MY REDEEMER LIVES!
Pastor Duane Smets
April 16th, 2017
Well, good morning everyone!
Easter is always one of my favorite Sundays in the year. It’s so great to have the house filled, to be all together, to have new people visiting with us, to sing, clap and gather in honor of Jesus Christ our risen Savior and Lord.
I was thinking about it this week and I think the reason I like Easter so much is because it’s such a happy day. There is such a sense of joy and excitement on this day. And I love it because I like to be happy. It’s fun. Amen?
Easter here at our church is always a special Sunday for us for a couple reasons.
One, it’s our church birthday. So today marks 12 years for us. 12 years ago we started with just about 8 of us in my wife and I’s apartment in Pacific Beach. Over the years God has blessed our church so much. So happy birthday Resolved Church. I love this church and love being a part of it.
The other reason Easter is a special Sunday for us is we usually have people being baptized. If you don’t know what baptism is, basically it’s this special spiritual ceremony where people are dunked under water as a way of demonstrating their belief and commitment to follow Jesus.
Water is a cleansing agent and in the same way that Jesus went under and died and then rose up to new life, going under the water and then coming up out of it is the way Jesus says people can profess their belief in the spiritual cleansing, healing and new life He gives.
And I want to say this. Not every time but often we have people who come on Easter who come not planning to be baptized but then during the service find themselves desiring to be baptized. Just last Easter, Laura who was up here playing keys came and she was all dressed up in a pretty dress but God moved in her heart to be baptized.
Here’s what she wrote this week.
“I want to share what I've only told a handful of people. Last year truly was a gift of new life for me. I let God into my life completely...fully wanting Him as my Savior & acknowledging that I cannot live life fully without Him.
It is so hard for me to try to describe the mental & physical experience that happened last Easter. I was baptized as a baby but obviously not knowing what it meant. The weeks leading up to baptisms, I didn't have the desire to do it. I was held back just because I felt I believed in God & didn't think it was necessary. That day as I was in the back of the service during worship, I felt God pressing on my heart. I mean fully pushing me to go up there. I was in dress clothes with zero intent to get dunked under water that morning but it was no longer a question in my mind...it was something I had to do & was just between God and myself. It was a way of acknowledging that I am a sinner and need him as my Savior.
Backstage, as they prayed over me, I felt a rush of complete warmth come over me and a peace that was so calming. Although we were backstage in the dark, as they prayed over me and my eyes were closed, I could see light all around. Physically I could feel these electric currents running through my entire body from my toes to my brain. As I was praying, I could feel the Holy Spirit's presence within me. In that moment, I felt my pain, guilt, and shame turn to joy, love, and peace.
I believe this has been one of the greatest gifts in my life as it gave me full faith & hope for what's to come. For me, this was knowledge in that He is real…a sweet & powerful moment in my life. I am blessed to have a God who meets me exactly where I am & gives me the promise of transformation.”
So I want to encourage you to be open to being baptized if God’s moving on your heart. We’ve got clothes and a baptism t-shirt you can change into in a private changing area backstage. If you haven’t been baptized before, make this the day!
Well, for our special Easter sermon this year I thought we could do something we’ve never done before here and that to look at the oldest passage in the Bible that points to the resurrection of Jesus. A lot of people think that since Genesis is the first book in the Bible that it’s the oldest. But actually, because of the grammar and vocabulary in it, we know the book of Job in the Bible is the oldest.
So the verse from Job I want to preach from today is Job 19:25 which says, “I know that my Redeemer lives.”
Redeemer. Redemption. Redeem. You could define the word “redeem” as “getting back what was lost.”
One Easter, a group of people boarded a plane. They were all excited about their trip and destination. Everyone was sitting in their seats before take off anticipating the things this journey would bring.
The flight wasn’t overbooked so they didn’t have to worry about being dragged out of their seat kicking and screaming. Everyone was happy.
And so they take off. They’re in the air flying down over the south pacific tropics and something starts going wrong with the plane. The plane starts shaking violently. The oxygen masks fall down. It’s chaos and the plane crashes on this island.
Those who survive ended up being stuck on the island for many years. During their time together they get to know each other quite well and what they discover is that each person, in the story of their lives really had got on that plane because they were searching for something.
