Title: When Heaven and Earth Collide: Collisions of the Soul

Community Group Discussion Guide 

1. Peter had a collision of good intentions and actual practice when his faith collided with his fear. Have you ever faced such a collision? Discuss the collision and how you dealt with it.

Matthew 26:69-75 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said. But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.” He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”
After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away.” Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed.
Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

2. Other collisions discussed in this message had similarities. Like the collision of selfless and selfish, and the collision of the spirit and the flesh. Discuss the similarities and how you've dealt with these issues in your own life. 

Romans 7:21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

3. There were many other collisions of the soul mentioned in this message. Look back over the notes and pick one that stood out to you and why?

A collision of the peaceful ways of Jesus and the violent ways of men!

A collision of love's restraint and hate's cruelty!

A collision of choice and consequence! (do you think about consequences before you make decisions?)

A collision of reality and fantasy!

A collision of God's way and man's way!

A collision of the facts and 
the attempted cover up!

 

Full Sermon Notes

When Heaven and Earth Collide: Collisions of the Soul
Matthew 26:31-28:20

"Our Savior displayed on a criminal’s cross
Darkness rejoiced as though Heaven had lost
But then Jesus arose with our freedom in hand, That’s when death was arrested and my life began" (Music at Northpoint)

Heaven and Earth Collided at the Cross, and Heaven won! Today we celebrate that win! That win can change your life but only if you let it! You see, heaven and earth collide on a daily basis in the souls of human beings all over the world. The outcome of those collisions depends on the choices you make when those collisions occur.

God made you in His image and He has given you freedom to choose how you will respond when the values of heaven and earth collide in your life. These are collisions of the soul. Today we will look at the soul collisions that happened before the Cross, at the Cross and after the Cross. Those collisions and the resulting decisions had eternal impact! The same is true for you and me. Let's pray!

"Father God, how can we even begin to say thank You for Your willingness to create us in the first place. How can we say thank you for Your willingness to allow Your One and Only Son to leave heaven even though You knew He was on a collision course with the cruelty of a cross. You knew His holiness would collide with our wickedness and He would be killed! But You knew there was no other way!

No other way for us to have any chance at all of being forgiven, redeemed, and reformed into the beautiful image of Your Son Jesus! Why You would love us so much is a mystery! Teach us how to respond when Heaven and Earth collide in our lives. Teach us to make choices that will bring honor and glory to You, the lover of our soul! In Jesus Name I pray and believe. Amen!"

Matthew 26:31-35 Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: “ ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.

A collision of good intentions and actual practice!

Does this collision ever happen in your life? Ask God to show you the difference between your good intentions and your actual practice!

Matthew 26:36-39 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

A collision of selfless and selfish!

Jesus' soul was troubled and overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death! He simply asked them to keep watch with Him for one hour! All He wanted from His closest friends was their loving support and encouragement. He wasn't asking them to be on the lookout for the enemy, He knew what was coming and He wasn't going to run or hide from His task.

But He was human and self-preservation is a natural part of being human, so there was a collision in His soul. Going about a stone's throw away He showed His selfless heart by submitting to the will of the Father, allowing Himself to become the sacrifice to save not only His disciples, but you and me! When selfish and selfless collide in your life, which one wins?

Matthew 26:40-46 When Jesus returned to His disciples which of these two had won with them? Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken
away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

A collision of the spirit and the flesh!

Ever face this collision? Your spirit is willing but your flesh is weak? "I want to be selfless! I want to be more like Jesus! I want to overcome the selfish nature that seems to take control of me, saying things and doing things I am not proud of! But how do I do this? Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit so you can have His power to overcome the temptations which collide with the things you know you shouldn't do and the things that you know you should do! This collision happens to all of us and all of us are weak in the flesh, but we can be made strong in His Spirit!

Matthew 26:47-56 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs,sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.
Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?
But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
At that time Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

A collision of the peaceful ways of Jesus and the violent ways of men!

Jesus had come to teach the world of peace! While He knew that His coming would not bring peace to the world, but a sword that would divide, He had non-the-less come to teach peace by the very way He would react to the ones who would falsely accuse Him, mock Him, beat Him and murder Him. When you are tempted to react in anger and violence, remember the passion of the Christ!

