New Start

Celebrating Easter Sunday service at Journey Church

James Greer
Apr 15, 2017    24m
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In this Easter Sunday sermon Pastor James Greer speaks about the forgiveness of sins. He explains that this promised to us from the death of Jesus on the cross, and his subsequent resurrection. Video recorded at Pineville, Louisiana.

Transcription
messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

James Greer: 00:03 Good morning Journey Church! Happy Easter, man. Hey, have y'all been wondering what this is for? I love it. I've been wanting to do this 30 years. You walk out. I am going to shock the goodness out of you. Be careful. I wouldn't be sneaking out early and I wouldn't be going out. And then, I’ve always want to be doing this. I've never done this on baptism. I did early service and late service. Wasn't it cool to baptize and dunk them twice? I've always wanted to do that, and you know, that's my granddaughter's boyfriend, so I wanted to make sure he was clean. Besides that, it was fun. You know what? Easter is all about how God took what looked like the worst mess up in the world and turned it into the greatest miracle in the world.

James Greer: 00:56 I'm going to tell you. Next Sunday you want to be here because we start our new series, and its "How to go from a Mess to a Miracle." That's how God took individuals that really messed up their lives and turned it around to a miracle. In fact, hey, I got the title of next week's message. Y'all want to hear it? "How to go from cussing to Christ." And I know our congregation, so a bunch of us need to be there. Amen? So be here next Sunday. Okay.

James Greer: 01:16 But you know, most of the time before I was coming to church or before I came to church and even when I was in church, I never felt like I could be good enough. I never thought I was going to be a good enough pastor, a good enough parent, good enough employer, good enough employee. I just never felt like I could be good enough. And the truth was I can relax because I don't have to be good enough. In fact, I want you to know something about salvation that's really important. Salvation is not achieved; it's simply received. That's so important because if you're not careful, you're always try to work [inaudible] think you'll mess up. Oh I'm so sorry.

James Greer: 01:52 But listen, if, if we could have achieved it, Jesus Christ wouldn't have had to go to the cross and die and rise on the third day. So remember that salvation is not achieved. It is received. And so since we all mess up and since it's Easter, I want to talk about not only how to go from a miracle, but how to have a new day in your life because on new start, a new beginning. In fact, in Matthew 28:1, it kind of gives us a start. You know Easter.....we should really have started on Friday. They call it Good Friday, but really on Friday, Jesus was on the cross. Friday, Jesus mother, I'm sure was, was weeping and crying. Friday disciples thought they had been discouraged and defeated.

James Greer: 02:35 But then Saturday came. Saturday was dark, dreary, and he was in a grave. What I think about Saturday is there some people that come every single Sunday, and especially if you're here today and you're living like it's still Saturday. But see, today's not Saturday, thank God today is Sunday. Amen? And so what happened Sunday morning was He's not dead, but He's alive. Amen? So in Matthew 28:1 it says early on Sunday morning as a new day was dawning, (I want it to be a new day in your life), Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, they went to the tomb. They came looking for Jesus Christ who was being crucified (but thank God for women and everybody said, amen). Guys, if you're sitting next to your wife and you didn't say Amen, you're dead. But it was more than that. Do you understand that women were the last ones at the cross and they were the first ones at the tomb?

James Greer: 03:33 Jesus was a great liberator for women. They had a special relationship with Him. See, these women, they loved Him and thought he had been crucified, and they came to the tomb. But thank God he was gone. They came looking for Jesus instead of to Jesus. See, and they came looking for Jesus in an empty grave instead of to Jesus. See, Jesus was no longer in the grave. He had already risen. He had already gone before them. He had already met every single need in your life. When you understand you don't have to just look for Jesus, you can look to Jesus, that He's gone ahead of you and taken care of every need in your life.

James Greer: 04:08 Matthew 28:2, and suddenly there's a great earthquake for an Angel of the Lord. What was the Angel of? The Lord. The reason I want you to know is an angel Lord is because when you hear it, when you read the Angel of Lord, it means there's a message sent by God. They're messengers of God, and they were saying, hey, there's a message from God for me and for you. And the Angel of the Lord, they came down from heaven, they roll away the stone and they sat on it. Can I tell you something? It was not because angel was tired. They don't get tired. It was because it was a sign of hey it's over. It's finished. It's victory. In fact, that's what he's saying. Hey, it's finished. In fact, in John 19:30 when Jesus was on the cross, he said, it is finished, and he gave up the spirit. If you don't know it, they didn't take Jesus' life, He gave His life for me and you. Then He said, it is finished.

