His own death.

We're not talking about healing like we see today, you know not that kind of healing that is staged. He healed daily from town to town and village to village. His miracles were not, maybe work, maybe don't work. When He told a lame man to rise, he rose. When He told the dead to come out of the cave, he came out. This man was not an ordinary man, obviously He was much more than that. But why is He on that cross? You know, if you are confused tonight, I can tell you they were absolutely perplexed. You know, we have 2,000 years of hindsight and information. Today, you and I know He wasn't just a man. We know that 33 years before this event, a great event had taken place. A baby was born. Angels declared His birth. In fact, today, after 2,000 years, the biggest religious celebration in the world is about this baby. We know the Bible tells us that the Son of God, the Creator of the world, 2,000 years ago came down to be born a little baby. This baby is so unique, so miraculous, so special that we keep celebrating year after year His birth. This baby is 100% God and 100% man in one person. Mathematically impossible to figure out. 50-50, 60-40, but, what, 100%-100%? It's a miracle baby! Why this miracle? What's the purpose? Because this baby was born with one goal, one mission - to grow up and then go to the cross. And on that cross, pay the penalty for all our sins. Nobody else could do this job. Anyone other than God-man couldn't do this job. You see, other religions have their teachers and their prophets, but there can only be one Savior. Because the Savior has to be God-man. You will say why? Because on that cross, only God would know all of us - millions, billions of people. Only God would know every single one. And on that cross, only God would know every one of our sins. I've been a pastor for over 30 years. Frankly, so many of my sins I don't even realize. Thoughts in here, proud thoughts, goes in and out of my mind without me even realizing they were sins. Eyes looking at things and women I shouldn't look at, listening to gossip I shouldn't listen to, saying words about someone I should never have said, feeling things about my wife, maybe my anger towards my parents, which I should never have felt. I sinned so often I don't even realize all of them. But God on the cross not only knew you, but he knew every sin of yours. And you know as God he remembers all our sins. All you students here, you know you study today 100 facts, you forget 50 by next week. By the exam, most of it. The day after the exam, it's all gone. You want to remember your sins when you were a kid? Could you remember them? But God on the cross, He knew you all, He knew all your sins. He remembered them all. And He had a mission to take all your sins and miss out none. He's God. He doesn't make mistakes. Only God on that cross can take our sins, every one of them. But you know, God on that cross cannot feel the pain. As God, He can't feel shame. He can't bleed. He definitely cannot die as God. And that's why on that cross the Savior had to be 100% God and 100% man - so He could take all our sins, every single one. And He could suffer for it.


