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Jesus Didn't Die for Me

Homer Trecartin


Homer Trecartin

President of the Midle East and North Africa Union (MENA)



  • February 17, 2018
    4:30 PM
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Well I want to start with a with a story she was a Kurdish refugee from Syria trying to survive in a in a nearby country I won't give her name and this is not her picture because I don't want to cause her her family or the work any problems there I don't know much about her experience what she had gone through in leaving Syria and the troubles that she had seen there but I do know that when she arrived in the country nearby that she was determined that her children were going to go to a little school that we had started for Syrian refugee children every day she showed up on the steps of that little school and big the director the letter center children to that school but it was maxed out they had packed every corner with kids and these are kids that hadn't been able to go to school many of them for a couple of years they had seen the horrors and in the last few years of war and and there just wasn't room they wanted to help more but there wasn't room but then. And Adrian is sitting over here the other Adrian is sitting over here smiling because he knows a little about that school you can ask him later how he knows about it he didn't go to it but someone else that he loves very much did work at that school. In. That school has so many needs and opportunities but so little space to work with and finally after months of begging daily to to be able to send their kids there the director found some room and made room for these little kids and the mother was thrilled well soon she heard that there were some Bible study groups meeting among the Syrian refugees in in the evening the. Staff of the school had been visiting the family is regularly just making friends but those friendships had developed into some Bible studies that have been going on some of them for months they were they were these were people that were already in love with Jesus and in love with the Bible at that point but they would keep bringing in new friends as well and so it was a constant change in the mix and this lady somehow learned that those studies were going on and she showed up at one of those studies one evening now that night the topic was the crucifixion of Jesus that is not the topic that we would usually choose Jim to talk with a Muslim about the first time OK that they have been taught all their lives that they just accepted as true they they didn't know anybody questioned it really but they've been taught that Jesus didn't die on the cross God worked a miracle and took Jesus off the cross and took him to heaven and put somebody else on the cross in his place that's what they've been taught so if you're studying the very first conversation you have with them you're studying about the crucifixion of Jesus you're just going to have an argument it's not what we would normally choose to start with but she was there and everybody kind of glanced at each other I imagine I wasn't there but I imagine they glanced at each other and are thinking what should we do and they finally decided to go ahead with the study at the end of the study this lady had heard things that she had never heard before and she sat there in stunned silence at the end of the Bible study tears starting to trickle down her cheeks and finally she choked out the words then then there's hope for me. You know God knows what we don't know we think we have to have all this certain training and all this Experian. Manson it's good it's wonderful we should get all the training we can get but God sometimes up INS our plans and our way of doing things he knew that study that night was what that Syrian mother needed finally there's hope for mean she said in our text that we've been looking at today we talked about reconciling the world to him self all of it every person no group left behind no group that's beyond his reach a few minutes ago we talked about how we are Christ's ambassadors and have been sent to dwell among them in the same way that Jesus came and dwelt among us and now I want to look at the last verse and this time I'm going to read it from the New King James Version it's verse twenty one I think I'll back up a little bit to verse nineteen and read the whole section again that is God was in Christ reconciling the world to him self not imputing their trespasses to them and has committed to us the word of reconciliation now then we're embassadors for Christ as though God were pleading through us we implore you on Christ behalf be reconciled to God for He made him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in him. Now that's a message that we talk about theoretically sometimes but I hope this afternoon it will come alive in our hearts as we think about Jesus becoming sin for us the hope that that Syrian woman finally realize she had and maybe will talk a little more about why she realized she had that hope. But I want to start with another story about a this is not is picture but it's a wild young Turkish Muslim that I know Larry well who a number of years ago he's not so young anymore but a number of years ago he was while he was young he was working in a bar Muslims don't normally work in bars but he was working in a bar he hated God he caroused he drank he hated God and he hated Christians he said Christians would come into his bar often wearing a big crucifix and dancing in flirting incur OWS ing with the girls and drinking and everything like everybody else he said I hate Christians they're such phoneys they act like they're religious and one part of their life and in other parts they're just like everybody else I hate Christians but one day a German tourist came into his hotel. And this guy was he was different he was really different fact he was downright strange. He didn't drink he didn't carouse He didn't dance in the bar he was always friendly with everybody he was never hung over and grumpy in the morning he was weird. This young man had never seen anybody like him before and I think Jim and and Joyce know who it is but after is I would probably share with you who it was and more of the things except