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FILLING OUR CUPS WITH JESUS CHRIST AND THE WILL OF GOD

A SERMON AND SPECIAL SERVICE FOR GOOD FRIDAY

ORIGINALLY CELEBRATED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS

9 APRIL 1993

Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES:

Isaiah 11:9
Matthew 6:10
        18:21-22
        26:64
Mark 15:34
Luke 22:19-20, 42
        23:34,
        39-43, 46
John 18:10-11
        19:26-28, 30

The music and arrangement of the introit "God Life" and the "Sayings of Jesus" were composed by John E. Hallenbeck.

Introit: "God Life" from Isaiah 11:9

Homily:

So often we say that we wish things were better, but we fail to do anything about it because we think our effort will be as a cup of water added to the ocean.

However, a cup full of our best efforts can accomplish great things.

As part of The Lord's Prayer, don’t we pray for a better way of life, even as heaven here on earth? (Matthew 6:10)

10. Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

Therefore, if we mean what we pray for, then we must also make the effort to fill our cups with whatever we can do to accomplish that goal.

The prophet Isaiah gave us just such a glimpse into kingdom living in the message contained in our introit from 11:9.

9. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain,

For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD

As the waters cover the sea.

The earth, alone, is a gigantic cup to fill; but if each of us would just fill our own cup, by not hurting or destroying, we could make a real difference.

Let us pray.

Invocation:

Hymn: Fill My Cup, Lord

Hymn: Lead Me to Calvary

Homily:

Here is where we begin to learn how to fill our own cups: we must remember Jesus Christ's journey to Calvary, and then we must be willing to make that journey ourselves.

We must begin by taking Jesus into our hearts and souls, that we would sense His presence at all times.

We, in essence, are to fill the cup made of ourselves with Jesus, and we are to be filled to overflowing.

This is the message He gave us and the apostles in Luke 22:19:

19. And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."

Choir and Organ Response: Luke 22:19

Homily:

But not everyone is willing to fill his or her cup, or to receive a cup from the Lord.

In Luke 22:20, the Lord refers to Himself as the cup of a new covenant in His own blood, by comparing Himself to a cup of wine.

Jesus poured Himself out for us, to cover the sins of everyone who would receive this cup from Him.

As we are told:

20. And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.

Choir and Organ Response: Luke 22:20

Homily:

Throughout our lives, we are given various responsibilities; some are very enjoyable and others are not so enjoyable, and at times we may even be given a bitter cup of responsibility that we would rather not accept.

It is at times like these that we must make a decision: whether to do what we know is the proper thing, or to turn away.

Jesus was given such a cup for our benefit.

Jesus well knew of the horrible pain and suffering connected with crucifixion and, as a man, He did not want to suffer so; yet at the same time He knew why He must die.

He knew that without His atoning death, none of us could have our sins forgiven or be saved.

Thus, Jesus prayed, as recorded in Luke 22:42,

42. saying, "Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done."

Choir and Organ Response: Luke 22:42

Homily:

Once Jesus had reconciled within Himself, that He indeed must drink this cup of suffering and death, He found Himself faced with another problem.

Those who loved His physical presence with them didn't want Him to leave, even if it meant a better life for all of them later on.

In fact, Peter was so zealous that his cup, Jesus, might be taken away, that he drew a sword to protect Him (John 18:10).

10. Simon Peter therefore having a sword, drew it, and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus.

But listen to what Jesus said to Peter, as recorded in John 18:11, about His own responsibility; and, if we care to accept it, the way we should respond to our own responsibilities.

And as we hear Jesus' words, remember carefully the things we talked about as we opened our service this evening: about there not being any hurting or destroying in all of God's holy mountain.

11. Jesus therefore said to Peter, "Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?"

Choir and Organ Response: John 18:11

Homily:

Even as Jesus moved closer and closer to having the cup of His suffering and death fulfilled, and even as He stood before His accusers, He spoke of the cup that He would bring back from heaven for us.

He let the cup of the false righteousness of the high priest and the others flow off Him, as water off a duck’s back.

The cup of Jesus is the cup of our hope.

This is the cup that should help us live better lives as Christians today.

Hear what Jesus said, as recorded in Matthew 26:64:

64. Jesus said to him, "You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven."

Choir and Organ Response: Matthew 26:64

Homily:

And so, after more accusations, Jesus was led away to be crucified.

Hymn: Were You There

Homily:

So often, as human beings, we put limits on our forgiveness.