You know, my friends, when we saw all those clips, video clips, we see an awesomely horrible sight. But you know, let me tell you, what you saw on that video was a poor lousy representation of Christ's sufferings. I wasn't there, how can I say that? Because the Bible tells us. In the passage that describes Christ's death, it tells us that Christ on that cross did not look like a human. The video clip, every one, every scene, every depiction of Christ, I could say that's a human. "Beyond human semblance". When I was a young doctor, I worked in a surgical department. Those were the days of early industrialization of Singapore. Industrial accidents were very common, especially shipyards. Sometimes a person would be wheeled in and we have to ask ourselves - boy, women or man? Sometimes we have to ask ourselves, this is a man? Where's the eyes? You know, my friends, did you have a problem recognizing Jesus was a man on the video? I could have know, I had no problem, He looked pretty much a man. How did Jesus reach this state? It's not Hollywood, this is the Bible, the Bible is not a book of exaggerations, the Bible is a book of truth. So we step back at just before the cross. What happened to Jesus? The Bible tells us - He was first brought to the Jewish leadership. The priests, the Jewish priests hated him. He had called them hypocrites. You know, religious hypocrites are not something new in this century, folks. People who make money and get power out of religion have been there forever and ever. And Jesus, when He was on this earth, He exposed these people. And they were getting their revenge on Him. They spat at Him. They hit Him. They slapped Him. Who is “they”? The Jewish leaders. How many were they? About 100. After they had done with Him, He was brought to be whipped, scourged. You know, the way they whipped in those days was with a Roman whip. It looked something like that. Often hooks were placed in those little knots there. Typically, the man to be whipped would be stripped of his clothing, strapped to a bar, and then the Roman soldiers would come behind him with his flagellum and whip him from the back. The hooks would catch in different parts of the face, and the job of the Roman soldiers was to pull the whip down, ripping off flesh. Is it exaggeration? Is this something I imagined, like the Hollywood people putting Jesus on that video? Let's see what the Bible says. The Bible says they plowed upon my back. You know, when the psalmist, the writer of the psalm, was asked to write this, he must have said, "God, excuse me, they plowed on the earth? On the earth, not my back. You don't plow on somebody's back?" Write it down. You know, for hundreds of years, psalmists, people who read the psalm were saying, what in the world is this? Furrows on the back? I see furrows on the ground when you plow. You know, the Roman whip hadn't been invented yet. It would be hundreds of years later after this writing it was invented. So you can imagine now the swollen, bruised face with spit on it, is now ripped up, His back is ripped up. What else did they do to Him? Then He was given to a whole battalion of Roman soldiers. Few hundreds, six seven hundred of them. Do what you want with this King of the Jews. Oh, they mocked Him and made a crown of thorns. Thorns like that, two centimeters long. They put it on His head. They kneeled, they put a staff, a wooden staff in His hand. And they kneeled before Him, mocking Him. Ha, King of the Jews. And they took the stick from Him and hit Him on his head. Roman soldiers - brutality, violence, strength is their character. And they hit Him. Six hundred soldiers. Are you getting the picture? Human semblance? Beyond human semblance. And then they sent Him to be crucified. No death penalty up till today has been as brutal and terrible as the crucifixion. Sometimes you throw rocks at a person, knocked out, then the rest of the rocks just settle it. Sometimes you hang, sometimes you electric chair, sometimes you shoot, sometimes you chop the head off. But at the crucifixion, you die shamefully and slowly. It's described in Psalm 22. Some medical students here, you can understand this almost completely. As He hung on that cross, bleeding, no more blood left to pump. And then as you hang there, your joints slip out of joint. One joint after another slips out - wrists, elbow, shoulder. Says "my heart is like wax", burning in there, it's a heart attack. Totally dehydrated. His tongue sticks to the side of His mouth. As He hung there, and as they mocked Him, "if you are the Son of God, come down." They didn't understand that because He was the Son of God, His goal was to go there. “You are the Son of God, save yourself.” They didn't understand He came to sacrifice Himself to save us. They were confused, they were puzzled.


You know, what you see here today is not the real sufferings of Jesus. What I have just described, folks, you know what I have just described are not the really sufferings of Jesus. They were only an introduction to His suffering. You say, what do you mean? You mean all that suffering was just the introduction? Come on, give me a break. What does the Bible say? The Bible tells us Christ was on the cross for a total of 6 hours. 9 to 3. For the first 3 hours, He was visible. People could shout at Him, and mock Him. Hollywood people could make a production of it and make money out of it. But for the next three hours, the Bible it's called the sixth hour, that's the way of counting, the Roman style of counting, the sixth hour is noon. From noon till 3 o'clock, typically at noon the sun is brightest. On that day, the light went off at noon. What is happening? Can you imagine if you were there that day, and you were mocking, “if you be the Son of God, come…” the light went off. Who else, who can turn the light off? Who can turn the sun off? Only God. Can you imagine the people there that day? They froze, they couldn't walk, they couldn't go anywhere. Its dark. You don't bring a light, you don't bring a lamp at noon. And even if you know where to go, you would be so afraid you would stand rooted to the ground. And they stood there, wondering why, what is God going to do? What's God going to do to us? We mocked Him. What is God going to do to us? For three hours, silence. Towards the end of the three hours, they hear this cry from the cross, “My God my God, why has thou forsaken me?” Can you imagine the confusion among the people? What's happening? Who's hitting Him? Who's beating Him? He's up there, we are here. Why is He shouting? When they slapped Him He didn't shout. When they whipped Him, He didn't say a sound. When they nailed Him, no sound. Why is He shouting now? What's He saying? "My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?" You know, you're wondering what's happening? Is this a mystery to be left to our imagination? The answer is in the Bible. In a book called Lamentations, to lament, to weep, to mourn, we see a passage that seems very strange, that actually doesn't make any sense apart from the cross. Is it nothing to you, all of you here, all of you who just pass by the cross? Look and see, is there any sorrow like my sorrow, which was brought upon me, which the Lord inflicted on the day of his fierce anger. I want you to know it was not the Romans, it was not the Jews, the Lord inflicted upon me. Now look at the next line - "From on high he sent fire; into my bones he made it descend;" What in the world is this? You know, the man who wrote this Lamentations a thousand years before Christ, he probably too was saying, “God, write this down? Fire into my bones? It's going to go through my flesh first. It burns my flesh. It goes straight into my bones? What is this all about?" God said, "write it down." For a thousand years, people read this. And apart from the cross, we can still read this and have no idea what this means. But when you understand the cross, you see, Jesus was taking our place. He didn't want any of us, not a single one of you, Jesus doesn't want a single one of you to ever go to this horrendous place called hell.