Jack is this guy who comes from a well-off family. He’s a successful doctor. His dad just died. And he feels lost in his life, struggling with what he experienced growing up with his relationship with his dad and mom and how none of his relationships were working out.
Ana is this gal who was a police officer that recently lost her job. She bummed about that and not sure about where her life is going.
Michael is an artist and a construction worker. He had a kid with a gal many years ago, who recently died and so he reunited with his son and they are on the plan together when it crashes.
Sawyer is a guy who just scraped by for many years. Doing whatever it took to make money. He’s a ladies man. Had a rough life growing up. But is racked with guilt and feels haunted by his past.
Jin came from a poor family, was in the middle of a messy breakup and got on the plane seeking out a new life in a new country.
By now, if you’ve seen it you know the story I’ve been telling is the story of the TV Series “Lost”, created by J.J. Abrams and recognized as one of the most successful television dramas of all time. What captured America’s attention with this show wasn’t so much the somewhat fun fictional story of being trapped on an island, but that each person, each character from the show was a person who was lost in their lives in their own unique way.
I think the reason why that struck a chord with literally millions and millions of people in our country is because the truth is that’s all of our stories.
All of us set out in life with expectations and desires of what our life will be like…the things we desire, the things we want to be and become. A happy life for ourselves. But sooner or later, regardless of whether we get the things we want or arrive at the place we desire, we find ourselves lost. We lose something of our self, our person, our soul.
I believe this is a universal human experience. The words from the book of Job we’re talking about today, “I know my Redeemer lives” come from the lips of a man who truly lost everything.
Job is a guy who at the beginning of his book you find out that in one day he lost all his possessions, all his cows, all his donkeys, all his sheep, all his camels were killed or were stolen from an attacking tribe. So he loses all of his financial worth.
On top of it, not only were all the animals , which were his livelihood, but also nearly all his workers were likewise killed. So essentially he lost his job.
That same day all of his sons and daughters died in a violent windstorm while having dinner at the oldest one’s house. So he loses his family.
Not long after this horrible day, Job gets this disease with boils all over his body. So he loses his health.
Things are so bad his own wife tells him to curse God and die. He loses his marriage.
And then his three best friends come along and say to him that he must’ve really done something to make God mad and they reject him. So he loses all his friends too.
Job lost everything. His possession, his job, his family, his health, his marriage and his friends. He lost it all.
What the book of Job in the Bible essentially consists of is Job wrestling with what has happened to him. He’s lost everything and doesn’t know what to think about God. God was the center of his life and without God, he finds himself where all people find themselves without God…lost. Job is lost in every physical way and is spiritually lost.
The words we’re talking about today are about in the middle of the book and many people think they’re really the climax of the book. They come at a point when it seems like Job thinks he’s gonna die soon. His words next words after talking about the redeemer talk about his skin being destroyed and then in the verse after that he says, “my heart faints within me.”
So Job thinks it’s the end. But he hangs onto this hope and this belief, despite everything…”I know my redeemer lives.”
I’d actually like to read for us the whole paragraph there. Here’s what he says,
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold.” – Job 19:25-27
This is incredible! Check it out.
First, he says “I know.” This isn’t some informational knowledge. Like I know two plus two equals four. This is deep passionate conviction. This “know” is a gut, all in, beyond feeling, beyond reason, beyond explanation knowing.
It’s a knowing that says, “I could be wrong about everything else but this one thing I know and believe and I’m staking everything on it!”
What do you know? What do you believe? If there was one thing you were going to stake everything in your life believing what would it be? Can you say, “I know”?
Second thing Job says here, he says “my Redeemer.” He knows he personally needs a redeemer. Which there’s two parts to.
He knows that he, individually as a person, needs redemption. He knows he’s not perfect. He knows he’s lost and has lost everything. He doesn’t believe he’s gonna get it back in this life, but thinks there’s still hope for his soul in eternity.
When it comes down to it, each and every person has to make decision about God. Where they are at with God and what they believe happens when they die. If you believe that when we die that’s just it and it’s game over then life is short and relatively meaningless.
If you believe there is life after death and that what happens then is based on what we believe and do in this life, then everything matters and is extremely meaningful.
