“This is the end – for me the beginning.”Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Dietrich Bonhoeffer spent the end of his life in a Nazi concentration camp. The teachings of the gospel and the Nazi indoctrination were contrary to one another. For this reason, Hitler sought ferociously to weed the gospel out of Germany – the gospel, not church or religion for there was still much of both remaining.
On his last day, he preached – right there in the concentration camp. It makes me wonder what text I would choose if I knew I was preaching my last. Bonhoeffer’s was 1 Peter 1:3:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Christ from the dead….”
What a powerful image! While He preached, a British RAF pilot stood in the doorway, keeping the Nazi officers who would escort Bonhoeffer to his death at bay. He preached and glorified the Savior whom he would see with his own eyes moments later. As he was submitting himself to the Nazi soldiers, he uttered the above mentioned quote: “This is the end – for me the beginning.”
That is so powerful and inspirational. But we need to look past Bonhoeffer to the God how inspired him to live in such a way – to die in such a way. One does not submit to death with joy unless he has hope. And the hope found in the Word of God changes lives still today.
We have a Savior who – though He was crucified and died – is alive! And because of that fact, our hope is living. Religion will not do that for a person. Ancient texts do not do that for us. Only a resurrected King can accomplish that, and He is worthy of our trust, love, and worship!
This Sunday, we will be focusing on the hope that comes from only Jesus! We will start by looking at Jesus as our Rescuer and Savior. We will look at Him being the promised Messiah. We will look at the His rich mercy was poured out for us on the cross. And we will celebrate the hope that is found in Him!
So, if you are struggling, downhearted, or just otherwise not-put-together, you will not be put to shame if you follow after Jesus. He will give you hope and rest in Him!
These verses were on my heart as the worship set came together this week:
- Isaiah 61:1 – The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound….
- Psalm 34:4 – I sought the LORD, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
- Colossians 2:13-14 – And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross.
- 1 Peter 1:3 (see above)
Here are our songs:
- Rescuer – What a claim to begin our worship: “He’s our Rescuer!” While the song goes through various things we’ve been rescued, or saved, from – sin, shame, doubt, fear, religion, we all know exactly what sin is in our life and how much we need a Savior/Rescuer. It is from that knowledge we can cry out, “Oh, how sweet the sound; oh, how grace abounds!”
- Jesus Messiah – I love, love, love how this song begins by singing Scripture straight out of the Bible. Worship through singing is a powerful thing. It is absolutely necessary because it is commanded in Scripture. But no lyric of Scripture can be as powerful as actual quotes from the Word – because the Word is special and has unique power! We get to lay out the gospel from the Word and point out that Jesus is the Christ – the Messiah – the promised One who came 2,000 years ago and is coming again!
- Scripture References/Inspiration for the Song: 2 Corinthians 5:21, Philippians 2:8, Psalm 136:1, Acts 17:3, Luke 2:11, Philippians 2:9, Job 19:25, Isaiah 44:24, Matthew 1:23, Matthew 28:20, Isaiah 61:1, 1 Timothy 2:6, Philippians 2:10, Luke 22:19-20, Romans 5:5, Matthew 27:51, John 3:16, Romans 5:3-4, 1 Peter 1:3, Jude 25, John 8:12, Isaiah 59:1-2
- At the Cross (Love Ran Red) – The cross is such a powerful image for the believer. We look at it and know that it belonged to us. We think on Christ’s sacrifice and know He bore our sin. Jesus humbled Himself to bear it, and we should surrender ourselves and submit to Him in faith. In Him “sin and shame are powerless”. Mercy and grace flow freely. And, since He rose from the dead, the peace that is promised is eternal because He defeated death, Hell, and the grave!
- Living Hope – This song gets me fired up. The image of a great chasm – I’m talking Grand Canyon-ish – between us and God is not difficult to see or imagine. But our great “God and Savior Jesus Christ” is our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). He bridged the gap and made a Way for us! We can cry out, “Hallelujah! Praise the One who set me free!” Amen!
- (invitation/closing) O Come to the Altar
- Scripture References/Inspiration for the Song: Matthew 11:28-30, John 10:3, John 4:7-38, Revelation 3:20, Hebrews 13:10-14, 1 Timothy 2:3-4, 2 Peter 3:9, Isaiah 53:5, Ephesians 1:7, Hebrews 9:22, Luke 9:62, Philippians 4:13-14, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Titus 2:13-14, Matthew 21:9, Revelation 17:14, Luke 9:23, James 1:12, 1 Peter 5:4, Matthew 28:16-20