this is being recorded and put on audio verse and I'm just not wanting to share some of those details for everybody else but after this and this German tourist had been there for two weeks he left and went back home and that was part of the part of the way that job went for this young wild Turkish Muslim he said people would come into his hotel be there a few days and gone and he'd never see them again but the next year the guy showed up again for his two week vacation. The young man started making conversation with him and he couldn't understand why he was so different from everybody else the third year the man came again and by then the young Muslim and the German tourist were having bible studies together and talking quite a lot and writing in between when the when the German tourist would go back home was asking many questions I asked this young man a few years ago when I first met him again not so young today but back then he had been young and I said to him what was it that made the difference why did you leave being a non practicing Muslim and become a stay faithful Seventh-Day Adventist what made the difference why would you do that he said well first of all no question it was that man's friendship he said I never would have had any interest whatsoever. That I watched him for three years and got to be as friend and then I was willing to listen more but then tears started coming down his eyes as he was talking to me and he said all my life I thought I had to balance the scales I thought I had to do enough I had been taught as a Muslim he had been taught that he had to do enough good deeds staf said is bad deeds and then he might have hope of salvation that's why some. Terrorist organizations will recruit people saying oh you can get really a lot of credit if you'll go and do this for us and that credit can offset your bad deeds and then you might have hope of salvation he said I couldn't do it I couldn't do enough good deeds staf set my bad deeds and so I finally just gave up and said fool you with this I'm not having anything to do with God or religion or anything anymore I'm just going to live and do whatever I want to do he said one day as we were talking and I'd already developed a friendship with that man he said one day that man said to me you don't have to balance the scales God doesn't ask you to balance the scales Jesus balance the scales for you and he said it was it was life transforming to him to he to think of that concept you mean God sent Jesus to baptize to balance the scales for me he said Now I can I can live for God All those things that I didn't want to do before I do them now not to earn God's love not to balance the scales but because I love him because he balance the scales for me I do those things now because he balance the scales I think that's an awesome way to put it you know years later. I asked that not so young man anymore how his family felt about it and he said Well at first they were very upset I had become a heathen Christian but now my mother says admin a student take my son away from me they gave him back to me he used to hate God and live a wild life but now he loves God in his faithful to his family had been a scab my son back to me well someday I hope she will learn his mother that Jesus came to balance the scales but to me that's a powerful illustration of what we believe but much of the world around us doesn't know that they don't believe that Jesus balance the scales for them even the Christian world and I I had. Never grasped that growing up and for many years I thought all Christians believe that Jesus became sin for us died for us balance the scales for us but you know a few years ago fifteen years ago Barbara and I were living in Cyprus working there it's hard to call Cyprus a mission posting it is a beautiful place we loved Cyprus and we loved Lebanon too but we love Cyprus and just a gorgeous gorgeous place I can see why many people from the Middle East in Cyprus settle in Southern California I don't know Joyce if it's if it if they love Southern California because they're Middle Eastern or if they you know I'm not sure that which is first but anyway it's a wonderful place for Middle Easterners to come and we love the Middle East because we also love California but we were living there in Cyprus and working in the Middle East for several years and one day we went shopping in downtown Nicosia left casea we call it it's it's a walled city fact it's one of the few remaining capital cities of a country that still has a wall all the way around it and we would go down there shopping in this is not the man's picture I was embarrassed to take the man's picture so I had to find another one to put up there but as Barber and I walked into the one of the little shops on on leave dressed street there in the center of town walked into the shop and I knew immediately that we were in a Greek Orthodox shop I knew it was greet because the man had the Greek eyebrows and nose and everything I knew that he was Greek I knew he was orthodox because he had big crucifix around his neck and crucifixes and icons all around the walls of the shop and and we were making conversation he was he spoke good English he was pleasant he was hoping for a big. Sale and as we talked he said so how much longer are you in Cyprus and I said oh I don't know probably a few years a few years yeah I said he said Well are you here on vacation I said No I live here I work here you you work here he said I said Yeah I said What do you do I said well I work for the Middle East Association OK that's the legal name of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Cyprus that's the way it's registered and I wasn't exactly sure what I should say to him so I just used the legal incorporation name the Middle East so she ation OK said what's that I said well it's the headquarters of the Seventh Day Adventist Church church he said and I knew what he was thinking when he spat out the word church East in his mind there is only one church the Greek Orthodox Church you're either Greek Orthodox or you're heretic one of the other and church says What do you believe anyway Well I put a little prayer in my heart and I said I believe that Jesus came and died for me and rose again and he's coming soon to take all that