When Heave and Earth Collide Multiple Collisions

Sermon Summary

This message is the first in a two part Easter series that focuses on the stark differences between the values of heaven and earth, God and man, Jesus and the world in which He found Himself. A world He had created, but which had gone in a much different direction than had been intended. Of course, this happened, not because of a mistake in planning on God’s part, but due to the poor choices humankind had chosen to make.  And this was exactly why Jesus had come to earth. He was hear to make a way for humankind to be reconciled and made right with God. However, the path to redemption was wrought with collisions between heaven and earth. These collisions still happen in our lives today. Our responses to those collisions have great impact on the outcomes in our lives.

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. How you ever witnessed a collision of heaven and earth in your own life? What was the conflict and how did you handle the collision?

2. One of the constant collisions in Jesus’ life was the one that involved the conflict between His authenticity and the insincerity of the religious leaders of His day. Can you think of some of the things that highlighted the differences between them? The following passage might help…

Luke 6:6-11

On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” So he got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was completely restored. 11 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.

3. Purpose and motive are closely related and really do make a huge difference in everything!  Jesus’ purpose and motivation also put Him on a collision course with the religious leaders of His day. What was His purpose and motivation and how should that purpose and motivation impact a follower of Christ?

Philippians 2:1-5

1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

4. The decisions we make at the scene of a heaven and earth collision determine outcomes in our lives. Think about the difference between how we remember the woman who anointed Jesus with the ointment and Judas, the one who selfishly objected. While we don’t live our lives for the praise of man, it is not a bad thing to think about how our actions portray our faith. How will you be remembered?

Philippians 2:14-16a

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[a] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life…

 

When Heaven and Earth Collide - Multiple Collisions

Full Sermon Notes

Selected Verses from Matthew's Gospel

We're going to look at the various places where impact took place and the resulting fallout! The collisions of heaven and earth have been happening ever since the Garden of Eden, but ramped up in a major way when Jesus left heaven and came into this world! And the collisions became much more intense as Jesus neared the end of His earthly life. We're going to look at the multiple collisions that happened on His way to the cataclysmic collision that happened at the Cross! Each collision of heaven and earth we will look at today will have application for you and me because the clash of heaven and earth is still happening! How so? Let's ask God to show us through the experience of Christ, how heaven and earth collide on a daily basis in our lives.

Father God, I pray for You to show us today the reality of heaven and earth collisions and how they impact every aspect of our lives. When heaven and earth collide, we have to make decisions. These decisions affect the outcome of the collisions. Please allow Your Holy Spirit to guide our time together as we look back at events in the life of Your Son Jesus and as we take part of our service today to remember the impact of His decision to go to Jerusalem even though He knew the ultimate collision of heaven and earth would happen on a Cross upon which He would die! May we ever be mindful and grateful for the sacrifice Jesus was willing to make on our behalf on that day! Teach us today and help us apply what we learn to our every day lives! Thank You for hearing the prayers that come from the depths of our hearts! In Jesus Name I pray and believe, Amen!!

A Collision of Real and Fake 

 Matthew 21:1-9 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me.

If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

“Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!”

Now I know you must be thinking, "I didn't see any kind of collision in those verses!" No you didn't see them in these verses, but listen to Luke's narrative on the triumphal entry in Luke 19:37-40

Luke 19:37-40 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

Now what was happening back then that caused this collision between Jesus and the religious leaders? It was a collision of real and fake, genuine and phony, authentic and counterfeit! Jesus was real, genuine and authentic and the religious leaders were not. The people had seen this and had chosen to listen to Jesus' teachings and to praise Him as a King who came in the name of the Lord! This infuriated those in power! They were fearful they would be exposed and would lose their power so they sought to silence the crowds and Jesus. How do I know this? Well first of all listen to Mark's description of what the people felt about Jesus even in the early days of His ministry… Mark 1:21-22

Mark 1:21-22 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.

Now listen to what the Pharisees had said at a meeting just before Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem in John 11:47-48 & vs 53

John 11:47-48 & vs 53 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come  and take away both our place and our nation.”

And then in verse 53...

So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

Now how does this relate to you and me today? There may come a time when your faith and this world will collide. There are some in this world who will try to silence you through intimidation…or by making you seem like an outcast or a crazy person because you have decided to follow Jesus. Now if you're obnoxious about the way you share your faith and act like you're better than everyone else, then you can't claim that as persecution, that's ignorance on your part! But I want you to see this important truth. If you're life and your talk match up, if your faith is more than a religious facade, if you are genuine in your love for Jesus and in your love for others, while some in the world may try to silence you, others will respect you and will be drawn to the real Jesus they see in you! Ok, let's look at the next collision…

A Collision of Purpose 

Matthew 32:10-17 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.“It is written,” he said to them, “ ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.’ ’” The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.“ Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “ ‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?” And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.

What a collision. We know from John's gospel that Jesus went and got some cords to make a whip in order to drive out the cattle and other animals these merchants were selling in the temple. So He had time to think about what He was going to do. He didn't just fly off the handle. What was the problem? The people who were well off brought animals for the sacrifice from their own herds. The poor people didn't own animals so they had to buy them. Evidently these merchants were taking advantage of the poor and were selling them deformed and sickly animals that had been discarded. They were charging them a premium for animals that didn't even meet the standards for a sacrifice. Of course Jesus was upset. What was God's purpose for the temple in the first place? We find the answer in Exodus 25:8

Exodus 25:8 “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.

