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Our Dark Hours                Easter approach     Killen    3/17/24

Matthew 27:45-50   nkjv

45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” 47 Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!” 48 Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink.49 The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.

❓ What is one of the darkest times you have ever faced❓    ❓Can you remember a time when God carried you when you couldn't walk❓

⭐  We all face dark days.     

➢   Days of uncertainty     ➢   Frightening times>  Fearful times > Painful      ➢   When someone might feel so trapped by the darkness of circumstances that they can’t see any light or find any joy to see their way out. 

💥   Easter is a season of great joy and rejoicing over what God has done for us!!     

➢   A time reminding us of God’s great love and redemption Jesus paid for us all!

💥   BUT  Easter is also a reminder that our walk with Jesus doesn’t exempt us from having to bear our own cross from time to time.  

Elizabeth Elliot 👉 To be a follower of the Crucified Christ means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross. And the cross always entails loss.   👈

  • Luke 9:23-24 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.
  • 2 Timothy 2:3-4 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.

  So Easter is a time of celebrating our victory over sin and death through the redemption of Christ,

  • But it is also our reminder of the victory we have over the darkness and trials of this world.
  • The victory Christ gives us despite what we face or the hard times we might have to endure while we live here on earth.

⭐    What did Jesus mean by “forsaken”.  

Definition  The word He used:> The base word means to abandon or desert someone.   Not just leave someone but to leave them in straits.  Leave them in dire need.    “Common use was to abandon unto Hades”  hopelessness.

💥💥 I believe Jesus spoke these words not so much out of His own distress and emotions, but for our benefit.

> The world would look at it and say:  👉“See God left Him when He needed Him the most!”   You can’t trust God to help when times are tough.

> But the believer will look at it and say: 👉See Jesus experienced this too, and God delivered Him.  

  • Going through this brought redemption for all humanity and victory for Himself. 
  • God brought hope into a hopeless situation and caused it all to work together for the good!

⭐   What does this teach us about our dark times?

A. No one is exempt from going through difficult and hard times.  (Jesus did)> Jesus was turned on, forsaken and crucified.   We are not always spared emotional stress.- It is not sin or the sign of a weak heart to hurt and have emotional pain!

B. God will strengthen us to face these hard times.    > We can make it through the toughest and darkest hours because God will prepare us.John 12:27: “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 

C. Sometimes by going through trials and sacrifices we can help people the most and bring the most glory to God!   👉 Someone once said, “It’s ok to be a glowstick: sometimes we need to break before we shine!” 👈

💥 Do we believe we are not to have any troubles in life?   

  • We are not spared from going through tribulations, but we are spared how the outcome will affect us.  In it we may be challenged to despair, but afterward we can have peace that passes all understanding.

>   John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

>   Hebrews 12:11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

>   2 Corinthians 4:9  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

>   John 12:28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”

💥💥 What does this Easter message teach us about going through the hard times?

I. Be prepared for the hard times! (v46)   Believe, pray and learn about God so that you can be instant in season and out of season, at all times!    It was Jesus’ life with the Father that prepared Him for all He would face in life from the beginning (wilderness of temptation)  to the end (the crucifixion).> Be born again.  Dedicate your life to Christ > Read, study, worship, help others.God is not punishing you; He is preparing you. Trust God, not your pain!  Author ?It’s not about being fearful, but being ready to respond in the right way!  

II. Help those going through the same things. (Luke 23:42-43) 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”   43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”> It can take our eyes off ourself and our own hardships (that satan wants us to focus on) and refocus our attention on helping.  It can turn a negative into a positive.  > He saw Jesus was in the same situation!  The thief asked Jesus on the cross.

III. Forgiving others! Do not let bitterness poison your life! (Luke 23:34) And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.  > Jesus could have been bitter and unforgiving. > I would have wanted to fry one of them!Our example: 1 Peter 2:21-23. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;

IV. Never believe that God will not accept you or be with you! (Luke 23:46) 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.”] Having said this, He breathed His last.> Jesus knew that despite His feelings or temptations, God’s word promised to see Him through.> Jesus knew that no matter what earthly sins were now upon Him, God would still receive Him.> Jesus knew no matter how dark and how unable it was for Him to see God from the cross, He knew God’s promises were still with Him and soon would restore Him to His father.