James Greer: 04:58 So, let me ask you, number one, what does it mean when it says it is finished? What it means is all our sins are paid for. It means my past sins are paid for. Amen? My present sins are paid for. Amen? And my future sins are paid for. So, when He said it is finished, all my sins are finished and paid for. Amen? Listen, you no longer have to live in guilt, sin, unforgiveness, shame, without hope, condemnation, or fear because it is finished.

James Greer: 05:27 There's nothing you can do to make God love you anymore. There's nothing you can do to make God love you any less. You know if you're not careful, even as Christians even knowing what I'm telling you, there's many times we live in condemnation because of something we did or something we said, but you know when Jesus raised from the dead, he said it is finished.

James Greer: 05:50 Romans 8, He said there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ. Why? Because it is finished. Some people live in shame, but he nailed the shame to the cross. Some people, you know, I hope you haven't done it or should not ever do it, but there's people in here that has committed adultery. We shouldn't do that. In Jesus' Day, there was a woman that was caught in adultery. The self-righteous priest hypocrites brought her to Jesus and they said, man, we, we caught this woman in adultery. Have you ever wondered what were those priests doing wherever she was committing adultery? Anyway, that's another story. What happened to the guy that was with her? I guess that's another story. But anyway, they brought this woman to Jesus and said we caught this woman in adultery and what the law says we should stone her, what do you say? And He said, he that has not sinned, let him cast the first stone. And they left, and He looked at her and said, go and sin no more. He said, you just found somebody. You no longer have to live like you used to live. You don't have to sin like you used to. Go and sin no more. He said, because it is finished.

James Greer: 06:53 Maybe you've been married before. Maybe you've been married once. Maybe you've been married twice, maybe been married three times. Maybe you've been married four times. Maybe you've been married five times. Here's some free counsel from your pastor. If you've been married five times, part of the problem is you.

James Greer: 07:21 But there was this woman at the well and she came and she met Jesus and Jesus told her, hey, if you take this water, you'll never thirst again. And she said, well, you know, give me that water. And they had this conversation. He said, well, I'll tell you what, go get your husband and bring him back. And she said, well, I don't have one. So he said (and I'm paraphrasing), he said no joke. He said, you've had five and you're living with lucky number six. Now he was very lucky. Amen? But what happened was she really became the Jesus Christ, and he became the living water in her life. She went back and told the whole town, you come, and I found the Christ. You know what she said? She found something that one man, one husband, all these men could not do, but she said she found one man that completed her and his name with Jesus. So see what I want you to know, no matter what your past is, it is finished! Amen?

James Greer: 08:14 Maybe you feel alone; maybe you feel lonely, but let me tell you what you might be alone. Listen, but after Christ raised from the dead, you never have to be lonely again because He tells us in Hebrews 13:5, He said, I'll never leave you or forsake you. So, he'll always be there with you. It is finished. You're never alone again. He lived a sinless life and He died for me and you. So it is finished. You can't achieve it, but you can receive it. Isn't it great to know? After a while, at the end of the service, I'll give an invitation and know that I can't achieve it, but I can actually receive it.

James Greer: 08:49 And number two, because it's finished, there's a new beginning for each one of us. Listen to this: Everything in our past can be forgiven because it's finished. In other words, if you come to Jesus Christ this morning and you put your sins under the blood of Jesus Christ, your past is finished. But you know what's better than that? Your future is now furnished. So your past is finished and everything you ever needed in the future is furnished. Philippians 4:19 says, I'll supply all your needs according to His riches in glory. Amen? So now you can come to Jesus Christ. You can come to church. If you let God have his finished work in Christ, you've got a new day coming in your life.

