Victory Through Surrender

The power of surrender is illustrated by real life stories.

Linn Winters
Apr 1, 2018    34m
Pastor Linn's sermon on Easter Sunday uses real life stories to focus on how the most important lesson in the bible is found in First Corinthians. That Jesus death on the cross, and his resurrection is the most important lesson because he taught us that if we surrender all things to Jesus, we will be led to the same victory he experienced and will share with us through his resurrection. 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.

Linn Winters: 01:02 Hey cornerstone. How you guys doing?

Linn Winters: 01:07 Happy Easter to you. And guys I don't say that lightly. You realized this day, this day is the Cornerstone of everything we believe. If it is true that Jesus raises from the dead, then literally everything we believe, everything we've hung our faith on is validated. And it makes our faith different than every single other worldview. Easter, Easter is our win; and I just want to say honor to you for being in this place. For knowing that hey, you know what, if I have any sort of faith in Jesus Christ at all, this is a big day. And I ought to be in his house and I ought to be showing respect and honor to him. So honor to you for being here and being part of this Easter Sunday with us.

Linn Winters: 02:00 All right. So if any of you know me, you know this, I'm one of those guys that's all in. I don't do anything small. I do everything completely over the top hundred and ten percent. The downside of being a hundred percent in totally over the top, is that when I fail they tend to be slightly epic fails. For instance, freshman year of Bible College, I decided to ask out the prettiest girl in the entire college who then promptly informed me after our first date that we would not be going on any more dates together. Now, it may or may not, have had something to do with the fact that when I kissed her good night; I decided to baptize her by pushing her into the school fountain. Some people just don't have a fully developed sense of humor.

Linn Winters: 03:00 Epic fail number two. Right after Lisa and I got married, she went to work for a startup company. And` a part of how this little startup company would give remuneration and, incentives to the employees is they give them lots and lots and lots of stock in a startup company. And after Lisa had worked there for a couple of years, we've said look, this is probably not the wisest place for you to be; a high potential of failure. Let's go get you a real job,. And so Lisa quit that job, moved over. We took all the stock that they'd given us, sold it for $2,000. Startup company, Microsoft.

Linn Winters: 03:48 I've had moments as a dad when in the moment I knew I was doing parenting at a championship style. I'm just like, look dude, I'm putting you in your place. Walked out of that room, sat down 15 minutes later, and thought about what I just did and went I'm an idiot. That may be the worst parenting moment ever. How many of you say you know what Linn, I've had like an epic parenting fail. I've done that. Come on, be honest. All right. Now here's what I want you to do, I want you to do keep your hands up, I want you to look around the room. Everybody that doesn't have their hand up has not had children yet. Just part of what happens.

Linn Winters: 04:35 You know? The truth is some of my failures are darker than that. I've had moments in my life where I lied, because telling the truth was uncomfortable and inconvenient. I've made decisions in my life that ended up hurting the very people I most loved in my life. And if we were just having a little cup of coffee together and talking honestly with one another; you'd say Linn, I've got some pretty significant failures in my life too. I've got moments ill lived. Moments if I could just have a do over, I would take it in a second. Some of us have had marriages that in our pride and in our stubbornness, we ran those suckers on the ground. Some of us have decided to shoot up, or snort up, or pop a couple pills to kind of numb the pain. Some of us have done stuff that we probably wouldn't admit out loud.

Linn Winters: 05:32 And here's the wonder of Easter. That no matter how far you and I have driven our lives off the rails. No matter how many moments that you and I look back and go, boy, if I could simply have that back. No matter how many relationships lay broken in our rear view mirror. No matter how dark our darkest sin is. The power of Easter overcomes them all, and gives you and me a chance to live our lives in victory. And guys, I'm just going to tell you, there is no better story than that. Guys this is why we cling to Easter, because we know left to ourselves it's a rough road.

Linn Winters: 06:14 So do me a favor. Grab your bibles real quick. I wanted to go to a passage of scripture, that literally is probably one of the most complete passages in unpacking the power and the victory that's available to you and me because Jesus rose from the dead 2000 years ago. On that day claiming victory, that he is willing to share with every single one of us in the room. So here we go it's First Corinthians Chapter Fifteen; and if you aren't familiar today, if you just simply go to the back of your Bible and start working to the left you're going to find this book of First Corinthians. First Corinthians Chapter Fifteen. And while we're going there, here's what I want us to do. I want us to do things just a little bit different today. So as the verses come up on the screen. I've got certain words that are going to come up in red, and when they come up in red, we're going to shout that word out together. We've got one Christian who was all in right now, that's it.

