LOVE STORIES SERMON SERIES
THE HEARTBEAT OF GOD
MARCH 8, 1998
Lisa and I have been married for 15 years. After awhile we have kind of developed our own morse code. And let me explain what I am talking about.
A couple of weeks ago we were sitting in a darkened movie theater and Lisa tapped me three times on the hand. Tap. Tap. Tap. That means, I love you. And she waited for my response. So in our little love language, I responded with four taps on her hand. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Which means, I love you, too. Three taps, I love you. Four taps in response, I love you, too. We have been doing this for a long while. We sometimes do it on soft drink cans, tables, car windows and, now, our children get involved in it. Sometimes they mess the morse code up, beating on anything.
You know when Jesus Christ lived a sinless life and died a sacrificial death on the cross for your sins and mine and rose again, in a real way, He said “tap, tap, tap”, I love you. And He waits for our response. Today we have an opportunity through this service, through our lives and through communion to respond to His tap, tap, tap by saying I love You, too.
Have you said that to the Lord recently? Are you saying that at work? Are you saying that in relationships? Are you saying that as you live your life? Luke 11 describes the last meal that Christ was having with the twelve. He was there with the disciples and after supper He took a couple of common elements. He took some bread, broke it and passed it around. And I can just hear the disciples saying among themselves, “What is He doing now? He is taking bread and passing it out. What is going on here?” Then Jesus held up the bread and said, “This bread represents my body which will be given for you. As long as you eat it, remember me.” Do it regularly, do it systematically and do it intentionally.
Then He took another common element of the meal. He took some wine and He passed it around. And He said, “This represents my blood which will be poured out for you. Every time you drink it, remember Me.” He said to do it regularly, systematically and intentionally. By this time, the disciples heads were spinning. They were saying, “Jesus, You mean we are going to have to work to remember You? How could be forget You? You are our Lord. You are our savior, our master, the Messiah, God’s son. We couldn’t forget You.” Jesus knew the disciples better than they knew themselves. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows that we have a tendency over time to sort of forget the meaning and the significance and the power of the cross. He knows it is easy for us to get so involved in doing deals, dashing to appointments and driving kids to soccer practice that the cross and what Jesus secured for us on Calvary 2,000 years ago begins to sort of fade. And when that memory begins to fade, our spiritual confidence begins to fade. And as our spiritual confidence begins to fade, our worship begins to fade. And then our boldness begins to fade. So Jesus comes along and says, “I want you to remember Me. I want you to remember my “tap, tap, tap”, my, I love you.”
Jesus was the master communicator. He had the ability to take complex things and to communicate them in a simple way. Albert Einstein once said you don’t really understand something unless you can explain it in an understandable way. And Jesus took a couple of things that everyone could connect with, liquid and bread and He compared the most awesome act in history, the most complex thing ever recorded, His death, burial and resurrection to wine and to bread. He could have easily talked over the disciple’s heads, but He made the cosmic understandable to the common man and woman. He took the complex and made it simple. The most profound thoughts and writings are always the most simple and understandable.
The great thing about Jesus is that He didn’t just say contemplate the cross. Think about it. He said, “Here it is in a real and tangible way. Here is the bread. Here is the wine. The bread is My body. The wine represents My blood.” The elements that He chose to represent Himself are elements of necessity, of sustenance, because we pretty much survive on food and liquid. And I like it, too, that Jesus didn’t say just to check out the elements at a distance or just to believe in them or see them. We don’t serve a God like that. We don’t serve an at-a-distance God. Jesus said, “I want you to eat them.” They are penetrating elements. You see, Christ wants to penetrate your heart and my heart. He wants to penetrate your life and my life. He wants to penetrate your purpose and my purpose. That is how much the Lord loves you and that’s how much the Lord loves me. The bread represents the body. The juice represents the blood.
Now most of you know, if you hang around here very much, that I am kind of a health food fanatic. Several years ago I went to a health fair and took a little physical. As part of the physical some blood work done. I was pretty confident what the results would be since, at the time, I was running marathons, lifting weights and really watching my diet. So I thought that I would have a great showing when I got the blood test back. Well, my close friend actually ran the health fair and he decided to play a cruel trick on me. He took the results of my blood work and doctored them up with the computer. He put my cholesterol at 580 and my HDL and LDL all out of whack. He put my triglycerides at dangerous levels. He had a grim expression when he said, “Ed, it is sad but I want to give you your blood work. You look like you are in great shape but here goes….” I thought this couldn’t be true. All of the carrot juice and bean curd and weight pumping and training, all for nothing. And then he busted out laughing. “Ha ha, the joke is on you. Here is your test.” I was freaking out. You know why? Because I realized that life is in the blood. It is true physically. It is also true spiritually, isn’t it? Because Christ sacrificed His body, He spilled His blood for your sins and mine so we can have life in this existence and also in eternity.