James Greer: 09:33 Alright, Matthew 28:1-3. Let me tell you what happened. It was the Sabbath first day of the week. At dawn Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, they came to see the tomb. And behold there was a great earthquake. The Angel of the Lord descended from Heaven, came and rolled the stone away and sat on it. Verse 3, his face shone like lightening. Who's? The messenger from God, and his clothing was bright and white.

James Greer: 10:02 See, they came believing that they were going to find some dark, dreary grave. Instead they found this bright light and a message from God. The reason I tell you, the light always overcomes darkness. See Jesus' light in the world. I don't care what you're going through, the darkest times in your life, that's when Jesus wants to bring light to your life.

James Greer: 10:26 Let me give you some verses. Matthew 4:16 says, people sat in darkness. See without Christ, you're in darkness. Now they've seen a great light. That's Christ. Luke 1:79 says, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. See, without Jesus Christ, you're in the shadow of death and you're in darkness. But He said also to guide our feet into the ways of peace. Jesus said, I rose from the grave to give you light in darkness and to guide your feet into peace. He said I want to give you light, plus peace, equals joy like you've never had before in your entire life.

James Greer: 10:59 John 1:5 puts it this way, and the light shines in darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it. So see, when light comes into the darkest area of your life, light comes into the darkest area of your life. Darkness has to leave every single time. You Ready? I'm gonna give you an illustration on how you can go from darkness to light. See, that's the whole thing. That's what it's about, to go from darkness to light. So He does not want you to live in darkness. He wants you to live in light. Amen?

James Greer: 11:37 And then John 8:12 says, that Jesus spoke to Journey Church saying, I am the light of the world. Who is the light of the world? Jesus! And He said he who follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall have light and His light. In other words, what I want to do is teach you the simplest way this morning that every single person here can have the light of Jesus Christ living in them, guiding them, and directing them for the rest of their life. I want to tell you how you can have the light that draws out the darkest areas of your life. I want to tell you how you can have the light where you never have to be alone again. You might be alone, but you never had to be lonely.

James Greer: 12:08 In the beginning there was Adam and Eve. Green represents the Garden of Eden. So, it in the Garden of Eden, there was no sin. Amen. But you know what happened? They sinned. And since then, I've sinned, you've sinned, we've all sinned. [unintelligible]

James Greer: 12:34 See when you sin that darkness separates you from God. But let me tell you, God doesn't want you to live in darkness, does He? So listen, you've got to be here that you've got to know, that you've sinned in your life. The green represents the Garden of Eden. This darkness represents sin that separates you from God. This darkness represents the way you're trying to live your life without Christ, but God loves you so much that He sent his son, Jesus Christ (which we're celebrating for Easter), and He died on the cross and He shed His blood. And this red represents the blood of Jesus Christ, Amen? So listen, if you know that you've sinned, you believe that Jesus died for your sins and you invite him into your heart to forgive you of your sin, this white represents your white as snow. This white represents your widest snow. Amen?

James Greer: 13:10 And then not only do you know that you've sinned, not only do you believe that Jesus saved you from sin, not only does this white cleanse you from your sin, but one day guess where you're going? You're going to spend eternity in Heaven. And that gold represents Heaven, and that's what God wants for every one of us. He doesn't want you to live here. He wants you to spend an eternity in Heaven. Don't we have a great God? Amen.

James Greer: 13:41 There's no way anybody has to leave today in darkness. There's no way anybody has to leave today with guilt in their past and their sins. You can radically change your life if you want to. So what they said is they shone like light and His clothes were brilliant white. And the guards shook with fear when they saw the angel and they felt fainted like they were dead. I think it's something that they had sent angels, I mean guards, to guard the tomb. But when Jesus Christ was ready for it to be opened, He sent a messenger from God and they fell and fainted like they were dead. Can I tell you something? When you're doing what God's called you do, you don't have to worry about what anybody else is doing. He always takes care of it, so don't worry about that.

James Greer: 14:24 And then the angel spoke to the women. There he goes again. He said, women, don't be afraid. Can I tell you something about fear? When light comes into your life, fear is finished. You Ready? And faith is furnished. If you want it, you no longer have to fear. Every time you fear in your life from now, you've got the light that always overcomes darkness and He said, the fear is faith and faith is first. Whatever you're going through in your life, and then He said, I know who you're looking for...him who was crucified.

