Do or Done

Easter day reminds us of how Christ bridged the gap between God and us.

Linn Winters
Apr 16, 2017    39m
We have all rebelled and sinned against a Holy God and this has created a chasm between ourselves and God. We need a bridge to span that chasm. On Easter day Pastor Linn tells us how that bridge between God and ourselves has been built for us. Video recorded at Chandler, Arizona.



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.

Pastor Linn: 00:00 Hey Cornerstone, happy Easter to you and glad you're here!

Pastor Linn: 02:40 Big, big, big day in our faith, and even if you're not a person of faith this day is a big question mark that has the capacity to change every single answer in your life depending on what you decide this day of Easter is all about. Hey, as we get started real quick I just want to do a shout out to our San Tan campus, to our Scottsdale campus. Guys, our Scottsdale campus is using Easter as their public launch grand opening so big, big day for those guys, man. Good for you. And then just hope it goes super, super for 'ya, everybody who's going to be experiencing this from the venue and then online we're just, we're just glad you're in the room for the conversation with us today.

Pastor Linn: 03:20 All right, so here's what's going to happen. This weekend you and I are going to go spend a whole bunch of time with people we normally wouldn't hang out with -- our relatives. And, and there is going to be some low moments in that. And then I'm going to help you because I'm going to give you a couple of the best Easter jokes ever and it's going to save your Easter for your family. So are you ready for this? So here we go. What do you call a rabbit with fleas? Bugs Bunny. It was better than that. Bugs Bunny. All right. Why are rabbits like calculators? Because they both multiply really fast. All right. What do you call a line of rabbits walking backwards? Receding hairline. All right. Kids ask your parents what that means afterwards. I'll tell you what. Just look at your dad's head. You'll get it. All right. So big, big day in our faith and here's what we are going to be about, we are talking about building bridges because the reality is this day, this day is all about bridge building. It's all about chasms in our life that God begins to span for us. I guarantee you every one of us experienced relational chasms in your life. And you just thought how would that relationship ever be restored again? Some of us have experienced health chasms that are like we thought man, I just have no idea how I'm ever going to get to the other side of this health issue that's going on for me. I guarantee you if you stop and think about it we've all got chasms, we've all got gaps in our life. We just go hey, from where I am I'm not sure how I get to where I want to be or need to be. But today we're going to talk about probably the most important chasm. The gap that if you and I can solve, you and I can figure it out, actually sets the groundwork for all the other chasms in our life.

Pastor Linn: 05:26 And Iit's our relationship between us and God and in the reality is you and I have done things, we, we've lived in moments that weren't our best moments. We've made decisions that in hindsight we look back we go man, if I could, if I could do a do-over If I could have an instant replay I would play that different and because of those choices you and I have created chasms in our life. A gap between where we are and where God is, and it's not because he moved it's because we moved and now there's a gap. It's every moment that somebody around us succeeded and instead of being happy for him we felt jealous. It's every moment in our life when somebody hurt us and wounded us. And the thing that welled up in her heart was how can I get even. It's moments when we told a white lie because we thought to ourselves hey that's not a big deal. It's the moments that we found ourselves in lust. You realize every one of those moments made the chasm just that much greater between us and God, it's every moment that we hurt the heart of God. And now there is a gap that needs to be bridged.

