?The Problem with Statues?? Easter Sunday 8:30 and 10:30 Lake Murray Presbyterian Dr. Ben Sloan For a video of this sermon click here: http://youtu.be/TG0XUB6aqys
Christ the Redeemer Statue towers over Rio Di Janeiro on top of a mountain 98 feet tall with his arms reaching out 92 feet.? It was completed in 1931 in what would cost in today?s funds $3.3 million.? It is beautiful, inspiring.? But it cannot talk.? It is a monument to history.? ???Is your faith like that statue?? Is it just a monument to the past?? Is your faith dead to you- a piece of concrete that may encourage you- but doesn?t really make a difference in your life??? Christ is not a dead statue.? ?The church is not just a monument to the memory of Christ trying to follow His example of being a good person.? God is not dead.? That is what Easter is all about.? The Christian faith is not just a dream or an attempt to fulfill the philosophy of? a great but dead person.
- MADE IN OUR IMAGE- A statue is a graven image. The Bible speaks of not having a carved or graven statue to worship because it is a limited picture of God. It was a good idea back in the day, and it is still a good idea today. Idols make us think we can control them.? There are many ways this is true, but let me mention two:? 1. They are made in our image, and 2. We have control over them. 1. A statue is made in our image.? It is by our limited thinking and conception that we make them.? It is stagnant. The great thing about the God of the Jews and Christians is that we do not limit god to what we think of Him.? Isaiah says, as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my thoughts not your thoughts.?? Today there are many people who think they can make up their own God no matter what the scriptures say.? There is real danger in thinking we create God instead of God creating us- and it shows in how we listen to what God has said. 2. We can control a statue- fix it up, tear it down, take all or some, or a picture of it with us.? Have a cross on the door, or a statue in your garden, makes one think that we are religious people.? Having a symbol of God is not the same as having the reality of God in your life.? If that were so, we would just mail out or pass out crosses to everyone and consider that they are now believers.? But in reality, what counts is do you know the LIVING GOD?? Having? a fake god in your back pocket doesn?t count for much.?? But if Jesus controls death- who do we want to be in control?? Us or Him??? We are not God. II. LIMITS OF STATUES In 2008 the Christ the Redeemer statue was struck by lightning and some of the fingers were damaged.? Last year in January it was also hit by lightning and a finger fell off.? The huge statue could not withstand the storms of life.? If you limit Jesus, your faith will not withstand the storms of life either.?? ????? Statues are safe.? They cannot effect you.? They cannot move you, they cannot encourage you to really do the right thing.? They cannot answer your prayers.? They cannot listen.? Many people want a dead Jesus.? A dead Jesus was just a good man who was martyred.? A dead Jesus meant that His claims recorded in scripture to be God in the flesh are false.? A dead Jesus means that the miracles of Jesus cannot challenge our expectations.? But if Jesus is alive, expect the unexpected.? If Jesus is really alive, then expect to have a prayer answered.? Expect that ethics matter.
III. THE LIVING JESUS What if Christ is alive?? What difference does that make?? It makes all the difference. 1. He is knowable- It is possible to not just know about God- it is possible to have a relationship with Him.? We may not only know Him- but He also knows us.? I used to think that believing in Jesus is just a philosophy or a system of ethics.? But believing in Jesus is a relationship with the living God.? Having faith does not mean knowing about God as much as knowing God and having a relationship with Him. 2. He is lovable- Jesus said we are to love God.? We do not love a dead God but a living God.? This is why Paul could say who can separate us from the love of God- He is alive. 3. The hope we have for eternal life is made real-? The hope of life beyond the grave is not just wishful thinking.? The scriptures speak of Jesus life as a deposit of our hope being fulfilled.? It is the start of many coming to eternal life.? The resurrection means that the hopelessness of death and the hopelessness of the cross- seemingly meaningless suffering has hope. There is no other major religious leader who claimed to be God as Jesus did or whose followers claimed he rose from the dead as Jesus? followers did.?? That brings up the fourth thing- 4. We can have courage.? Courage to not be afraid of the powers of the world.? The strongest government in history killed Jesus.? No government is stronger than He is .? After the resurrection Jesus? followers went from cowering in the upper room to going into all the world to speak to any stranger about their living Jesus.
My granddaughter was having some bad dreams one night when we were up there.? I told her that we would be right next door in the next room.? But I also told her Jesus was there with us and would also be in the room with her.? She didn?t believe me.? She said, ?Jesus is in the cemetery.?? She had seen a statue of Jesus in the cemetery.? I said, ?No honey, Jesus is alive.? His statue may be in the cemetery but the real Jesus is alive and hears our prayers and sees us even in the dark.?? That night she went to sleep without any bad dreams.? ?Jesus is not a monument in the cemetery, on a hill, or in your mind.? Jesus is the living God that you need to know and love.