James Greer: 14:57 See they came thinking that the worst thing in history had ever happened. They came to get the experience of the greatest miracle that ever was. But see what happens if you're not careful. You had this mess in your life and you keep looking for Jesus instead of to Jesus.

James Greer: 15:13 See when you keep looking for Jesus, he's not in the grave anymore. But when you get to looking to Jesus, you're talking to the resurrection Jesus, and that's the Jesus that takes your mess up, turns it into a message and then to a miracle, and that's what He wants. And then in Verse 6 he said listen, but he isn't here. Thank God. For he has come back to life again.

James Greer: 15:32 When I thought about he'd come back to life again, I think about all the people that are living like they're just dead almost. It's like there's no future, no life, no hope. Did you know that Jesus died for you, so you didn't have to live like that? He said, listen, Jesus isn't dead but he's alive. He said, He came back to life. Some of y'all today need to come back to life. Some of y'all today need to know that your past is forgiven. You need to come back to life. Some of y'all today need to know God's already gotten your future taken care of.

James Greer: 16:07 So he said, He's come back to life just like He said He would. He said, then you come and see his body where we had laid him. He said, listen, I got a message for you and I want you to come and see what had happened. I want you to see what's going. I want you to know that Jesus not only saved you from something, but he saved you to something. He said, I've got a plan for you. I've got a purpose for you. Not only has He risen from the grave, now I've got something for you to do. Then He said, and now you go quickly, and you tell the Disciples that He has risen from the dead. What has he done? He's risen from the dead and that you go to Galilee and meet Him there, and that is the message to them. He said, listen, I got a message for Y'all ladies that I'm not dead, I'm alive. I want you to know that it's a new day. I want you to know the ones that were most discouraged once thought they were defeated. I want you to know they really weren't defeated. They actually didn't understand they were watching the greatest miracle in their life take place. And sometimes you can't have a miracle unless you got this great mess in your life. Well, listen, I don't care how big the mess is, He can turn it into a miracle.

James Greer: 17:08 [Inaudible] the women again. Hey women, y'all are just all over this thing. Amen? I don't know where the men were. I really do. Them suckers ran. Anyway, the men ran from the tomb. They were badly frightened but listen, but they're also filled with joy and they rushed to find the Disciples to give them the message. They had just got a message that Jesus wasn't dead, that He was alive, and they were running to tell the disciples. They had some fear because everything they had gone through, but it was a godly fear. It was a fear that, hey, you can have fear. I fear that I'm going to miss out on all that God has for me, and they were running with fear and were filled with joy.

James Greer: 17:50 Can I tell you something? I don't care who you are. I don't care what you've done. When you understand that your past is finished and forgiven. It's totally forgiven on the blood, Jesus Christ and your future is totally furnished because of Christ. You should be full of joy just like these women were because He saved us from something to something. He saved us from Hell to Heaven. He saved us from bondage to freedom. He saved us from death to life. He saved us from fear to faith and what he's trying to say, and as we get to the end, he says, I want you to know it's finished your past, your future is furnished that God's going ahead of you and you got God's favor to meet every single need you'll ever have in your life. Verse Nine says as they were running, suddenly Jesus was there in front of them. Where was Jesus? In front of them? You know what? That's so important because there's going to be a time in your life that you feel like running from Jesus.

James Greer: 18:50 You know, I quit preaching one time for a while. I was going to run from Jesus. I was mad at God and I was going to run from Him and didn't want anything to do with preaching anymore. Didn't want anything to do with church anymore. I just didn't want anything. We had a death in our life, had a problem at church, had a problem at work, have problems all over, and I just said, God, I am finished with you.

James Greer: 19:11 Yeah, it's a terrible place to live. It's a horrible place to live because you go from anger to hurt, to blame. We blame people where we don't have to accept our responsibility. Then you feel sorry for yourself and then you isolate yourself. Can I tell you, you better be careful when you isolate yourself because things go through your mind that you never dreamed you would think of? So what you gotta do is you've got to kind of start pushing through and you say, this is not the end. God's got more for me, and once you find out is this, if you're here and you've been running from God, can I tell you something? Who are you going to run to?