The truth is we all deserve to go there because we are all sinners, because God is holy and God has to judge sinners. He's not a corrupt judge. He doesn't have blindness in His justice. Sometimes we get so angry with justice because there is no justice. With God, perfect justice. Every sinner will be judged, in this place called hell. You know what the Bible says about hell? Not a lot, but two things are very clear - it's a place of darkness, and it's a place of a special fire. Normal fire produces light. This fire in hell produces no light. This fire is described in the Bible as the unquenchable fire, and it goes and burns you, but you never burn out. Normal fire would burn you and after a few hours you become ashes. Fire of hell, fire of hell goes right into your bones and burns and burns but you never become ash. My friends, on that cross, Jesus loved you and me. He didn't want a single one of us to ever have to taste this fire. And He took our place. If you ever have to make a movie about Christ's death, that may be the most accurate, but not complete. On that cross, Christ was our substitute sacrifice. He took our place. You know that almost every culture, every society has a religion and you know almost every religion has a sacrifice? Whether it's a chicken, a boiled chicken, sheep, a cow, every religion, almost every single one has united by one…they have different teachings, they have different teachings, they have different morals, they have different buildings, they have different days of worship, but they all have one thing in common - they offer a sacrifice. Because man knows, it is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgement. And so man says, not on me, God, on the substitute sacrifice. You know my friend, what was happening that day was, this is God's offer of a sacrifice for you and me. As God concentrated the fire of hell, condensed it and poured it on his Son, when Jesus had paid the penalty for the last sin of man, He said some words that had been flashed here just now, “It is finished.” You know, tonight is the night we celebrate this battle cry, "It is finished.", the battle cry. What does it mean, "it is finished?" Did Jesus say I am finished? No. On the cross, Jesus used the Greek language. And the Greek language is not three words, it's not “it is finished”. It's one word. It is “Tetelestai”. Tetelestai simply means “fully paid”. That's all. He came with a goal, with a mission. He had a mission to accomplish and His mission is to pay the penalty for all our sins. And when in His perfect knowledge He knew He had paid for all our sins, He said, "it is finished." Fully paid. That is a victory cry - that someone loved you enough, who was able enough to pay the penalty for your sins, to declare it is finished. How do you know it's true? You can say it. He proved it.


Three days later, which I hope you'll come back to this church on Sunday when we celebrate what we call "Resurrection Sunday". That's the day Christ rose from the dead. Thousands had seen Him hanging on that cross, strips of flesh. That's not even a man. That are strips of flesh, like a butcher shop. And He rose after that. And He appeared to man. Sunday, we celebrate the victory, the proof of the victory. He didn't just say fully paid, He proved it. You know my friends, do you know that your sins were settled two thousand years ago, before you were born? God on the cross could see you two thousand years before you were born. He loved you, He loved everybody in this room, two thousand years before we were born. He could see every sin we would commit. Because God can see the future, and He loved us, and He knew our sins, and He took them all, and He paid for them. Settled, two thousand years ago. So what's there for us to do? You say hey preacher, its settled. You know, the Bible tells us, favorite verse - "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) The gift is prepared long ago. But no gift is complete unless there's a receiver. A gift is only a blessing when there's a willing giver and a willing receiver. A gift cannot be forced on you. That's no more a gift. Jesus couldn't say I died for your sins, all of you, you have to receive it. That's not a gift. Today the bible tells us, gift prepared, have you received? Until these two meet, a willing giver and a willing receiver, nobody gets the blessing.