In Matthew 18:21, Peter questions the Lord as to how often he should forgive someone. And thinking that he was being very generous, Peter suggested seven times.

21. Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?

But when the Lord answered his question, He said up to seventy times seven or, in essence, we are never to run out of forgiveness. (Matthew 18:22)

22. Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

But here, evil men have falsely accused Jesus, and others have hurled abuses at Him, and still others have nailed Him to a cross.

Surely this would justify not forgiving someone; but not in Jesus' eyes, even with all His pain, as we are told in Luke 23:34.

34. But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.

Choir and Organ Response: Luke 23:34

Homily:

Jesus wasn't the only one suffering upon a cross that day almost 2,000 years ago.

There were two criminals upon their own crosses.

And in his pain and suffering, one of these men started to berate Jesus for not saving Himself or them; but the other man, though suffering in the same way, realized he was a sinner who was being justly punished, and rebuked the other (Luke 23:39-41).

39. And one of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, "Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!"

40. But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?

41. "And we indeed justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong."

This second man, who was resolved to drink his cup of punishment, then turned to Jesus and said, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!" (Luke 23:42)

Note how Jesus responded, as recorded in Luke 23:43, exchanging this man's cup of punishment for a cup of grace:

43. And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."

Choir and Organ Response: Luke 23:43

Homily:

There are times when we allow our present situations to overwhelm us, and we seem unable to focus on anything else.

We have no room left in our cups for anything additional.

In this state of mind, we reject the idea of taking our concerns to God, and we have little or no concern for anyone else.

But even while suffering upon the cross, Jesus still had concern and compassion for others, as we are told in John 19:26.

26. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold, your son!"

Choir and Organ Response: John 19:26

Homily:

The loss of any loved one leaves a void in the cup of our heart, and here Jesus is giving her a substitute son to help lessen her pain.

It is obvious from Scripture, though we are not specifically told, that her husband, Joseph, had already died, and the death of Jesus just added to that loss.

Jesus also had compassion for John, whom He loved, for He knew that John would similarly have an empty place in the cup of his heart.

Note what Jesus says in John 19:27, and consider this example of unselfishness for our own lives.

27. Then He said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her into his own household.

Choir and Organ Response: John 19:27

Homily:

Now, as Jesus was hanging upon the cross, He began to feel thirsty.

All of the sins, our sins that He took upon Himself, made Him feel dirty inside, and He needed the cleansing living waters that flow from the throne of God.

His loss of blood and the strain of His suffering were draining the last drops of life from the cup of His human life, and Jesus felt the dryness.

And most of all, Jesus longed to be back with the Father, as we are told in John 19:28; for in heaven no one hungers or thirsts.

28. After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I am thirsty."

Choir and Organ Response: John 19:28

Homily:

But Jesus Christ's thirst could not be quenched by any earthly liquid.

He needed His cup filled with heavenly things.

For the cup of His office as Lord and Savior was still filled with our sins, and as He was still bound to earth as a man, He felt empty of the good things and rejected and alone in His suffering.

In this state of mind, Jesus does what each and every one of us should do: express our true feelings to God our Father, for He does understand our feelings.

What God doesn't want is our rejection.

Note Mark 15:34:

34. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"

Choir and Organ Response: Mark 15:34

Homily:

Jesus really knew He was not forsaken, and that His feelings were part of the cup that His Father had given Him to drink in order that He would better relate to our feelings and sufferings and the effect of sin upon our lives.

Thus, He realized that His task on earth, as a man, was fulfilled and that no earthly substance could refill His cup.

Note what He says in John 19:30:

30. When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit.

Choir and Organ Response: John 19:30

Homily:

Each of us has to relate to Jesus in our own special way, as He fills each of our own cups.

To John, Jesus' last words "It is finished!" were important, because they represented His work upon earth, and John looked at the work that still lay ahead for himself until one day he, too, could say the same thing and then go home.

But to Luke, the last words of Jesus had a different meaning.

To him they represented our total commitment to God our Father, and that whether living or dying, we must commit our spirits to Him.

Note how Luke records this event in 23:46, and as we hear his words, place in your own cup Jesus’ special message that is personally meant for you.

46. And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit." And having said this, He breathed His last.

Choir and Organ Response: Luke 23:46

Homily:

As we sing the next hymn, let each of us survey the cross set before us, and receive the cup that is offered.

Hymn: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

Celebration of The Lord's Supper

Anthem: What wondrous Love is This

Your Comments are welcome

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