Matthew 26:57-68 Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome. The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death.
But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’” Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?”
But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.
What do you think?” “He is worthy of death,” they answered.
Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him
and said, “Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you?”

A collision of love's restraint and hate's cruelty!

I'm amazed at the loving restraint Jesus had while being falsely accused, interrogated, spit in the face, struck and slapped with fist, and mocked. What restrained Him? His love for the very people who were doing these things. Just a few days before, on His way to Jerusalem He had said this...

Luke 19:41-42 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it
and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.

Jesus' love for the people and His desire to forgive them and to save them was His soul's desire, so His love restrained Him! On the other hand, the hatred and cruelty of those who had rejected Him was appalling. I think, "how can people can be so cruel?" And then God reminds me of the times I've failed to love as Christ loved! I'm reminded of the times I've said or done cruel things. "Father, please forgive me and change me to the very core of my being!"

Matthew 26:69-75 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said. But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.” He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”
After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away.” Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed.
Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

A collision of faith and fear!

Peter at least had the courage to go to the place where they were interrogating Jesus. The others were no where to be found. But fear overcame his faith. This had happened to him before when he had stepped out of the boat to walk on the water, and then took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink. Jesus reached out and saved him and would do it yet again. But for now, Peter wept bitterly.

Do you and I not know this struggle? Have we not faced a collision of faith and fear? Yes we have and it comes often. Like Peter, we talk about our faith, our commitment, our resolve, our faithfulness to Him, but then comes the financial crisis, family crisis, the physical health crisis, the mental health crisis, the somebody at work, or school, or church, did me wrong crisis and our faith fades.

If God doesn't miraculously fix it, heal it, get me out of it, and make everything comfortable, we get scared! We may even deny our faith! But God never promised to always take us out of the storm, but to calm us in the storm! He never said this life would be a life of ease, but He did promise a life lived in pursuit of His will would be a life filled with meaning and purpose and His continued presence.
What if Jesus had prayed like us? "Bless me today Father, and save me from trials, struggles, hardships, sickness or pain! Keep humiliation and persecution far from me!"

Jesus didn't ask for pain and suffering, or the cross, but He did ask for The Father's will to be done. So maybe our prayer should be "Lord give me a faith that overcomes fear in any and every circumstance and if a hardship or a difficulty in my life would help me accomplish Your will and purpose for my life today, then give me Your strength to get through the trial and celebrate Your victory!"

And here's the important thing to remember. God's will is always the best and the ultimate in the end! It may seem counterintuitive to pray for God's will to be done, rather than spelling out for God exactly what you want, but I promise you if you seek His will and follow His will, in the end you will be smiling, rejoicing and victorious! Jesus is our example!

Matthew 27:1-10 Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor. When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”
So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

A collision of choice and consequence!

The religious leaders had God-given choices, Judas had choices. They all had consequences! We know from Scripture that some of the religious leaders had a change of heart and actually became followers of Jesus. One of them actually donated the tomb for Jesus to buried in. And we know from Scripture that Peter repented of each of his denials.

But tragically, Judas, after realizing he had made a tragic choice, made another tragic choice. When choice and consequence collide in your life, I beg you, I plead with you, no matter what kind of mistakes you've made, take them to the Lord in prayer. He will forgive you and He will deliver you! Pray and ask Him to make good come out of the bad and He will! Surrender to His will and see what glorious things happen even through the difficult times! Study God's Word and see what Peter went on to become and do! It's amazing!

Matthew 27:11-15 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “Yes, it is as you say,”
Jesus replied. When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor. Now it was the governor’s custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd.

The collision of choices and consequences continues...

Matthew 27:16-19 At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him. While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I
have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”

Was she having a collision of the soul? Yes she was and her husband was having one as well.

Matthew 27:20-25 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered. “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!”
“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!”

A collision of reality and fantasy!

The reality was that an innocent man was being condemned to death by crucifixion. The fantasy was Pilot thinking he could wash his hands in water and be absolved of responsibility! The reality was there were parents who had lost their minds and were willing to put that kind of guilt on their children, and the fantasy was they thought they were doing a righteous thing because their religious leaders had told them to do it! And tragically there are still plenty of people in the world who will blindly follow religious leaders and commit un-godly atrocities in the name of God!