Pastor Linn: 06:42 You know it's interesting because we live in a time right now where there's a lot of people who would say to you and me, "Hey, I'm, I'm, I'm spiritual, I'm just not religious." That's just an incredibly interesting statement because what you're saying in that moment is, "Hey, you know what I think, I've tried religious stuff, you know, I, I think I've seen all these kind of rules and stuff you got and it just, it just makes no sense to me and it's completely unsatisfying. But what I'm not denying, you ready? Is that there is someone who's bigger than me, someone who's stronger than me, someone who is more powerful than me, and I need to know how to have some sort of a connection with him, some sort of a spiritual happening in my life." And the reality is that if you're someone like that today you and I are on the same ground. See I want to know how to have a connection with God and I'm not sure that just being religious gets that done. Here's the interesting part. Because you and I acknowledge that we're the ones that created the chasm, we're the one that made the ill choices in our lives that it seems only logical that you and I should fix the chasm. And so out of that what we intuitively begin is to say, "You know what? There's got to be something that I can do that's going to restore this relationship, that's going to fix this chasm between me and God. And so we start building a bridge of doing. For some of us that becomes a religious expression. We make sure that our kids get baptized or head to the catechism class or what we'll we memorize a couple verses or we make sure that we attend church a certain number of times every single month because we just figure hey, if I could be religious enough then maybe the doing of those religious things build a bridge that spans the chasm between me and God. Some of us just say, "Look, I tried the whole religious thing, I'm pretty burned out on that but I'm committed to being a good person. I'm, I'm committed to the idea of this that says, hey I'm going to be kind to people when I can and I'm going to be generous to people when I can and I'm going to help little old ladies across the street. I'm going to do generally good things in my life so that I can do enough that my good outweighs whatever bad I have in my life and I can span this gap between me and God."

Pastor Linn: 09:23 Here's my question: How many good things do you have to do to cancel a bad thing? I mean is the ratio one to one? You know you do one bad thing and one good thing covers it. Or what if the ratio is 3 to 1? What are the ratios? Ten to one? How would you know? And then think about this. What if you do something that's really bad? How many good things would you have to do to do enough to overcome the really dark decision of your life. And you know the interesting thing is no one can tell you how much good you have to do to span the gap you've got. And here's why. Because nobody has ever built a "do" bridge, died and come back again to say hey, I made it, I made it to the other side by doing really good stuff by doing religious things. Nobody has ever built a "do" bridge and come back to tell us about. If you happen to bring your bibles today. If you grab them and go with me to Matthew Chapter 19. And if you didn't it's OK I'm going to read it for you. But here's why this passage in Matthew 19 is such a big deal today because Jesus has a conversation with a young man who is a "doing" bridge builder. And he goes to Jesus for advice because he says, "Hey, my doing bridge seems to have a couple holes in it. So what do I still need to do Jesus, to make it to the other side?"

Pastor Linn: 11:03 It's Matthew Chapter 19. Starting in verse 16. Here's what it says: Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"

Pastor Linn: 11:24 "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There's only one who is good. If you want to enter life keep the commandments."

Pastor Linn: 11:24 "Which ones?" He inquired.

Pastor Linn: 11:37 Jesus replied, "You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony. Honor your father and your mother and love your neighbors as yourself."

Pastor Linn: 11:47 "All of these I have kept," the young man said, "What do I still lack?"

Pastor Linn: 11:55 Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect go sell your possessions and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven, then come follow me." When the young man heard this he went away sad because he had great wealth.

Pastor Linn: 12:13 Now on first reading you and I go this is this is a little bit harsh. It feels like a totally sincere young guy is coming to Jesus and just saying, "Look, I've got some legitimate questions in my life. How do I, how do I end up getting to heaven?" And Jesus seems to be giving this guy nothing but a hard time. So let me challenge you. Read this story with Jesus and a smile in his eyes. Read this story with Jesus being slightly sarcastic in order to help a young man understand that "doing" bridges never make it across the gap and he wants him to discover it for himself. Let's read it again.

Pastor Linn: 12:59 Then a man came to Jesus and said, "Teacher what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"

Pastor Linn: 13:06 "Why do you ask me what is good?" Jesus replied, "There is only one good. If you want to enter eternal life keep the commandments. Keep building the bridge. I mean if you want to get to heaven just keep building the "do" bridge." Jesus says, "Just keep that up."

Pastor Linn: 13:27 "Which ones?" He inquires, and you almost get the impression he is going, so please tell me to keep the commandments but don't mention the ones that I've broken.

Pastor Linn: 13:40 So Jesus starts the list, "You shall not murder or you shall not commit adultery you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony. Honor your father and your mother. Love your neighbor as yourself."