Linn Winters: 07:25 Now here's the deal, I know some of you are going okay Linn you're freaking me out a little bit. I was raised Baptist. So just for today, because I get it I was raised Baptist youth, but just for today we're going to be a little Pentecostal. Okay red words, we're going to shout them. Okay here we go. Alright, First Corinthians, chapter fifteen, starting in verse three. Here's what it says, "For what I received." This is Paul talking he's saying, look, this is what I've looked into. This is what I've researched. This is what I've investigated. This is what others who were there have told me in person, and now I'm telling you. This is what I've received, "For what I received. I passed onto you as of first importance, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas." Now Cephas is just simply another name for the Apostle Peter. "And then to the 12, After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of our brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some of them had fallen asleep."

Linn Winters: 08:44 Now guys I love this and here's why, I'm not one of those like emotional decision people. I want some facts, if I'm going to decide on something. So I love what Paul does in this moment, because think about what he just did, he was talking to a first century crowd. The majority of people living or reading this passage are living only a few years after the resurrection. And he says to them, hey, if you haven't figured this out yet, if you're struggling to put confidence in the idea that Jesus rose from the dead. If you're wondering if that's really true. Then here's what you need to know, Peter, Peter was an eyewitness and saw the resurrected Jesus. Matter of fact the other 12, the rest of the 12, saw Jesus physically after the resurrection. The women who ran to the grave saw Jesus after the resurrection. And he goes, if that's not enough, 500 more people saw the resurrected Jesus. And if you're struggling with this, if you can't land in this in faith, then go interview them. Go sit down, buy a cup of coffee for them, and just say, what was that? And what did you see? Because Paul says, "I am absolutely convinced, when they describe to you seeing Jesus, you'll have no doubt. Do you realize what Paul's doing? He's saying fact check me. How powerful is it that Paul had the confidence to say, "You go ask anyone who saw Jesus after the resurrection, and they will tell you the same story. Because we all saw the same thing."

Linn Winters: 10:29 And I love that, but more important in this passage. Did you get that phrase at the beginning when he says, I am telling you the thing that is of first importance. Which is simply most important. He's saying, what we're about to talk about, the death of Jesus on a cross for our sins and his subsequent resurrection from the dead three days later; this is the most important conversation you can ever have. This is the most important thing for you to figure out. What does it mean to you, to me, that Jesus died for my sins and that he rose again? There is nothing else more important than figuring this out and what it means for us. Which means, you're ready for this? Figuring out the death of Jesus on the Cross and his resurrection is more important than your career, it's more important than how much money you'll ever earn, or how much you have in your 401K. Okay, ready for this? Figuring out the death and resurrection of Jesus is more important than your Facebook status. It's more important than your marriage. It's more than your kids. You go, wait, wait, Linn, those things are really important. No, no, no, no, Paul's not saying that they're not. He's simply saying what you and I need to understand, is that understanding the death of Jesus on the Cross and his resurrection is more important than every one of those things. Because when you figure those things out, everything else is going to fall in place for you.

Linn Winters: 12:21 Maybe this helps, if you've ever had a house built at some point they pour the slab, they pour the foundation. And the truth is foundations aren't very sexy. So chances are you walked out in you and went oh the foundation, or a couple of pipes sticking up. The thing you really wanted to see was the walls going up, and the roof getting on. The foundation probably didn't impress you much. But here's what every builder knows, the foundation, the foundation is the most critical part of the house. Get that wrong, everything else is wrong. Get a tally whomp foundation, get a foundation that's out of square, and you'll end up with cracks in your walls. Get a foundation that's messed up and the value of your house will plummet. Here's what Paul is saying. This is the foundational truth of life. You have to get this right, because every other part of your life depends on this. It will fall in line when you understand the death of Jesus and the resurrection of Jesus. And if you don't get it right, you'll have cracks all through your life. The satisfaction of your life will plummet if you don't figure out what it means that Jesus died on a cross and rose again three days later. This is the most important conversation and truth that you and I need to figure out.

