Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sermon: Psalm 103: 11-12 Cross Examined

When we were growing up, there was a song we used to sing at Bible clubs. And like all the best songs, there were actions. And it went a little like this: ‘Deep and wide, deep and wide, there’s a fountain flowing deep and wide.’

Tonight we’ve been using Psalm 103 to help us think about the cross. And in Psalm 103, we find the same measurements in the same directions. There’s something that is deep (or high), and something else that is wide. In fact, the two combined give us the cross. We have an up and down direction, and a side to side direction. Together, they show us what the cross is all about.

First of all, then, the up and down. What’s the tallest building you’ve ever been on? Here’s mine - the Empire State Building in New York. 381 metres high. But it’s tiddly compared to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, at 829.8 metres tall. They go up really high, yet they still seem very small. They’re called skyscrapers, but they’re not really scraping much of the sky.

Or think of when you fly (if you fly). Planes sometimes pass overhead at about 30,000 feet, and there’s still a lot more sky above. You can go a long way up. David points us to the up and down measurement and says that it’s like the measure of God’s love.

‘As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him.’

Go outside and look up. That’s how great God’s love for you is. The distance from heaven to earth was the distance that the Lord Jesus came in order to save us, giving up his place in heaven, being born as a baby, living life among us, and dying on the cross. It’s not even just his love, but his steadfast love - his unchanging, never ending always and forever love. How high? As high as the heavens. That’s God’s love for you.

And because God loved, he gave his Son, to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. He died on the cross, while we were yet sinners, in order to take away our sins. And it’s to show this that David gives us the second measurement.

‘As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.’

East and west are always going in opposite directions. They don’t meet. And that’s what Jesus has done with our sin. He has removed it, taken it away, we’ll never see it again.

The story is told of the owner of a Rolls Royce. The firm take great pride in the reliability of their cars. So the man took it over on the ferry to France and was driving around the continent when suddenly, the car broke down. He rang Rolls Royce to get the problem sorted, so they flew out a mechanic in a private jet with all his tools and equipment, he fixed the problem, and the driver continued on his journey.

When he got back home, he was worried about the cost of the repair - the mechanic, the parts, and above all the plane. But he hadn’t received the bill. So he rang up the firm again to ask about the bill. But the person in Rolls Royce replied: ‘We have no record of any Rolls Royce having ever broken down.’

Because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross, there is no record of our wrongdoing. Our sins have been removed from us. They’re not stored up so that some other time God can say to us - don’t forget about what I know about you... They have been removed entirely.

This is the good news of the cross - God loves us and our sins are removed from us. This is the reason to praise. This is the reason to come to God and worship him.

The burden of our sin is lifted off our shoulders, because it has been borne by Jesus. Will you lay your burdens down?

This sermon was preached at the SNATCH Praise Service in Aghavea Church Hall on Palm Sunday 13th April 2014.

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