The Most Offensive Part of Easter

The Most Offensive Part of Easter


1 Corinthians 1:23 ESV  but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,

1 Corinthians 15:3-8 ESV  For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,  (4)  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,  (5)  and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.  (6)  Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.  (7)  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.  (8)  Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

  • He is risen! He is risen indeed!
  • This morning I have a very important question for you… have you ever been offended.
    • Show of hands, who here has been offended by what someone has said or done? Everyone right?
    • Maybe someone made fun of you, ignored you, double crossed you… whatever, we have all been offended before, right?
    • And you know often times we get offended when people say something, because what they are saying is true… don’t we… because we don’t want to face the uncomfortable truth that they are speaking about us…
      • For example, I remember one time when I went to visit Pastor Matt, and I hadn’t seen him in a few years, and he greet me with “How’s it going tubbo?!”
        • I was offended… I was also fat…
  • But the truth hurt’s church… some times we get offended by the truth.
    • This morning I am going to preach some TRUTH to you… and some of it may be offensive to you… but do not dwell on weather or not it is offensive… instead ask “IS IT TRUE?” and if it is true then ask “What am I going to do about it?”.
  • This morning is Easter Sunday… HE IS RISEN! (He is risen indeed)
    • And we are going to preach about an empty Cross and an empty grave!
    • My Jesus did not stay on that cross and He did not stay in that Grave…
    • Jesus is real, and He is Alive! HE IS RISEN!
    • And I believe that with every fiber of my being, I believe it to me factual than any historical event. There is not an ounce inside of me that doubts that Jesus hung on that cross, laid in that grave, and on the third day rose again.
  • Now I don’t know where you are at with your beliefs this morning. But I know that if you believe Jesus rose from the dead… if you believe that and you are wrong… then you are pitiful, then I am pitiful… that’s what Scripture says….

1 Corinthians 15:12-19 ESV  Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  (13)  But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.  (14)  And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.  (15)  We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.  (16)  For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.  (17)  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.  (18)  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  (19)  If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

  • We are pitiful if we believe Christ rose from the dead but in reality He never did.
  • On the OTHERHAND, if you believe this is all a load of fairytale mumbo jumbo… if you believe Jesus did NOT rise from the dead… and if you are wrong… then you await a fate far worse than a pitiful existence on earth…

Revelation 21:3-8 ESV  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  (4)  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  (5)  And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  (6)  And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.  (7)  The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.  (8)  But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

  • So you either believe that Christ rose from the dead, or you don’t… and I am not going to argue with you this morning… instead, let me back up three days… to the most offensive part of Easter… this morning I want to talk about the Cross.

1 Corinthians 1:23 ESV  but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,

  • The Cross is offensive… it is a Stumbling block to the Jew and it is folly to the Gentile… it is the most offensive part of Easter…
    • But if it is true… if Christ REALLY died on a Cross for your sins then rose on the third day… then it CHANGES everything!
    • HE IS RISEN!
  • The Most Offensive Part of Easter… The Cross
  • Now my Goal is not to offend you this morning, but to show you Victory in Jesus, Our Savior, Forever, who sought us and bought us with His redeeming blood.
    • I want you to walk away from church this morning VICTORIOUS.
    • I want you to walk away from church this morning a CONQUEROR… No, MORE THAN A CONQUEREROR in CHRIST JESUS.
    • I want you to be an overcoming… I want you to find eternal victory, joy, peace, happiness, love, patience… I want you to be in victory with Jesus FOREVER.
    • But to find that victory you must first overcome the Offense of the Cross, and then accept the truth of the cross.
    • Again I urge you, do not dwell on the offense… overcome the offense and dwell on the truth.
  • Now this morning I have four points…
    • And I know what you are thinking… FOUR POINTS?! You normally have two!
    • Well that is true, but I didn’t write this sermon, Pastor Matt Krachunis in Seattle, the guy who called me tubbo, HE wrote this sermon.
    • And he graciously let me rework it for today  since I have been a bit busy… you know, Passover, Good Friday, New Speakers, Lights Projector… oh and, yeah… we had a baby this week too! Praise God for little Esther Sue!
  • So yeah, Pastor Matt wrote this Sermon, but I think the Holy Spirit has you here so that you can hear it too, I think He has some revelation for you… but before we get too far into it, let’s pray…
  • Now, before I get to point one, let’s make sure we all know what I mean by “The Cross”…
    • Take a look up, hanging from the ceiling is an old rugged cross.
    • Now imagine Jesus on that Cross, bloddied and disfigured.
    • Holding Him to the cross was a nail through each wrist and a nail through His ankles… Three massive nails, holding Jesus up as He bleed, suffered, and died on this cross.
      • The cross, of course, was an execution device used by the Romans, it was public, like hanging, only far worse… it was a form of execution saved for the worst criminals.
      • And according to 1 Corintihans, the Cross of Christ, the fact that He died on a cross much like this one… that is offensive…
      • But why? Well first of all, because the Cross tells us we are all filled with sin…