Today my friend, some of you will say, hey preacher, I've been in this church a long time. I know these things. Since Sunday school I know them. Every year it's the same thing. I've heard it all. Question - it's not whether you know - the Bible doesn't say whosoever knows. It says "whosoever believes." Today, to all of you here, for some of you, the story is somewhat new, some of you its old. But to all I ask you one question, do you believe that on that cross two thousand years ago Jesus paid the penalty for all your sins? Do you believe if something happens to you tonight, you will not perish? You may take your last breath on this earth. Ah, heart attack, you get your last breath. And you slump to the floor. And you say, wow the preacher dropped dead. Let me tell you something - a few thousand of you will see a preacher drop dead. But let me tell you, this preacher will never experience death. Because the Bible tells me whosoever believes what Jesus did on that cross will never perish. My body will go to the ground, the ambulance will come and bring this body to the mortuary, but the moment my body was going down to the ground, my spirit went up and said, Hallelujah. You know something, if you truly believe Jesus as your Savior, you cannot experience death. You take your last breath on this earth, and you take immediately your next breath. You know my friends, are you afraid of the future? Everybody is afraid of death. Why are Christians, why should Christians not be afraid of death? Because we won't die. The body will die, this heart will stop but I'm more than a piece of meat. I have a soul and a spirit. And I will be with my God. We're not animals, folks. We're not animals to be butchered and eaten. That's what differentiates us from animals, this is what differentiates us from animals - we have a soul and a spirit. You know my friends, when I was a doctor, I was always puzzled by this, why are people afraid of dying? Everybody likes to sleep, right? Everybody likes to sleep. You know, the most popular drug you prescribe as a doctor, prescription drug is sleeping pills. Everybody wants it. And people say die, die lah, sleep lah. Then why you're don't happy when you die? Because you know, it is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgement. That's why it doesn't matter who you are, whether you can act, pretend, macho, let me tell you this, deep in your heart, you are afraid of death. You know, my friends, we will all live forever, whether you like it or not, we will all live forever. You could take your last breath on this earth, and your next breath is in a place called eternity, except there's two places for eternity - heaven or hell.


Tonight, something happened two thousand years ago, because God loves you and doesn't want any of you to go to hell. Sometimes people will say, hey pastor, just believe huh? Just believe huh, so easy. After we believe, I tell you what we'll do tonight, we'll go to Geylang. Hey, we're going to heaven, man, we're going to get drunk, we're going to gamble. You know my friends, some people will say, you know, so easy huh, Christians are stupid people huh. Just believe, get a passport go to heaven, tonight we can go and do whatever we like. You think you're smarter than God? When you receive Jesus as your Savior, you don't get just a passport to heaven, you receive a Partner who will guide you, who will change you. Your life will never be the same. How do you know you truly believed? Your life will be changed. Because Christ will live in you. You have a new characteristic, new DNA.

You know my friends, tonight I end by saying, I hope you leave with this peace in your heart. I hope you leave knowing that everything said tonight is for one purpose - that you may know that if you believe in Jesus Christ in your heart, if you believe that on the cross He paid for all your sins, you may leave tonight knowing you have eternal life. This is the message for tonight. If you haven't truly received Jesus, do it right now. Between you and God. I don't need to hear it, nobody needs to hear it. Only God. Right where you are, you say God, "I'm a sinner. Thank you for Jesus. Forgive me my sins. I trust that He paid the penalty for my sins, I receive Him as my Savior." And may you leave in peace. Knowing you have everlasting life. Let us pray.

Father, we thank You for tonight. We cannot understand the cross. No mind can fully grasp it. But we just know that You said, "fully paid." We know no one else can pay for our sins, we know no other sacrifice of animals can ever substitute for a man. Only the Saviour Jesus Christ can be our Substitute. May everyone leave tonight with a clear understanding of the cross. And a simple faith to believe that Jesus paid it all. This is our prayer tonight, God. Everyone will know that Jesus paid it all. Hear our prayer, God. Bless everyone that is here, thank you in Jesus' name, amen.

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