Let me just tell you this. Any religious leader who wants you to blindly follow them and who does not want to be questioned is dangerous. You can take anything I say and question it deeply and often and if you find that what I'm preaching doesn't line up with the Bible, then throw what I'm saying in the dumpster out back and haul it off, because it's no good!

Matthew 27:26-44 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull).
There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

A collision of God's way and man's way!

God's way of salvation was for Christ, who lived a perfect life, to give His life as a perfect sacrifice to save all who would believe upon Him. The people wanted Jesus to perform a physical miracle and prove to them He was the Messiah by coming off the cross. Here's the irony...

If Jesus had come down from the cross, even if they believed in Him He wouldn't be able to save them because there would have been no sacrifice to cover their sin. They would still be separated from God. And it would have required zero faith and actually would have taken away the very choice God wanted them to have. You see, placing your faith in what Jesus did on the cross is the way you choose!

Matthew 27:45-46 From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” —which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

This statement comes from Psalm 22 which is the Old Testament prophecy that foretold the Crucifixion of Jesus. It spoke of the mocking, the insults, the piercing of His hands and feet, the dividing of the garments and gambling for them, mentions the sword, and even says this...

Psalm 22:27-28 All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: “He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”

You see, Jesus wasn't saying that His Father had turned His back on Him, although, we know the Father did look away when Jesus, who knew no sin became sin for us. Jesus was trying to get the religious leaders to open their eyes and see the fulfillment of the prophecy right before their very eyes. Jesus wanted them to be saved! That was His heart through it all!! And not just the Jews, but the Gentiles as well...

Matthew 27:47-53 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.
The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

Would you say that was a literal collision of heaven and earth? And why did God allow that to happen? I'll never claim to fully understand the cataclysmic collision that happened between heaven and earth that day. The spiritual collisions and the literal collisions! But listen to the next verse...

Matthew 27:54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

The Romans didn't have the understanding or the history of the prophets in their culture, so I believe God did give them a little extra, tangible assistance to believe. You see, if an earthquake had happened with any other crucifixion, they would have just quipped, "Isn't that strange how we had an earthquake today when we were crucifying the criminals!" I mean natural disasters happen all the time. But this was different for them. Why? How many times had they nailed someone to a cross who didn't fight to stop them. How many times do you think they ever witnessed one of the men they nailed to a cross pray for their forgiveness? Never! This man was different and they knew it, and it changed their lives! They became believers. "Surely He was the Son of God!"

Matthew 27:55-28:15 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard. After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.
There you will see him.’Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely
circulated among the Jews to this very day.

A collision of the facts and
the attempted cover up!

The attempted cover up of the facts of the resurrection has never ended! However, the facts cannot be covered up because of the never-ending testimony of those who experienced the reality, the truth, and the power of the resurrection first hand.

And the facts of the resurrection can never be destroyed because they continue to transform and breath new life into those who choose to have faith and trust in the sacrifice Jesus made and the victory that sacrifice has given us over death and the grave. You see, people sometimes die for a lie, but they believe it to be the truth. If they thought it was a lie, they would quickly recant at the point of death.

So if the disciples had really hidden the body of Jesus, when threatened with their own death or the persecution of their families they would have surely said, "Wait, I'll show you where the body is!" But they didn't. They very boldly stood by their testimonies and preached and shared their testimonies with great passion and persistence! Through hardships and persecutions they continued!

At first, they questioned, and even doubted their very eyes! Is this real? Could this really be Jesus? But then Jesus spoke to them before ascending back to heaven… Listen because it's why we are here today and why we do everything we do at Northshore Church...

Matthew 28:16-20 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Today there are collisions of the soul happening in this very room. 
Some of you have been confronted with the truth of Jesus Christ and His sacrificial love for you for the first time. Some of you for yet another time, and there is a collision of choice and consequence happening.

If you will give Jesus a chance, even if you have doubts and questions, He will begin to show you the reality of the resurrection and it's power to change a life, your life. As I said earlier, I'm not offering to you an easy believeism that will make all your problems go away and make you materially wealthy, and you'll never get sick or face difficulties ever again, but what God promises you is this...

You will find forgiveness, mercy, love, purpose, meaning, hope, and the very presence of God by way of His Holy Spirit to walk through any and every circumstance this world could ever throw your way!
That's the miracle of the resurrection for you and me in 2016!! Let's pray!