And evidently the religious leaders had forgotten David's prayer about the temple...

Psalm 27:4-6 One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD.

Now how does this relate to us? We have a building where we gather as a church, but it's not really a temple. So we don't have to worry about having collisions of this type, right? Wrong? God's Word gives us one of the remarkable differences between the old covenant and the new covenant in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20...

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

We are no longer under the old covenant; we are under a new covenant. The old covenant required animal sacrifices at a temple building; the new covenant requires us to be none other than living sacrifices...

Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

Each and every day we are confronted with a collision of the purpose of heaven and earth! What you do with your body, what you do with your life really does matter. It matters to Jesus. And the beautiful thing is that since The Holy Spirit of God dwells within you, you have the power available to make choices according to His divine purposes! If you will let Him, He will guide you in all of your ways. The collisions of heaven and earth in Jesus' journey to the cross were many. After this collision of purpose, those in power questioned Jesus’ authority. Jesus responded by pouring out His heart with multiple spiritual lessons. He knew the time of His crucifixion was fast approaching so it was as if He was trying to share as much truth as He could with all who would listen!

His teaching led to another collision.

A Collision of Motives  

Matthew 26:1-5 When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him. “But not during the Feast,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.”

Wow! Jesus knew what was coming! And yet He went to Jerusalem anyway! Why? It all has to do with His motives. John 12:27-33...

John 12:27-33 “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”

The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

Jesus' motive was to bring Glory to God by drawing human beings back into a personal relationship with The Father! The religious leaders of the day were motivated by selfish ambition, and a desire for power that would lead them to murder the very Messiah their prophets had told them would someday be sent to save them! We see as Matthew's narrative continues. Matthew 26:6ff

There were so many collisions of motives!

Matthew 26:6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked.

“This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.  When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

The disciples even struggled with keeping their motivation pure and focused on God! What they said about caring for the poor was not a bad thing, but Jesus knew the motivation. John's gospel names the disciple who questioned this act as Judas, and the next few verses give us insight into his motivation...

Matthew 26:14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot —went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

Judas had seen so much! He had walked with Jesus and witnessed the miracles and heard the teachings of Christ first hand! Jesus considered him a friend, but Judas allowed the temptation of power, money and personal advancement to consume him and take him down a terrible path. A path of betrayal and then the tragic decision to end his own life, something that is never God's will. God's desire is always to redeem and reconcile the individual no matter what they're guilty of! So how does this issue of motives relate to you and me? God wants us to be motivated by a desire to love God and others above ourselves! Only then will we truly experience the amazing life God desires for us to live! If self is your main most motive in life, you will self-destruct!

It's not a matter of if you will self-destruct but when! When God's will for you collides with your own desires, plans and motives, here's what you need to do! Quickly take up your Cross and crucify the old ways and submit your life and desires to God.

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

Do you know who in this story understood this concept better than any of the disciples? Yes, the woman who poured out the ointment on Jesus. The value of this ointment was around a year’s wages. This was probably her life savings! And what was her motive? What did she stand to gain? Well, let me just say this, if her motive had been evil, Jesus would have certainly known and pointed it out! But He didn't. He said she had done a beautiful thing and had actually anointed His body for burial and that her story would be told in the whole world in memory of her act of kindness! What will you be remembered by? A life of selfish, it's all about me, myself and I, or a life of living for and loving others more than self?

What happened next highlights the stark contrast between the way Judas would be remembered and the way Jesus would be remembered. Matthew 26:17-30...

A Collision of Outcomes  

Matthew 26:17-25 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’ ”So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely not I, Lord? Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “Yes, it is you.”

And that, my friends, is how Judas is remembered to this very day! And his outcome was so tragic! The one who betrayed his friend, the one who sold Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver, and the one who allowed self-motivation to destroy his life.

But Jesus, on the other hand, was motivated by a love for others and would sacrifice His own life so others could be forgiven and live.

And what was the outcome for Jesus? Hebrews 2:9-10

Hebrews 2:9-10 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.

That sacrifice was made for you! And if you have accepted by faith what Jesus did for you on the Cross and have called upon Him for forgiveness and mercy, then you are a child of God! You have been cleansed of your guilt! The blood of Christ has washed your sins away! You are a new creature, old things have passed away and all things have become new! And because of your decision to follow Christ and accept the love of God that comes through Him, your life is saved! Not just for heaven someday, but your earthly life is no longer lived in the world of false, fake and phony, because you have been given a new purpose, and a new motivation! 

Today we remember the broken Body of Christ and shed Blood of Christ that makes our new life possible.

So if you would, take your cup and remove the bread. Just pull the small cellophane wrapper off the very top! Hold it in your hand as I read the next part of our passage...

Matthew 26:6 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

As we eat this bread we remember the collision of heaven and earth that caused Jesus to be beaten and His flesh to be torn, in order that we might live. By His stripes we are healed! Eat and remember! Now take the cup. Remove the cover and prepare to remember His shed blood.

Matthew 26:7-29 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Let's take this cup and remember that when Jesus poured out His Blood, He was pouring out His perfect life in order to cover our imperfections and sins. He was paying a debt He didn't owe, because we owed a debt we couldn't pay. Drink the cup and remember!

When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Before we sing, we're going to witness a real life picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. We're going to witness an outward testimony of an inward transformation. We have someone who has made the decision to follow Christ and to accept what He did for them on the cross as their payment for sin. They will paint this picture by following the Lord in Baptism!

Baptism, and then invitation!