Point One –  The Cross Tells Us We Are Filled With Sin

1 Corinthians 1:23 ESV  but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,

  • Why is the cross offensive, because it calls us sinners!
    • No one likes being called a sinner. No one likes being told they are wrong. IT IS OFFENSIVE.
  • Imagine if you will, that you did something wrong in the church… let’s say you stole some money from a purse in the church and I found out about it.
    • That would suck… that would be uncomfortable…
    • But what if my response to that was to take a deacon from the church, raise them up to that cross, and crucify them in front of the whole congregation…
    • And I told the church it was because of YOU that I had to crucify deacon Jimmal… as his blood drips down and you hear him screaming in agony, I say it was because of YOU!
    • Would you say that you would have an emotional response to that situation… I would hope so!
  • Then should we not have an emotional response to the Cross of Christ? Because that is what God did for us!

Romans 5:8 ESV  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

  • We sinned, but Christ died… WHAT IS THAT?!
  • THAT IS OVERWHELMING LOVE! But to understand the love you must understand the offense.
    • You see it is ludicrous to think that I would crucify Deacon Jimmal because you stole 5 dollars from your grandmama’s purse… because that is not Justice…
  • For the Cross to be Just… it must mean that something HORRIBLE has taken place to justify it…
    • Church the Horrible thing that took place was yours and my sin!
    • Lying, stealing, cheating, lusting, greed, envy, worship of false idols, disobedience, all of it!
      • We have all lied, we have all stolen… we have made false idols… we have done evil things… sure we justify, we say “I am not as bad as the next guy”… but you ARE as bad as the next guy!
      • Your sin put Jesus on the cross. AND THAT QUITE FRANKLY IS OFFENSIVE TO THINK ABOUT.
    • “Your saying that I am so bad that the only way for me to be saved from my sins is for Jesus to die this horrible death?!”

Isaiah 53:5 ESV  But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

  • But don’t worry, you are not alone. As offensive as it is for me to call you a sinner… and if you are not saved, then you are most definitely a sinner… take solace in this… we have ALL sinned, you are not alone…

Romans 3:23 ESV  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

  • So what is so offensive about the cross? It shows us that our sins are so wicked, so horrible, so hideous… that the only way for them to be forgiven was for Jesus to die on it…
    • See if Jesus had only needed to be whipped a few times… take a few punches, be locked up for a few days…
    • We might say “Our sin was not that bad, the punishment was just”.
    • But Jesus did all of that… then died one of the most horrible deaths ever… because our sin WAS that bad…
    • It may be offensive… but it is the truth. And I have a feeling your spirit is telling you it is the truth this morning…

Point Two – The Cross Says There Is Only One Way to Heaven

1 Corinthians 1:23 ESV  but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,

  • Why is the cross so offensive? Because it declares that there is only one way to heaven.
    • Today’s world bends every rule, every standard… to make then acceptable.
    • We give trophies to losers… we let men compete in women’s sports… we have safe places for college students who are easily offended.
    • We don’t want to make anyone change, to ask anyone to change their mind… we don’t want to dictate truth.
    • BUT TRUTH MUST BE TRUTH. IT DOESN’T BEND. Even when it is offensive truth is truth.
  • If you have spent your whole live praying to Buddah, it doesn’t matter if the Cross is real.
  • If you have come from a long line of proud Muslims and you have strived to live a perfect life according to the Quaran… it doesn’t matter if the cross is real.
  • If you have tried to do a million good works to get into heaven it doesn’t matter if the cross is real.
  • Because if Christ truly died on that Cross and rose again on the third day then you must know that there is only ONE way into heaven, and it is through that sacrifice on the cross.