Pastor Linn: 13:47 And you almost feel like the young man says, "Whew, he didn't say anything about jealousy. He didn't say anything about greed. I made it, right?" And yet in that moment he says, "All these I kept. What do I still lack?" And you get that Jesus is getting into the moment, he's helping a young man understand, because the young says, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa I've done an amazing job building this 'do' bridge but I'm just telling you as good as I've been it just feels like there's a long way to go. There's something lacking here."

Pastor Linn: 14:32 How do you know? How do you know when you've done enough good to get to the other side? I mean, I mean wouldn't you want to know that if you were building a "do" bridge. I mean what if, what if this? What if you actually had some good surplus? I mean what if you actually said hey look I've done so much "doing" that was good that I've actually got some margin in my life that I could actually do some bad things and it wouldn't matter. Wouldn't you want to know that? I mean think about it, if you had some good margins of "doing" you could drive home from Easter service and flip that guy off who cut you off and it wouldn't matter. You got "do" margin. You could go to Easter, this Easter, and tell your brother in law what you actually think about him if you had "do" margin in your life. Wouldn't you want to know? And you get what Jesus is saying to this young man. There is not enough "do-gooding" to actually build a "do-bridge". And it's interesting, if you read this very same passage in the book of Mark, at this very instant, at this very moment before Jesus is about to say the hardest thing of the whole conversation, it says in Mark, "...and Jesus looked at the young man with love and then he said to him, "If you want to be perfect, if you want to be whole, you want to be complete, sell all your possessions and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me."

Pastor Linn: 16:13 You go, "What?" It's Jesus exposing to a young man, "Your doing hasn't been all that..."

Pastor Linn: 16:21 Remember Jesus said in the list, he says, hey thou shall not commit murder. I've done that. Do you remember Jesus's standard for murder? If you look at your brother with hate you've murdered in your heart already. Remember that? Jesus said, "Do not commit adultery." But his standard was if you look at a woman with lust you've already committed adultery. Jesus said at the very last, "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Pastor Linn: 16:49 "Oh I've done that Jesus, I've done it all." Okay so if you love your neighbor as much as you love yourself then take all of your earthly possessions and give them away because you love them as much as you love you. And he was helping a young man. And are you ready? My "doing" is falling short because, because you're ready for this? Because there's actually moments in my life when I don't do the good that I could do. Which means that moment is actually wrong. Let me say again. There are moments when you and I decide not to do the good that we could do. And that very decision not to do good is actually wrong. It's the moment you and I see someone in need and we go, "Ohm I'm too busy." It's the moment we see our enemy and we root for their failure instead of loving them. The moment in our life when we could have been generous and instead we hold our wallet just a little tighter till we can get out of church. And Jesus says you realize that in the moment when you could have done good and decided not to do good that actually was bad which is why, you ready for this? It's why the "do good" bridge always falls short, never quite makes it to the other side. Matter of fact, you ready for this? If you took Mother Theresa and all the good that she's done however far her doing good bridge would've made it it still would have come up short. And even as she hiked up her skirts and ran as hard as she could and leaped off the "do" bridge toward God she still would have fallen short. You want to make it worse? Your grandma would have fallen short. As good as your grandma is, as amazing as she is, the fact that she hasn't sinned in the last 40 years because she can't walk. She would have fallen short. On the "do" bridge. You ready? Because the "do" bridge has a 100 percent failure rate. It's what Jesus was trying to help the young men understand it's why he says, "Just keep doing what you're doing."

Pastor Linn: 16:49 He says, "I know it's not working."

Pastor Linn: 19:15 "Then why are you on that bridge?" The saddest part of the story is what happens next. It's, it's in the passage when it says, "And he turned and he walked away sad. Because he had a lot of wealth."