love Him to happen but I had already in those few words lost him he was standing there staring past me out the door you know that kind of vacant look you just looking out the door and he says wistfully I wish I knew that. I wish I knew that Jesus died for me. And I'm thinking wait a bit here's a man wearing a big crucifix and isn't that what it means to be a Christian to believe that Jesus died for you and we talked a few more minutes and and I left still puzzled wondering what he was saying when he said he wished he knew Jesus died for him well a few months a few months went by and Carolyn My my Lebanese. Accountant who works there in Lebanon now but she was with us in Cyprus Carolyn came excitedly to work one day and she said Pastor Homer could I share something for worship this morning well Carolyn is usually quite quiet and doesn't say much but I said yes I'd be happy to have you steer something she said I have an experience I've just got to tell somebody about it let me tell you it worship so Caroline told us this story she had been wanting to reach out to an older gree neighbor that she had been making friends with her they'd been talking a lot for months they'd shared food and different things but she wanted to do more than that and so Carolyn said I had an idea I asked my neighbor lady again this is not a picture of her but it's very typical very similar said asked my neighbor lady. Would you help me learn Greek by helping me read the Bible in Greek and the lady said what Bible you going to read you can read that had been a spiral and Carolyn said no no we don't have an ad business Bible will use your bible I don't have a Bible lady said I never read the Bible Well here's a here's a Greek Orthodox lady that goes to church at least five times a week and wears a crucifix and has icons over her door an inner house but she's never owned a Bible never read the Bible before by the way in Cyprus the Greek chorus Orthodox their sermons and talks are in a an older form of Greek in the people only understand about forty percent so if you only understood about four words out of every ten you really wouldn't have much of an idea what was being talked about so they knew very little about the bible christians but knew little about the Bible so Carolyn and this lady went down to the local Greek bookstore and they bought two great Bibles. And Caroline would carefully choose the verses and they would sit down together once a week in and Caroline would laboriously read the words in Greek and the lady would help her with her pronunciation and as they finished the verse Caroline would turn to her neighbor and say So what does it mean what did we just free Well Carolyn knew exactly what they had just read she had read it in Arabic she'd read it in English should read it in French she even read it several times in Greek before she came but she wanted the lady to think about what it meant so the lady would think OK let's read it again and they'd read it again in the lady and say well I don't know I think it's saying this and then Caroline would have a chance to talk with her about that verse and Carolyn had group the verses in had just carefully selected what they would read one day. The neighbor showed up at her house a different day not their normal Bible study day in the neighbor had her Bible under her arm and she said after the pleasantries at the door she said Caroline I know this isn't the day that we usually read our Bibles but but do you have a few minutes could we read the Bible again today I mean the lady was falling in love with the Bible and that's what Carolyn had wanted to happen so they did they sat down and read the Bible that day to. One day as they were reading the verses Carolyn had picked were some of our favorites about heaven. And as they were reading the verses about heaven Carolyn just couldn't even help herself she just exclaimed Oh isn't that wonderful Don't you just long for Jesus to come so we can go to heaven and see all that and the lady cut her short and said No Caroline No I don't want Jesus to come and Carolyn said wait a minute why she said no I don't want Jesus to come because when he comes I'm not going there I'm going to the other place Carolyn said no way to. Remember a few days ago we read the verses about Jesus coming to die for us so we don't have to go to the other place the lady looked at her puzzled but almost like Carolyn Don't you understand she said Carolyn Jesus didn't die for us Jesus died for the Saints if we can get to be good enough to be a saint then Jesus died for us but Jesus didn't die for the rest of us. I tell you I am so thankful that we know Jesus died for us but there are many around us who don't really know for sure if Jesus died for them and they're not just Muslims and Buddhists and Jews and Hindus they're even our fellow Christians many times. By the way some of you must read Greek can anybody read that verse sixteen nobody maybe it's not big enough. Verse verse sixteen is it's John three sixteen. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life is not a wonderful hope Manning don't believe that don't know that I'm thankful that Jesus came and died for me I don't have to get to be good enough to be a saint before his death covers me I don't have to balance the scales myself and then have hope of salvation today Jesus died for me while I was still a sinner Now this is. This is our daughter Becky and her husband Jimmy I showed you a picture of him this morning in our grandsons two of our grandsons we have seven grandchildren but these are the two youngest ones Andras and Lucas and and I want to tell you a little story about our son in law Jimmy he grew up in Columbia. Jimmy. Well Jimmy's mother was eleven when she eloped with a man who was thirty and married him. She moved to southern Colombia and worked in the cocaine fields and then a few years went by and he was shot and killed during a drug raid there in southern Colombia and she was left a widow at age sixteen with three kids. Day after day Jimmy can remember her leaving his two sisters with someone else to take care of them and she would take Jimmy out into the cocaine fields with her he can still remember picking cocaine he can remember at four years old being abused and watching his mother be abused