John 14:6 ESV  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

  • This isn’t a claim that I make- It’s a claim that Jesus makes! if you want to go to heaven- you can only get there through Jesus- there is no other way!
    • Not by going to church, not by other religions, not by your parents, not by bible reading, – only through Christ and His death and resurrection.
  • “Aren’t you condemning other people by that belief?”  I’m not condemning anyone- The Bible condemns them though… in fact, they have condemned themselves!

John 3:18 ESV  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Acts 4:12 ESV  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

  • In a world that want’s nothing to do with definitive statements, it sure is offensive to say “Everyone else is wrong, the only way into heaven is Christ Jesus”.
    • But do not ask if that statement is offensive, ask if that stamen is true!

1 Peter 3:18 ESV  For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

  • Now that brings us to point three… the cross says you need to repent.

Point Three – The Cross Says You Need to Repent

1 Corinthians 1:23 ESV  but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,

  • Why is it a stumbling block? Why is it folly? Why is the cross offensive? BECAUSE IT DEMANDS CHANGE! IT DEMANDS REPENTANCE.
  • Listen church… Hearing the story of the Cross and doing nothing about it is WORTHLESS.
    • Listening to preachers… hearing the word of God… but not ACTING on what you hear… what’s the point?!
  • The Cross says “You must change” and for whatever reason being told you need to change something hurts…
    • Every time Amanda proof reads something for me, she will undoubtably find something that needs to be changed… and often when she tells me, for whatever reason, it hurts… it’s a little bit offensive…
      • (in grumbling voice) “Tell me what to capitalize will ya?… I WILL CAPITALIZE WHAT I WANT! Think you know grammar better than me? Grumble grumble grumble…
  • Listen if you are not a Christian, then your life is going in one selfish direction…
    • Whatever YOU want to do… whatever YOU think is best…
    • But the Cross says “That’s the wrong way! TURN AROUND!”
      • The Bible uses a fancy word for “Turn around” and it is called repentance.
      • If you are not living for Christ then you need to turn around… you need to repent!

Acts 3:19 ESV  Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,

Matthew 4:17 ESV  From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Acts 17:30 ESV  The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,

  • Jesus made it very clear that the way people were living was wrong…
    • Worshiping the wroin thing, loving the wrong way, hearts filled with envey, greed, and anger.
    • They were self centered, self justified, and self righteous.
    • They exploited others and only thought of themselves…
    • And Jesus said TURN AROUND.

Luke 13:5 ESV  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

  • If Jesus really suffered and died on the cross… and He really rose again… if that is TRUE… then the question must be asked “WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT!”
    • The world says “Be yourself” but Jesus says “Die to yourself! Turn around! Be like Christ!”
      • It is offensive… but if it is true then you must chose how you will respond.
  • Now that brings me to what is likely the MOST offensive thing about the cross… and it is also the most wonderful thing about the cross…
    • Now it’s time to get to the VICTORY part of this message.
    • Someone say victory! VICTORY!
    • HE IS RISEN!