Pastor Linn: 19:36 And you just want to say him, "Guy, look, look, look, you're leaving the conversation too early. Do you realize, think about this, you're standing in front of the greatest bridge builder of all time. There is more to talk about, there, there's more to ask. And guys we get this right? Because there are some of us in this room and you've tried religion and it felt like no matter how good you were or how much you did that some priest or some pastor or someone just piled something back on top of it and you just went, "Man. I can't, I can never make that bridge work." And you just walked away, you said, "I'm done." Some of us in the room we're still building the "do" bridge and you're exhausted. You're going, "Man I just, I've put everything into this and I feel like that young man, I'm done. What else do I still need to do because I can tell I haven't made it to the other side?"

Pastor Linn: 20:28 And I'm just going to say to you don't leave the conversation too early. What he should have asked next was if the "do" bridge doesn't work is there another bridge? Is there another option to close this gap to realign our relationship with God? Is that possible?

Pastor Linn: 20:49 There's an amazing passage. I won't make you turn over there but I'm just going to ask you to listen really closely as I read this to you. It's in 2 Corinthians chapter 5. It's Verse 19. Here's what it says: That God was reconciling the world to himself. Pretty, pretty big Bible word, reconciling. Let me simplify it for you. But God was building a bridge. But God was building a bridge to the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he is committed to us. The message of reconciliation. You get that what he says is, "Look, look, look, look. This bridge doesn't work." And so God stood on his side of the gap and said, "They'll never make it." Something happened in that moment which God said, "So I'll build a bridge from my side to their side." And that bridge was Jesus Christ. Think about this for a minute. If you read, if you study the life of Jesus isn't his entire life going to religious people in saying that "do" bridge doesn't work? Isn't it about going to broken people and saying, "There's nothing you can do from here that gets you to there?" And that Jesus talks about a bridge that has nothing to do with what you and I do. But instead that on a cross a bridge was built, and now the conversation is about something that was done for you. It's why Jesus, think about this, hanging on the cross what are the very last words he speaks? "It is finished." What's finished? The bridge from God to us. "It is done," he says. So that it's no longer about what you and I do but instead about what Jesus has done by coming from his side to our side.

Pastor Linn: 23:13 You say, "Well you know Linn, Easter is all about the resurrection." Yeah no, no you're right it's about the resurrection. Have you ever seen when you build a bridge the last thing that happens when a bridge is built is you send a bridge inspector. And the bridge inspector goes to the bridge and he looks it over to make sure it's safe for everybody to cross and then he certifies the bridge he puts a rating on the bridge and you've all seen it. There'll be a placard on the bridge that says, "Holds up to ten thousand pounds." Guess what the resurrection was? The resurrection was God walking in the bridge that Jesus built, getting to the other side and saying, you're ready? "It's safe, it's safe for very man every woman every child. And so I'll raise Jesus from the grave because it's goodAnd it works.

Pastor Linn: 24:11 Guys here's. Here's the really cool part. You and I get to decide today which bridge we want to try. And some of us have the opportunity to get off the bridge of "do" and to get on God's bridge of "done." And it's as simple as a prayer. It's as simple as just saying, "God I get it. I get what the young man failed to see. I get what Jesus was trying to say. If you're going to build a bridge of "do" keep going but you're always going to know you're not making it to me. So get off the bridge that doesn't work and get on the bridge of "done" that does. It's as simple as a prayer. So we want to give everybody in the room that opportunity. So I'm just going to ask us to bow our heads and to close our eyes together. And here's what I'm going to ask you to do in just a moment of honesty, with nobody looking around, just you and me. If you're in the room and you go, "You know what Linn, I think I probably need to pray that prayer. I think I need to get off the bridge I'm on, the bridge of "do", and get onto the bridge that Jesus built of "done" and I think I probably need to pray that prayer." I'm going to ask with nobody looking around just lift your hand and say, "Lynn. I think I probably need to pray that prayer today," that you raise your hand. Who else. OK. All right. It's as simple as a prayer. I'll lead you through the prayer. You can just quietly at your seat pray this prayer to yourself.