over and over again in the cocaine. Fields he can also remember fighting with her back at home over kids' toys because she was still just a sixteen year old kid but a mother of three and a widow. Finally they moved away from the cocaine fields and Jimmy's mother would make popsicles and bread dough and give them to Jimmy and at six years old he would go out on the streets trying to sell popsicles before they melted and bread dough that people could use to make a little money for the family then an admin a scoll Porter begin to visit the family he knew there was no way he could sell any books to that family they were too poor but he kept visiting anyway begin to be friend them bring them special treats and food and get things for them when they needed it he began to take Jim in his sister's Sabbath school once in a while and then regularly to Sabbath school and church eventually he paid to help Jimmy and his sister go to school and on to college and today Jimmy is a pastor at the Seabrook church now is pastored several places all because a call Porter followed Christ's method of adventurous not only sold books he mingled with the people he met their needs he won their confidence and little by little he showed them that Jesus had balance the scales for them. Jimmy's life was changed our life has been touched in affected because somebody just lived their life to benefit the people around them. We have people around us today that are in almost the same situation as Jimmy's family are we reaching out to them. I want to read to you too short but powerful quotes. This one's from the book lift him up Mrs White says if he had seen talking about God If God had seen that angels who are perfect would have done the work for the fallen race better than men he would have committed it to them but instead of this he sent the needed assistance by poor weak erring mortals who having like infirmities as their fellow men are best prepared to help them is not powerful who are best prepared to help the people of the world not angels if God could finish the work with Angel visits he would send one to everybody tonight in need come tomorrow but he can't finish the work with angels he needs us to be as ambassadors poor weak erring mortals. Here's the next quote. The Lord has long been waiting for human instrumentalities through whom he could work how much longer shall heavenly agencies be obliged to wait for human agents who respond to the words of Christ go work to day in my vineyard Jesus wants to come he's tired of seeing what goes on in the cocaine fields or the villages and houses around us you know as I flew in a few days couple days ago to Los Angeles looked down on the city and I thought you know here I am looking at all these tiny little cars and little bitty houses and parks and schools and streets and businesses but God looks down and he knows the people living in every one of those houses he knows when somebody is being abused he knows when a family is happy he knows the good in the bad about everything and he longs to come he wants to finish the work can come and the fastest most effective thing in. Can do is to ask us to do it if he has to use crying stones or dreams an angel visits the work will take many years longer and far fewer people will be saved than if we're willing he doesn't ask us to get a degree in theology that's wonderful for some people but not for all of us God just asks us to live our lives to mingle meet needs when confidence and as there is opportunity invite them to follow Jesus he's waiting longing for human agents who respond to his call to be embassadors to go and live among them want to read our text one more time. And that is that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself not imputing their trespasses to them and has committed to us the word of reconciliation now then we are ambassadors for Christ as though God were pleading through us we implore you on Christ behalf be reconciled to God for He made him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him God is reconciling the whole world every people group he wants to have in Heaven with Him You and I have been sent as him Bassem as his ambassadors to represent Him to dwell among them to come and live as he lived among the people and Jesus became sin for me. He balance the scales for me and that wonderful news is something that the people around me also need to hear are you willing to accept it yourself and then watch for opportunities to share it with others. Let's pray. Father God. I'm so thankful. For a call porter who came and lived among the people in a little village in Colombia and touched a family of that could never hope to buy anything from him that he would never expect to make him rich or famous or or anything he just touched their lives and helped in any way he could and to day I don't even know his name but his life his work has touched my life and family and thankful that each of us have been placed on this earth today here where we are to live our lives among the people to watch for ways to mingle and meet their needs and become their friend and win their confidence and when ever we do that there will be opportunities for us to invite them to follow Jesus where Jacqueline shared with me about some of her classmates and some of the experiences that some of those non-Christian classmates are having with her as they're beginning to ask questions and opening up to her friendship Lord that's what you ask us to do today be friends to the people around us and let you take responsibility for the results it's time for Jesus to come I don't know how the millions are going to hear who still need to hear but you haven't asked me to be responsible for that you've asked me to be a witness for you today wherever I am that doesn't mean preaching it means living and touching the lives of the people around us we just pray that you will help each of us to accept that wonderful gift that you have given us of balancing the scales for us of becoming sin for us and then help us to watch for how we can help others and us that same. On to the. Goal with us now today we are a. Jesus in. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermon or leave a Visit W W W audio verse or.


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