Linn Winters: 13:47 So here's a good question. If this is the most important conversation and if Jesus, two thousand years ago, coming out of that grave won a victory that he's willing to share. He's willing to take that victory and share it with us. Then here's my question. How do you and I acquire that? How do we get that victory into our lives? You're ready? Surrender, surrender, And you go, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, Linn, victory and surrender don't go together. I mean if you want victory, you don't give up. You fight to the end, you wrestle through whatever pain you've got in you, you push forward, that's how you get victory. You step on the neck of your opponent, you run the score up. That's how you get victory. You don't get victory by giving up. And guys look that may work in horseshoes, and it may work in football or basketball, and it may work in board games, but it doesn't work in spiritual things. and what we're going to find out is that the very thing that feels a little weird and feels a little wrong is exactly how that surrender leads to victory. Because sometimes what we think feels right isn't right.

Linn Winters: 15:08 I remember a few years ago, I'm standing at the very edge of half dome. If you don't know what half dome is, it's a mountain in Yosemite National Park. It's huge and you get to the top and the front side of it is literally straight up and down for a mile. So now I'm standing looking over the edge of half dome and a little voice in my heart says jump, jump just get it over with jump. And if we're honest, there's some things that just kind of feel like what you ought to do and they're just exactly wrong. You and I've lived that. We've had moments that we responded to that little boy, and we go oh man what a huge mistake. But flip it. There's some moments when doing the thing that doesn't feel intuitive and doesn't feel right is exactly what I need to do, and that's exactly what's happening today. That you and I are going to discover that victory, that stepping into what Jesus did for us two thousand years ago, to enjoy that victory in our life, it comes on the other side of a decision to surrender.

Linn Winters: 16:16 Which simply means this. There's some of us who came into the room today and you're still kind of trying to figure out the whole Jesus-God thing, and you might even actually be a fairly religious person. You might be someone who says, "Hey Linn, I've always kind of had an idea or a thought or a heart about God." You may have gone to church a whole bunch in your life. You may have even prayed a whole bunch. You might have been baptized as a kid. You might even say, Hey Linn, "I was born into a Christian family." You realize being born into a Christian family does not make you a Christian. Can you imagine if your mother had given birth to you in a garage? Would that make you a Mazda? And guys I'm just telling you, growing up religious or doing religious things doesn't make you a Christian. It's simply makes you a doer. Today we are going to discover one of the most powerful things that some of us can do is to raise a white flag and say God I'm just done trying to be a good enough person, a religious enough person, follow enough rules and I'm surrendering my religiousness so that I can find your forgiveness. And guys, I'm just going to tell you, if you could take that you would find victory in your life that have never known until now.

Linn Winters: 17:52 Hey, we've got Christians in this room? Here's what blows my mind, we've got Christians in this room who live like they never met Jesus. We've got Christian in this room who we still think about money the way people who don't know Jesus think about money. And we think if we had more of it, we'd be happier, and whoever has the biggest pile and the most toys wins. Why would someone who knows Jesus think about money the way people who don't know Jesus? And why would someone who's found Christ be chasing after the same things that people who don't know Christ chase after? Why would we live with those same chains on us? Some of us are doing our marriage the way our neighbors do their marriage. Why would we take that broken thing and carry that? Why would we do that? Once we found Jesus. Some of us take substances. You know why we do that Christians? Because when we came to Jesus, we gave him our heart, but we didn't give them as our life. And the most powerful thing you could do today to say, "Hey God, you know what? I'm done steering my own life. I'm done trying to be in control and manipulate this thing and take it where I want it to go and I am literally going to raise a flag of surrender. So on the other side, I could experience the victory that only comes when I hand the steering wheel to you." You guys are going to figure out victory...victory always comes on the other side of surrender when it comes to spiritual things.