Do you know God like Job did where you can not just say you believe there is a God but that He’s your God? Can you say “my God”? Do you have a relationship with God?
Which by the way is the other part. Job believes the Redeemer is God. He believes the Redeemer “lives”, so He exists and believes He will stand on the earth and when He sees Him He will see God.
Very interesting. Job imagines the Redeemer to be God, who is yet at the same time a man with legs who can stand and be seen. It’s a long long time before Jesus comes after Job but man, that sure sounds like what Jesus claims to be, fully God and fully man at the same time, come to earth to redeem, to get back what was lost, to find lost people and make everything right. Jesus said his mission was to seek and save the lost.
Job is looking for a redeemer like that. Then look at when and how he thinks that’ll happen. He says when he sees this redeemer and experiences his redemption it will be after “his skin is destroyed”.
So it’s after he dies but then he says he will have “flesh” again that has eyes that can “see” and “behold”, which is a joyful heart rejoicing. So he believes he will get a new body, that will live forever without anymore pain and suffering and that he will get to spend eternity with God, living a good life again with all his family.
That’s what redemption would be, to get back all he had lost. This is an incredible passage.
Now let me ask you a question. How could Job say all this stuff and believe it?
I mean some people who are Bible skeptics…which if you’re skeptical about the Bible, I get that, it’s understandable. I mean this is kind of crazy stuff. You gotta believe some pretty wild things to accept the things the Bible says as true.
So some people think, Job is just sort of venting here and not realizing what he’s saying and that he’s definitely not talking about Jesus or anything like that. Which is fair. I’ll grant that maybe he’s just deliriously whining here.
But even in that. Sometimes, people who are not even Christians, who don’t have Jesus in mind, people say things that sound a lot like they are talking about Jesus even when they don’t realize it. I mean think of think of the Pepsi commercial that came out last week.
If only there was one person who could step forward and unite the world together. The ad got pulled because everyone knew Kendall Jenner wasn’t good enough and a can of Pepsi can’t really solve anything. But where does that idea come from?
That if there was just someone good enough, courageous enough, to be a hero who could solve the world’s problems. And that’s who Jesus claims to be. To be the one sent by God, who comes with something far better than a can of Pepsi but comes to with His blood on a cross to pay the price for all that separates us from God and one another so that we might be reconciled and redeemed.
Really, in every good story you’ll find the belief in the need for a hero. Job believed Jesus was that hero.
Now, I think there’s good reason to believe that Job wasn’t just speaking gibberish that happens to make some sense when you look at Jesus. Throughout the book of Job he regularly talks about belief in and commitment to this special God, named YHWH. When you see all capitals LORD in the Bible, that’s this special name.
In the ancient world there were lots of different beliefs and lots of different religions and gods not unlike today. Each of the gods and the religions had a story from which their belief system was based.
So for example, if you believed in the god called “Marduk” then there was the story of Enuma Elish which tells the tale of two gods who copulate to create several more gods, including Marduk. But then all the gods get into a big fight, and Marduk rises up defeating them all, kills his mother and then creates the world with her guts and creates mankind to be his slaves. Fun story huh?
It was one of the most popular in the land where Job lived. But Job embraced a different story, the story of the God called YHWH which eventually got recorded in the book we now know as Genesis, the first book of the Bible.
The story of Genesis says that YHWH is a single God who created the world by his own infinite power and created human beings to enjoy Him and the world he created. Things go good at first with the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, until they make a terrible decision, rejecting God and setting off on a different course. Tragedy results in their hearts and they end up having to leave their home in the garden of Eden, becoming physically and spiritually lost.
But before God sends them out He promises a redeemer. One who would come he says, in “flesh” and who would be “bruised” but come out victorious undo all the damage that was brought into the world and into human hearts from running away from God and rejecting Him.
This promise becomes the ultimate drive and overarching story of the entire Bible…this promise. The promise of God the Redeemer who would come and redeem people and redeem all things.
This becomes the hope of every individual who follows this God and of the whole nation of Israel who follows this God. It becomes so intermeshed throughout the story of God people in the Bible that they start calling this God named YHWH Redeemer.
