Sacrosanct Gospel

a blog by Tim Melton…

Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

Satisfied in Christ – an Easter sermon by Tim Melton

Posted by Tim Melton on April 11, 2012

Isaiah 53:11, Matthew 11:28-29 – A sermon preached by Tim Melton, April 8, Easter Sunday at Surfside PCA Church, Myrtle Beach, SC

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He is Risen!

Posted by Tim Melton on April 8, 2012

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.  (Isaiah 60:1)

He is Risen!

He is Risen indeed!

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An Easter Meditation – John 2:13-19

Posted by Tim Melton on April 23, 2011

You Will Tear It Down, But I Will Raise it Up Again
(I wrote this meditation on John 2:13-19 for Surfside PCA’s
Maundy Thursday Service this past week)

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
You will tear it down, but I will raise it up again.


When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here!
How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”
…Then the Jews demanded of him,
“What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

How do we understand these words of Jesus?  What does He mean,
“Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

You will tear it down, but I will raise it up again.”

 To understand, we have go back to that ancient Garden, the Garden of Paradise, the very home of God, where the Lord dwelt together with Adam and Eve in peace and harmony.  This is the setting of our original design. This was our home.  Our Temple and God’s Temple. God dwelling with man.  Indeed, all the world was a temple of the Holy Spirit.  All the world was the Holy Place.  All the world was where man reclined himself in the arms of God.  And so we rested safe in Him, delighting in His Love, resting in His Grace, until that fate filled moment.  That moment when the Serpent of old cast doubt in our hearts…and we ate of that forbidden knowledge.  We swallowed darkness.  We kissed the mouth of shame.  And thus we were cast from the bosom of our God, cast away from the Garden, cast away from the Temple, the dwelling place of God. But in Genesis 3:15 is the whisper…”

“You will tear it down, but I will raise it up again.”

And all men after dwelt on the face of the earth in pain, in darkness, and in death.  But then, the Lord appeared to Abraham and a promise came.  A promise of the Garden, A Land, A People.  God would dwell with man once more.  God would not leave us forsaken.  He would not leave us without hope.  Then with the Prophet Moses, the promise grew.  A people specially chosen to dwell with Christ.  A nation of blessed ones received the Garden once more.  And so, coming down from Holy Mountain Sinai, inside these people, inside their mobile city, inside their makeshift camp, inside a tent, deep inside…the Word of God rested within a tiny box.  Here was a tiny swatch of the Garden, a footprint of paradise, here was the Tabernacle. God dwelt with men once more.

“You will tear it down, but I will raise it up again.”

Yet, the Garden had no home.  No permanent place to rest.  So King Solomon, son of David, gave a stationary home to the Garden.  Still a swatch.  Still a patch.  Only a fingerprint of Eden. Only a fingernail of Glory. Yet, this tabernacle of wood and cloth came to rest upon a land of promise, and a cornerstone was laid in Zion, upon the Holy Hill of God.  Glory.  Glory.  Glory.  Bedecked with jewels and gold, this Holy structure blazed in the noon-day sun.  God dwelled among men.  The Temple was established.  The City set on a Hill.  The City of God.  The Garden now stood still and men poured forth from all four corners of the world to get a glimpse of the Holy Wall, around the City, around the Holy Place, around the Holy of Holies, the Word of God kept safe within a tiny box, the Ark of the Covenant, where a tiny patch of Eden housed the Glory of God.

“You will tear it down, but I will raise it up again.”

But just like before, the garden could not last.  The Kings of Israel and Judah sinned against God just like their Grandparents before them.  They bit the fruit of forbidden knowledge.  They swallowed darkness.  They kissed the mouth of shame.  In 786 B.C. the glory of God departed.  Walls: burned.  The Temple: torched.  The tiny box containing the Word of God was torn from the fingers of men.  And just like Adam and Eve before them, the people were cast out of the Garden in Shame, led away in tears.  Led away in chains.

“You have torn it down, but I will raise it up again.”

70 years later a second temple was built again by Zerubbabel.  This time.  No beauty.  No glory.  Just a shell really.  The tiny box of Eden was gone.  Without the Word of God inside the Ark of the Covenant, the temple was as hollow as old woman’s womb.  Like a barren wife, the people of God laid down and wept.  They wept for the Garden.  They wept for the Glory.  The wept for the Word.  They wept, longing to be held once again in the bosom of their God. But a promise came through the Prophet Haggai.  “Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? It seems like nothing to you. But now be strong.  Be strong, for I am with you. I will keep my promise.  My Spirit remains among you.  I will take care of you.  I am with you. Do not fear.  The Desired One of all nations will come to you I will fill this house with His Glory. The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the one before it.”

“You have torn it down, but I will raise it up again.”