Linn Winters: 19:38 Let's go back to the passage. We're going to jump down a little ways. It's verse 55. And look, I told you this is one of the most powerful passages in all the scripture. First Corinthians 15, describing an unpacking the resurrection and what it does for us. And we just don't have time to go through the whole thing. But here we go. We're going to jump down to verse 55 watch what it says This is what happens for us because of the resurrection, "Where, O death, is your victory and Where, O death, is your sting. The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Linn Winters: 20:24 Now think about this for a second. Why did God choose raising Jesus from the dead, the resurrection? Why did he choose that to be the defining example of his power. To say, "All right, here's the thing. This is where you're going to hang your faith, this is the thing that's going to change the whole conversation." Why did he choose raising someone from the dead, raising Jesus from the dead, to be the defining moment in our faith? Why not, think about this, why not just go out to the Atlantic Ocean and part that sucker? Just part it really big. He did that with Moses at the Red Sea, but what if he just did it like five times bigger. Why wouldn't that be the demonstration of his power? Why not just go to like the biggest mountain in the Middle East? Pick that thing up and just drop it in America. Why not let that be the definition and the defining statement of his power? Why the death and resurrection of Jesus? Here's what I'm thinking. You and I could've taken heavy equipment and moved a mountain. We could have built a dam and held back water. But you know what you and I will never, never, never, never, never be able to figure out and defeat...death. And God said, look, I am going to take the biggest thing. I'm going to take the hardest thing. I'm going to take the thing that you can never, never, never, never conquer on your own, and I'm going to beat it. So that you will know unequivocally, without a doubt, that whatever your struggle is, whatever is holding on to you, whatever your biggest moment of regret is, whatever the darkest moment of your sin is, whatever that is, I am bigger than that because I beat death.

Linn Winters: 22:07 It's interesting in this passage because it says, "O death, where is your sting?" Now you and I who've lived in Arizona for any length of time, we understand sting right? Matter of fact, this is the perfect time of year, we all start going under our backyards with black lights. And I do this too, I go out in the yard and I start looking for scorpion's and I do all sorts of wonderful things to scorpions. Here's something I don't do. I never pick them up. Because that would be really dumb, right? To pick up a scorpion. So why am I picking this one up? Because we cut the stinger off, and all of a sudden all this guy can do is sit here and look ugly. Because we just removed all the power from the scorpion. Think about what scripture just said, "And Jesus, when he rose from the dead, cut the stinger off of death." Which means he has the capacity to cut the stinger off everything that shackles and chains you. Whether it's a habit, whether it's something that someone did to you, that's the stinger.

Linn Winters: 23:33 Do me a favor. Hold out your hand, look in your hand, and I want you to place in your hand the darkest thing that someone's ever done to you. Place in that hand your biggest regret. That moment you go, boy, if I could do that moment over, I would do that moment over. Put your darkest sin in your hand. Here's what you need to know, whatever that is, Jesus, cut the stinger off. If you would simply surrender it to him because what he did 2000 years ago at Easter was bigger than, stronger than, more powerful than whatever's in your hand. You go, Linn that thing is dark and that thing is scary. I know, but do you realize that's all it can do is sit there and look scary. Because the stinger's gone. That's why there's victory in Easter.

Linn Winters: 24:32 Back to the passage, verse 58. Here's what it says, "Therefore", because of the resurrection, because of this conversation that we're having, because of the victory that Jesus has won for you, "Therefore my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." And you go, whoa, whoa, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Linn you've been talking about surrender, this talks about standing firm. This says, let nothing move you. This feels like contending. This feels like wrestling, and I thought we were surrendering. We are, because here's what you need to know about surrendering. Surrendering is not giving up, it's not giving in, surrendering is giving over. It's taking the parts of my life that I've been in control of, the parts of my life that I haven't surrendered, the parts of my life where I thought I was smarter than God and he didn't understand and I surrender them. I give them over to him to control now and be in charge of.

Linn Winters: 25:55 Let me see if this helps. Freshman year of Bible College. I go out for the football team, now before you get too impressed by that, there were no scholarships at our school. Which means all of us were scrubs. And because I'm that guy that goes big on everything. Anybody want to guess what position I tried out for? Quarterback. And there were two of us, there was Nate and there was me. And I mean the competition was like this, okay, on any given day one of us look better than the other. Ironically, whenever I was not in the backfield trying out for quarterback they put me out at wide receiver while Nate was trying out. Anybody want to guess how well I ran my routes when Nate was trying out? Anybody want to just even take a shot at when that ball was just a little too much in front of me how far I've stuck with my arms up? Right? Or if he threw it a little too high, how high I jumped. Because I was just going to make it obvious to the coach and everybody else who ought to be quarterback. The coach made a horrifyingly bad decision. He made Nate the quarterback. Can I tell you what my intuitive response was? I'm going to win this. I'm going play my position at wide receiver, but I'm not going to reach for anything. I'm not going to try too hard, and then after Nate struggles, it'll become really, really obvious to the coach that he made a bad decision and he'll swap places. Can I tell you what God started doing in my heart? He started saying Linn, you need to surrender. You need to give over the idea of being quarterback. Linn, you need to surrender the idea that you're smarter than the coach and let him be coach. And then you're ready? I need you to be the best wide receiver. I need on every pass that Nathan throws, and it's not quite right, I need you to make up for it. I need you to leap and dive. I don't care if you're scrape up your elbows and get bloody. I don't care. I need you to go as high as you can. You to make Nate look good. Because see, ready, ready, ready, surrendering is not giving up. Surrendering just simply says, I'm not in charge, but now I'm going to be holy in doing what God asks me to do. Did I mention that we went undefeated that year?