Here’s just one example from many in the Bible. Isaiah 47:4,
“Our Redeemer—the LORD of hosts is his name— is the Holy One.”
This is God and the story Job had embraced and believed in. So it’s not wild and outlandish to think he knew what he was talking about. Job knew, even before all that bad stuff happened to him that things in the world were not right and that he was not right and that he needed a redeemer.
For literally hundreds of years, Job and all those after him who believed in and followed this God waited for the day when God would send this Redeemer into the world.
To be the Redeemer this person would both have to be God and yet be in the flesh of man and to redeem the people, this redeemer would have to pay the price of the people’s debt to God for mankind’s rebellion against Him. He’s have to be bruised in that way. But he would have to yet live after that.
That’s why when Jesus rose from the dead people instantly believed he was this Redeemer. Christianity literally started as a new religion overnight. On the first day of the church at the very first church service, the first Easter if you will…over 6,000 people were baptized. Thousands immediately believed and put their hope and faith in Jesus as the Redeemer.
Historians actually say the massive and rapid start of the church, literally overnight, from such a conservative religious group of Jews is actually one of the strongest arguments for believing Jesus actually rose. They say things like, new religions, don’t just start overnight like that. Historically, it demands some monumentally significant event…like a person rising from the dead.
I think what happened to Job was that in one of the lowest moments of his life God gave him a picture of what was to come. God gave him a picture of Jesus and he saw him in his mind’s eye. And what he saw gave him a confidence so great that he could say, “I know my Redeemer lives…and though I may die today, I will be given fresh eyes and I will see Him face to face and rejoice!”
Job looked forward to the coming of Jesus the Redeemer who would die on the cross for sin and rise again in order to give new life and turn back the tide in the world, enabling us to have God as our friend and the promise of returning to the good life of the eternal garden city one day.
Job looked forward to Jesus. For us today, we look backward to Jesus. And what we need is the same thing God gave Job, a vision of Jesus the Redeemer.
You see it’s not enough to just know the facts of what happened…that Jesus was a real man that walked the face of the earth. That Jesus was good and that He died on a cross and rose again. That’s just the facts.
What we need is to see Him with our hearts and to believe that He can redeem us. That Jesus can get back for us all we have lost.
We started out today talking about the TV show Lost and how it taps into our universal experience of lostness.
For each of us that probably plays out in a different way. The time we’ve lost, the money we’ve lost on stuff that doesn’t matter, the relationships we’ve lost, the joys we’ve lost, the optimism we’ve, the sense of self we’ve lost, the sense of direction and a future we’ve lost. We’re all lost. What have you lost?
What Jesus offers us is being found. Jesus came to redeem all things.
Jesus redeems our time, giving us the promise of eternity.
Jesus redeems our stuff and money, promising to provide for all of our needs and ultimately given us a home in heaven.
Jesus redeems relationship, restoring our relationship with God and enabling us to have loving relationships with others.
Jesus redeems our joy, healing our sorrows and mending our hearts.
Jesus redeems our person, giving us back a sense of self and purpose in this world.
Jesus is the Redeemer.
Jesus is the Redeemer and He can do and give us all these things because He rose. Death is the ultimate destroyer, it destroys everything and because Jesus defeated death there is nothing He can’t give to us and doesn’t give to those who trust in Him. In Jesus the Redeemer we are truly found and given life.
You see we need to know more than just the facts. We need to know Jesus as our Redeemer.
Easter is the great day we as Christians celebrate that Jesus our Redeemer lives. In John 14:19 Jesus says this to all who believe in and trust Him, “You will see me because I live. And because I live you also will live.”
In Jesus there is life…the life God means for us and the life that we long for. In Jesus there is life and life abundantly. Because He lives we live and will live.
He lives, He lives, He lives. I know. I know my Redeemer lives.
Today, do you know Him and His life? Oh how I hope you do and if you do then you know the joy I feel in my heart in this moment. If you don’t, you can. Today, you can know the joy of Job and all who put their faith in Jesus.
David in the Bible just another lost soul like Job and like you and I who experienced this redemption we’re talking about and he wrote a song about. I’ll conclude with his words today.
"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s." – Psalm 104:2-5
Friends. Jesus is our risen Redeemer. I know. Jesus, my Redeemer lives.