Pastor Linn: 25:44 Hey dear Lord Jesus. I've been about "do." I've either been about being religious because I thought that would make you happy and satisfied. I've been trying to just live a good life hoping that good would be good enough to build a bridge and it suddenly occurs to me that bridge can never be finished. That bridge never spans the gap. It's not about "do" it's about "done." And so today I just leave that bridge and I choose the bridge that you built, the bridge that was erected at the cross, the bridge that you made when you said, "It is finished." The bridge that your Heavenly Father certified when he rose you from the dead. I choose the "done" bridge. So come into my heart right now be my savior. This I pray in Jesus name, Amen.

Pastor Linn: 26:47 I'm going to ask you to do something right now that we don't normally ask but I'm going to ask you if you prayed that prayer. That's a big deal and I'm just going to ask you to just kind of be bold enough and brave enough to say, "You know what? I left the bridge. I chose the "done" bridge and I'm just going to stand up, to stand and declare that I made a decision today. And I left the old and chose the new. And if you just prayed that prayer I'm going to ask you to have the courage to just right where you're at stand up. You say, "I prayed." How cool is that, huh?

Speaker 21: 27:39 Best decision of your life if you'll choose that bridge. And so here's what I'm going to ask you to do. I'm going ask you that if you're one of the people who prayed that prayer, you just stood. Inside of your Weekly Is this thing that you got, that we handed out, there's a card on the inside that just says, "Yes to God," which is really what you did, you said no to the bridge you were building and yes to the one that God was building. And in the next few moments I'm going to talk to everybody else. I'm going to ask you to fill out that card. And when we leave there are some tables that all say "Yes" at them and you're just going to drop that card off, it's going to your final moment of declaration. I left that old "do" bridge and I chose the "done" bridge today. Christians some of are in the room and you go, "Linn, I chose a different bridge long ago. None of this was new to me." I think it's interesting in 2 Corinthians when it says the God who chose to reach out to us and build a bridge from his side to us has now given you and me the ministry of reconciliation. Bridge building.

Pastor Linn: 28:51 And my guess is that there are Christians in this room today, and if you were honest you'd say I made it out of the chasm between me and God but I've got a chasm between me and a relative. I've got to, I've got a real divide in my life between me and a co-worker or a neighbor. And I've been waiting for them to do something that would admit how wrong they were, to admit how insensitive that moment was, that they would just acknowledge... Scripture says God has given us the ministry of reconciliation. How powerful would it be as a Christian for you instead of waiting for them, to do exactly what your heavenly father did and begin to build a bridge from you to them. To leave here and make a phone call, to get a card and write a note that just says, "Look I know, I know something between us is broken and I just don't want it to be that way so I'm reaching out to you. You'd look an awful lot like our Heavenly Father looked at Easter.

Pastor Linn: 30:15 Our band's back out. They're going to lead us in a moment of just really, really powerful worship. Here's my encouragement, would you sing this next one with all of your heart, would you just declare the power and the wonder of Easter with us.

Pastor Linn: 30:15 -Music plays-

Pastor Linn: 35:23 On the first day of the week ,very early in the morning the women took the spices and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb but when they entered they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wandering about suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down their faces to the ground but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here. He has risen!"

Pastor Linn: 35:23 -Music plays-

Pastor Linn: 38:14 You get that at Easter we win. And not because of what we do but because of what He's done. Here's the best way you could celebrate Easter. Those of you that filled out cards, you take them to a table, you just go, "Man I'm leaving the "do" bridge I'm walkin' the 'done' bridge."

Pastor Linn: 38:42 For those of you that are in Christ, that you and I leave this place with the ministry of reconciliation. We reach across broken relationships and wounded hearts and we just say, "Hey, I don't want it to be this way. Could we let what God did for us be the model of what I want to do with you?"

Pastor Linn: 39:03 May God bless you. Happy Easter.

Recorded in Chandler, Arizona.
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Cornerstone Church
1595 S Alma School Road
Chandler, Arizona 85286