Linn Winters: 28:47 Hey guys, I'm just telling you that some of us are here right now, and what God is nudging in your heart is that the most powerful thing you could do right now is raise the white flag. Some of us were in marriages, and the best thing you could do is stop trying to control your husband. And husband, stop trying to fix your wife. And just simply say, Hey God, I surrender, I give over my marriage and I am simply going to be the husband that scripture calls me to be. I'm simply going to be the wife God wants me to be. And guys, can I just tell you? That'd be the most victorious thing you could do in your marriage.

Linn Winters: 29:45 Some of us have habits that we thought if we kept that to ourselves, we'd be filled up. Some of us have taken relationships and said, hey, I think I'm in charge of that. I'm going to date whoever I want to date, or I'm going to treat people however I want, and the most powerful thing you do today is just raise the white flag and say, God, I surrender that. I'm just going to give that over to you and I'm going to ask you to bring me victory in a place in my life that I've brought nothing but defeat. Because, because, because you're ready? Victory comes on the other side of surrender.

Linn Winters: 30:27 There are some of us in this room and you're still trying to figure out who Jesus is, and you've been being a really, really religious person. You might have even been better than most of the people in this room. But the truth is, you've never actually raised the white flag and surrendered. And said, God, I'm not going to earn my way to heaven. I'm going to ask you to give me heaven by forgiving me. Surrender will bring you victory. Guy's want to hear something? Maybe the coolest news a whole day, that the victory that Jesus brings isn't just about sin. It is about sin, but it's not just about sin, That literally Jesus brings us victory in every part of our lives, if we surrender it. Matter of fact, Romans Chapter Eight says this, "In all things, we are more than conquerors through the one who loves us." Which means simply this, that every part of your life could be victory if that part of your life were surrendered to God. Your dating life could be victory, if it was surrendered to God. Your financial life could have victory, if it was surrendered to God. Which means this, here's the deal, I don't care what the circumstances of your life have been up until now, I don't care how deep the unfairness has been. If you would give that you don't have to be a victim, you could be a victor if it was in his hands. Which simply means I don't care how screwed up your family of origin was. I don't care if your dad was a jerk and your mom was worse. I don't care. You don't have to be a victim of that. You could be a victor if you would surrender that and give it to Him. The people you've hated and lived in bitterness, and the truth is they were wrong, but why wouldn't you surrender that? Why wouldn't you wave the white flag and say, God, I just can't afford to be this angry anymore. Would you bring me victory and forgiveness for others? Which means I don't care what nationality you are, what color your skin is, I don't care what unfairness has happened to you because of that. If you were to simply say, Hey God, this is how you made me and then I just surrender that. You'd have victory in that. I don't care how much money you've ever made, or how much money you haven't made. I don't care how deep your darkest sin is. There's victory on the other side of surrender, if you just give it over.

Linn Winters: 32:55 Let's pray. Dear Lord Jesus, we've come to a moment and just honestly is a moment that feels so uncomfortable and so strange to us. Victory feels like something that we should fight for and we should push for, and yet the truth is the greatest victory of all time came when you hung on a cross and surrendered your life for us. And God, I'm just praying that in this room you would walk every one of us right up to that edge and say, will you surrender? And that in that moment we would have the courage to simply say, I'm going to take all that I've been carrying in my life, I'm going to take my sin, I'm going to take the unfairness of my life, I'm going to take what others have done to me, I'm going to take the poorest decisions in my life and I'm simply going to surrender control, and step into the victory that Jesus has bought for me; because of Easter Sunday. And this I pray in Jesus name. Amen.

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