Then one night, underneath a Shepherd’s Star, the garden of Eden returned.  Inside a cursed city.  Inside a stable.  Inside a barn.  Lying in a manger.  Wrapped in swaddling clothes.  The Word of God, not in a box, but made one with a little boy.  The Word made flesh dwelt among us.  The tabernacle of God inside a baby’s chest.  The Garden of the Lord resting in a young girls’ arms.  And so He grew, the Word of God, and fulfilled Haggai’s promise.  As the very Glory of God, breezed into the temple and said “This is my Father’s House.  This house belongs to me.” And further he went.  Into the Holy Place, and behind the curtain, into the Holy of Holies.
The Word of God made Flesh said this is my Home.
And so the religious leaders demanded of him,
“What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.”

And they did. They tore the temple down.

They ripped him down.  Down.  Down.  Down. They reviled him.  They dismantled him.
They insulted him. They cursed Him.
They tore that Temple of Flesh and Blood down to the ground.
They Spit on the House of God.
They mocked and jeered the Word of God made flesh.
They stripped Him down in Shame.
They Defiled the Holy Garden.
In Bloody Sorrow, they ripped that Temple down.
And like an angry barren wife, the people of God laid down and wept.
They wept for the Garden.
They wept for the Glory.
The wept for the Word.
They wept…
But not for long.  Not long at all.

Because they did what He said they would do.
But He also did what He said He would do.

For three days later, never more to fall,
Glory came back to the World,
The Garden raised up from the ground,
Sin and Death and Shame were Slain.
The Stone rolled away.  The Curse was Cursed.
All the world became The Holy Place.
And all God’s People became an everlasting Temple of the Holy Spirit.
Because, now and forevermore, yes – Jesus tore it down.

But praise and glory to the living God, Jesus raised it up again.

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Sanctifying Kidney Stones

Posted by Tim Melton on April 5, 2010

Last Wednesday night at Surfside PCA, our church enjoyed a very powerful communion service.  Many of our people, including me, were impacted by the careful contemplation of Christ’s work on the Cross.  The next morning one of our elders, shared his feelings with me in an e-mail.  He said, “Last night was a very special night.  I found myself waking up a lot last night, dwelling on the crucifixion.” Wow. What a powerful statement.

As Easter approached, I began thinking about what my elder had shared with me.  I found myself longing to know Christ in a deeper way.  I began to pray that Christ would help me to identify with him in his sufferings.  I prayed several heartfelt prayers on Thursday and Friday, asking Jesus to help me to appreciate how much he sacrificed in order to provide me with the gift of himself.  As I went to bed Friday night I decided that I would begin fasting on Saturday as one more way to reflect on Christ’s passion.  I also felt that this fast would prepare my heart to preach the 8am service on Easter morning at Surfside Pres.  On Saturday morning I began to work my plan.  I woke up early to pray and think on the scriptures.  That morning, I worked in the yard, then returned to the scriptures to read “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.”  At noon, I worked in the garage, then sat down to read in Matthew, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.” Around 2pm, I went over to the church to shoot hoops by myself – praying and thinking.  I jogged around the church building several times.  Breathing hard and sweating, I sat down and considered Paul’s words from Philippians 3 – my central text for Easter morning’s sermon, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings“. Read the rest of this entry »

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Happy Easter!

Posted by Tim Melton on April 4, 2010

“Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection not in words alone, but in every leaf of springtime.” - Martin Luther

“In the resurrection, Christ has turned all of our sunsets into dawns.”
…………………….. – St. Clement of Alexandria

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.”
…………………….. – The Gospel of St. Matthew 28:1-5

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My God, My God, Why have you Forsaken Me.

Posted by Tim Melton on April 1, 2010

Last evening at Surfside Pres we had a wonderful communion service.  We focused on “The Seven Sayings of Christ from the Cross.”  After each saying was read, a pastor reflected on the meaning of the phrase, then that thought was closed with the leader saying, “We adore you O Christ and bless you.”  The congregation responded, “By your cross, you have redeemed the world.”  I especially focused on the fourth saying of Christ found in Matthew 27:45-46. This is where Christ screams out, “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?”

My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?
Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?

At about the ninth hour, Jesus cried these words from the cross.  In the recorded history of Christ that we have in the gospels, the most common way that Jesus made reference to God was Father.  He called him Abba.  Dada. Papa.  The first words of a little child calling out to their Father.  Of his Father, Jesus said things like: Read the rest of this entry »

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Jesus Died for Me

Posted by Tim Melton on March 23, 2010

“Christ as our propitiation is a precious thought because it means that the wrath of God that we deserved was removed. Christ absorbed it, and took it away. He became the curse for us and took away the judgment of God. God was propitiated by God.”
– John Piper in his sermon, “The Greatest Thing in the World”

Jesus died for me. What a thought. When I meditate upon that thought, I scarce can take it in. It is almost too terrible, too wonderful, too scandalous. In the scriptures, there are two kinds of death described – physical and spiritual. Certainly, when we say that – “Jesus died for me” – we are not simply saying that Christ died a physical death in our place, for we all, like everyone who has lived before us, will die a physical death.  Don’t misunderstand me.  The physical death of Christ was certainly necessary, for our propitiation, but it was not enough. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Devotional, Theology | Tagged: , , | 20 Comments »

 
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