Point Four– The Cross Says That Everyone Can Be Saved

1 Corinthians 1:23 ESV  but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,

  • Why is it offensive that the Cross says that everyone can be saved?
    • That is a wonderful thing! It truly is… But it also offends many people.
    • And it might offend you too.
  • You see, we live in a world of judgment and punishment.
    • We arrest and convict. We imprison and we fine.
    • People get labeled as a criminal or a felon and they have that descriptor on them forever!
  • You may pay your debt to society, but society doesn’t see it that way.
    •  Even after doing your time, they still bring up your past. They still see you as your mistakes. They still treat you bad.
  • If you’ve ever said “I’ll never forgive them” or “that person deserves to die and rot in Hell” you know what I’m talking about.
    • The ethos of America is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth… forgiveness is NOT an American virtue…
  • Yes I believe that the most offensive part of the cross is that anyone can be accepted by Jesus Christ and forgiven of their sin. Any sin. Any time. Any circumstance. (Other than blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, but that’s a different sermons)…
  • No matter how bad someone is, they can be forgiven…
    • Yes, they might suffer the earthly penalties, but God will fully forgive anyone who comes to him in true faith asking for forgiveness
  • Does it seem scandalous to believe that the most rotten disgusting horrendous people can be forgiven of their sin, restored to a place of peace, and be a shining example of Christ’s faithfulness?
    • It seems scandalous to many, but maybe not to those who have experienced that forgiveness first hand.

Romans 10:13 ESV  For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

  • How many of you guys remember Jeffrey Dahmer?
    • He was also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal or the Milwaukee Monster… He was an American serial killer and sex offender who committed the murder and dismemberment of seventeen men and boys between 1978 and 1991…
    • He was the worst of the worst… even going as far as to rape his victims after murdering them…
    • I want to read to you an exert from an article about him in the Christian Chronicle…

When Dahmer died, I was a staff writer for The Oklahoman. I’ll never forget talking that day with Curt Booth, a member of the Crescent Church of Christ in Oklahoma, about his role in Dahmer’s conversion.

Booth usually ministered to inmates at prisons closer to home. But in April 1994, he caught a glimpse of Dahmer on television. Dahmer mentioned that he wished he could “find a little peace,” Booth said.

The Oklahoma church member sensed what he considered the hurt in Dahmer’s voice and eyes. Booth said he thought: “I know somebody who can give you that peace. His name is Jesus Christ.”

Booth sent Dahmer a Bible correspondence course teaching the steps to salvation. Dahmer mailed the answers back and thanked Booth for the course.

“But I still have one problem,” Dahmer wrote. “This prison does not have a baptismal tank and Mr. Burkum the prison chaplain is not sure if he can find someone to bring a tank in and baptize me? I’ve taken all the other steps.”

Booth contacted Roy Ratcliff, minister of the Madison Church of Christ in Wisconsin. Ratcliff set up weekly Bible lessons with Dahmer and baptized him on May 10, 1994. Ratcliff later shared that Dahmer told him he had been fearful of the minister’s visit.

“He dreaded that I might say, ‘No, you’re too evil. You’re too sinful. I can’t baptize someone like you,’” Ratcliff said.

“I know Jeffrey was ready,” Booth told me. “Today, all the angels in heaven are rejoicing because Jeffrey has come home.”

Booth said he had no doubt about the sincerity of Dahmer’s conversion.

“On the great resurrection day, I’m expecting to see him right along there with Abraham, David, Isaac, James, John and all the saints that have lived right up to the modern day,” Booth said.

  • Now that story either offends you or excites you depending on what side of victory you are on.
    • Do you understand, you are not so much better than Dahmer… you have sinned against a Holy God… God is Infinitely good, which makes your sin infinitely bad… but God loves you enough to die for you.
    • The only question is, what will you do about it.
  • You think Jeffery Dahmer was bad… well what about Paul? He murdered Christians for a living! THAT WAS HIS JOB!
    • Yet he repented and became a shining example of Christ’s love for the world.
  • How about the thief on the cross… such a horrible criminal that he was crucified… Yet in his last moments he repented and became a shining example of Christ’s love for the world.
  • What about me? I was a thief, a hacker, a gossip, a serial pornographer, a habitual liar… yet when I was 16 I repented… and became a shining example of Christ’s love for the world.

Romans 10:9-10 ESV  because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  (10)  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

  • Let’s conclude with the Gospel this Easter Sunday…


  • You may be asking yourself this Easter- Can God forgive a person like me? The answer is YES
  • What do you need to do? Admit that you’ve wronged God and lived wrong
  • IN your heart, believe that Jesus died and rose again…
  • Confess him as your Lord and turn away from your past way of living and live HIS way not YOUR way- Jesus died on the cross for your sin- he rose from the grave to prove he was God-
  • Celebrate Easter today and give your life to the Risen Savior

Gospel Call


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