The first sounds I awoke to this morning were the sounds of my children in our bedroom saying, “Mommy and Daddy, it’s snowing. It’s snowing. It’s snowing.” There is something exciting about snow, especially when children are around. When you look at snow, there is a freshness there, a vitality, a cleansing aspect. And this morning as I was going over today’s message, I thought about Isaiah 1:18. The prophet wrote, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow.” So when you think about snow, when you see those snow flakes, it should cause you to worship God because Jesus loved you and me so much that He died for our sins and rose again. That is why He tells us in I Corinthians 11:28. “Let a man examine himself and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” You see as we partake in communion, we are to take stock in ourselves as we take stock in the Lord. We are to examine ourselves. We are to confess our sins before God. We are to thank Him for this indescribable gift. We are to worship Him for the past, the present, the future. All of this should take place while we are taking and participating in communion.
So today, in a real way, we see again Christ’s tap, tap, tap. And the question that hangs in the balance is, will your return His taps? Will you return His beat with I love you, too? He wants you to. Let’s do it together as we feel the heartbeat of heaven.
Let’s bow our heads as we prepare for a time of prayer as we prepare for this time of communion with God.
Jesus, right now I just thank you from the bottom of my heart for what You have done for me. And also, God, for what you have done collectively for every person who has ever been born. I thank You that because of your forgiveness and because of your spilled blood and because of your resurrection that our sins can be as white as snow. I pray now during this time of worship and during this time of meditation that we each take stock in ourselves, that we examine ourselves. And also God we take stock and examine what You have done for us. It is so easy, God, to dash to appointments and to drive kids to soccer practice and, therefore, to miss the meaning and the power and the significance of the cross. But right now, God, we want to stop, to press the pause button and have a time to express our gratitude to You. For Christ’s sake we pray. Amen.
Jesus said, “This is My body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”
Jesus said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood.” This word covenant means a relationship in which one party established terms which the other party either accepted or rejected. The terms are simply, Christ bridging that cosmic chasm by His sacrificial death on the cross for all of the world’s sins. And we either accept this or reject it. So He said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
Our Lord said some powerful words in Revelation 3:20. I think it is a great text to conclude our time of worship together. He said, “Behold I stand at the door of your life and knock. If you open the door, I will come in and dine with you and you with me.” Christ, Himself, is knocking on the door for many people in this service today. I don’t know who I am talking to, but I know Christ has been knocking and He knocks just three times. Tap. Tap. Tap. I love you. He just knocks three times. I love you. And that is the heartbeat of heaven. And then Jesus waits by the door. Now we have an opportunity to either open the door or not. We control whether He enters our lives or not. We control whether He dines with us or not. It is my prayer that many of you this morning would open the door of your life and respond to the heartbeat of heaven, that you would respond by saying, I love you too. Have you done that?
Let’s bow our heads together. I want to pray a prayer right now and I believe that it is a prayer for many in our midst who need to make this decision. You can look back over the course of your life and see that Jesus has been knocking through situations, through a friendship, through a Bible study, through an event. And He is simply saying I love you. And He is waiting for your response. What is it going to be? I want to give you a chance right now to receive, to accept this covenant that was secured 2,000 years ago. Just say these words with me and you can know Christ personally. But I can’t do it for you, you have to do it yourself.
God, I want to admit what You already know, that I have messed up. I have said things that were not true. I have cheated. I have thought some impure thoughts. My moral scorecard, God, has a lot of marks on it. I admit to You what You know, that I am a sinner. I have turned from that and I believe to the best of my knowledge, God, that you sent Jesus to die on the cross for my sins and rise again. I believe you sent Him and I believe that today we have seen it in a tangible way through the juice and the bread. I believe that and I receive that. I ask Christ to come into my life.
If you are saying this for the first time, saying it from the depth of your being, I am going to ask you to do something right now. No one looking at all. I want you to turn your head and make eye contact with me so I can know and God can know that you have made this decision. Thank God. Many people are looking this way. Many, many here are saying, “Ed, I am making this commitment to receive Christ.”
Also I want to pray for others here who have made this decision but yet, due to doing deals and dashing around from appointment to appointment, have kind of forgotten to focus on the power and the purpose of the cross. Maybe today the Lord, Himself has renewed the significance of your salvation. Maybe your prayer is that you want God to help you carry out this feeling, this reality into a darkened world that doesn’t know Him, that is basically clueless. I pray that because of this time together your life will never be the same.
God, we just thank you again for the opportunity we have week in and week out to express our gratitude and our feelings to You. For Christ’s sake we pray. Amen.