James Greer: 19:56 The greatest thing I ever did is turn back and run to God, but the real truth, God never left me. God was always out in front of me. I can remember when y'all lost your son, Tom and Susan sitting right there. I couldn't think of anything to say other than don't do what I did. Don't try to run from God and isolate yourself instead of running back to God and let God take the greatest hurts and the greatest sorrows in your life and turn it around and let it be a message for your life. So see, I don't know what you're going through. You don't know what I've been through. But I know Christ knows everything and I know that He said that He was out in front of them and I know that He's out in front of you. That's why it's called the Good Shepherd. He's already there and making a way and making a path. He's protecting you and He's providing for you, and what we gotta do more than anything else is just line up behind Him. So as they did that it kind of came [unintelligible] morning, and Jesus walked in.

James Greer: 20:51 He said they fell on the ground before Him holding His feet and worshipping Him. Jesus said unto him again, don't be afraid. Do
you realize there's a message here about fear that Jesus said, I'm not dead? Death couldn't keep me, and the devil couldn't defeat me. You don't have to fear anymore.

James Greer: 21:07 You know what he said? He said don't be afraid. He says, fear is finished. Now give you faith. You go tell your brothers. That was the message. The Easter story is Jesus died for our sins. Went to a grave and rose on the third day to forgive us, and He said, I got a message after that for every single person to go tell their brethren. Go tell their loved ones. What are you gonna go tell them? You're gonna tell them that God can Go tell that God can turn the darkest areas of your life. He can bring light.

James Greer: 21:38 So some of y'all (in just a minute), you've got dark areas in your life and He wants to bring light into those areas. So you just say in a minute when I give the invitation, you just come to the front. Some of y'all need to say, Hey, my past is finished. My past is forgiven. God's furnished my future. I've never seen a time in history where so many Christians and non-Christians are allowing the past to define their future. Instead of what Christ says about you, you're listening to the devil. So some of you here in just a minute, listen, I'm going to give an invitation and you're going to have to say today I'm nailing it down. My past is finished. You know, He said that if we confess our sins, He's faithful, and [unintelligible] all our sins, not some of the sins - all of them.

James Greer: 22:18 So today, if you've been letting your past defeat you, you just come to the altar and you said, Hey God, today you went to the cross. I'm celebrating Easter. My past is finished. You paid the price. I'm forgiven. I'm going to have a brand-new life. I've got a brand-new start and then you get up and you quit worrying because last I want you remember that God's already gone before you. He's already made a way for every need in your life.

James Greer: 22:48 See the greatest problem we do is we keep trying to control everything instead of give up control to Him. And so as you stand, I'm going to pray with you and I'm gonna pray for you. I'm afraid that not one person goes home the same way that they came. God as we bow our heads and close our eyes, God, those that are here today, that they're not sure they'd go to Heaven, I pray, God, that that simple illustration about they know they've sinned and sin separated them from God, that God does not want them separated; and they just want to believe that Christ came and then shed His blood to forgive them of their sins, and one day they can go to Heaven.

James Greer: 23:24 Deuteronomy 31:8 says, and the Lord himself will go before you. He'll be with you. He'll never leave you nor forsake you. You don't have to be afraid. You don't have to be discouraged. So what's gonna happen is say God what would you have me do? He said, listen. God said, I'm going to go before you. I'm going to be with you. I'm never going to leave you. You don't have to be discouraged because I am there with you. So now I don't know what it is God's calling you to do, but if you would begin to ask God right now, God, what would you have me to do? Would you have me put my past behind? Would you have me accept the Savior on Easter that died for my sins and make sure I'm going to Heaven?

James Greer: 24:02 Maybe you've never followed through with a public baptism and today's the day that you're going to commit to doing that. Maybe you've been worried about your future and today you're gonna say hey God, I'm going to just try to follow you. You're going before me and the Bible says, all those are labored and heavy laden, He said come unto me, and I'll give you rest. Some of you just need to come to the altar as an act of saying, Hey, I'm giving my burdens to Him. Whatever God's called you to do, I pray that you'd have His will and His way in your life this morning. It's in Christ's name I pray, Amen.


Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.
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Journey Church
2900 Donahue Ferry Rd
Pineville, Louisiana 71360
318-640-1273