Participants: Rick Remmers
Series Code: FC
Program Code: FC000218
00:31 Hello, welcome to Faith Chapel.
00:33 I'm Pastor Rick Remmers from Chicago, Illinois
00:37 and today our message is entitle
00:39 "The Most Important Climb."
00:43 Businessman, Harvey Mackay wrote a newspaper column
00:46 in which he talked about the importance of leaders
00:49 being willing to do any kind of work
00:52 that needs to be done.
00:53 And as an example he cited the experience of Pillsbury
00:58 of the Pillsbury milling family.
01:00 He wrote "The tips of three of his fingers were missing,
01:04 the unmistakable mark of a journeyman grain miller."
01:08 I'll be at a somewhat less than dexterous one.
01:11 "Philip Pillsbury had an international reputation
01:14 as a connoisseur of fine foods and wines,
01:17 but to the troops,
01:18 his reputation as a man willing to do a hard, dirty job
01:22 was the one that mattered
01:24 and you can be sure everyone was aware of it."
01:29 We need to follow good examples in our life.
01:33 In fact in 1 Peter 2:21 we're given this instruction
01:39 "For to this you were called,
01:41 because Christ also suffered for us,
01:44 leaving us an example,
01:45 that you should follow His steps."
01:48 Jesus gives us an example that we can follow faithfully
01:52 because He lived a sinless life
01:55 and His actions give us a great example.
01:58 Today, I would like for us to take a look
02:00 at the steps that Jesus took at Mount Cavalry
02:04 and take some lessons not so much
02:07 from the theology of salvation
02:09 although we'll touch on that as well.
02:11 But some practical living clues
02:16 that we get from Jesus experience,
02:19 the Mount Cavalry or Mount Golgotha
02:23 as its described in the gospels has a couple of places today
02:28 that are claimed to be that site.
02:32 It's believed to have that name
02:34 because it had the appearance like a skull,
02:37 Origen one of the early church fathers thought
02:39 that Adam's skull was buried there,
02:42 Jerome thought that the skulls
02:43 of executed criminals were lying around.
02:47 The two prominent sites today in Jerusalem
02:50 that people believe may have been
02:53 the Cavalry of Jesus experience.
02:56 One is located at the church of the holy sepulcher,
02:59 cathedral has been placed over this small hill
03:02 and it marks the traditional site.
03:05 More recently, about 100 years ago
03:07 The Garden Tomb has come to be believed
03:10 by some to have been the place of Jesus death and burial.
03:14 It's the only place that a hand carved tomb
03:18 from Jesus day has been discovered
03:21 and it does fit the description in many ways.
03:25 But before we go to the lessons I'd like to take a few minutes
03:30 to read a moving passage from Matthew 27:31-50
03:36 give us the account of what happened
03:38 as Jesus took these steps.
03:41 "And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off of Him,
03:45 put His own clothes on Him,
03:46 and led Him away to be crucified.
03:49 Now as they came out,
03:50 they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name.
03:54 Him they compelled to bear His cross.
03:56 And when they had come to a place called Golgotha,
03:59 that is to say, Place of a Skull,
04:01 they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink.
04:05 But when He had tasted it, He would not drink.
04:08 Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments,
04:12 casting lots, that it might be fulfilled
04:14 which was spoken by the prophet.
04:17 'They divided My garments among them,
04:19 and for My clothing they cast lots.'
04:22 Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there.
04:25 And they put up over His head
04:27 the accusation written against Him.
04:30 This is Jesus the king of the Jews.
04:32 Then two robbers were crucified with Him,
04:35 one on the right and another on the left.
04:38 And those who passed by blasphemed Him,
04:41 wagging their heads and saying,
04:43 'You who destroy the temple and build it in three days,
04:46 save Yourself! If You are the Son of God,
04:49 come down from the cross.'
04:51 Likewise the chief priests also,
04:54 mocking with the scribes and elders, said,
04:56 'He saved others, Himself He cannot save.
05:00 If He is the King of Israel,
05:02 let Him now come down from the cross,
05:04 and we will believe Him.
05:06 He trusted in God, let Him deliver Him now
05:09 if He will have Him
05:11 for He said, "I am the Son of God."'
05:13 Even the robbers who were crucified with Him
05:16 reviled Him with the same thing.
05:19 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour
05:22 there was darkness over all the land.
05:24 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out
05:27 with a loud voice, saying, 'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?'
05:33 That is, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?'
05:38 Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said,
05:41 'This Man is calling for Elijah.'
05:43 Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge,
05:47 filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed,
05:49 and offered it to Him to drink.
05:51 The rest said, 'Let Him alone,
05:54 let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.'
05:57 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice,
06:01 and yielded up His spirit."
06:05 You have this moving accounts of Jesus experience
06:09 there on Mount Cavalry the steps that he took.
06:13 Let's take a look at some of the life lessons
06:16 that we find illustrated here.
06:17 First, seemingly small mountains
06:21 can be the most difficult to climb.
06:24 This hill was much smaller than the temple mount
06:28 where the Mount of Olives to the east of Jerusalem
06:31 and yet Jesus was so low to climb it
06:34 He prayed repeatedly to be able to walk away from it
06:38 that He would not have to go through this experience
06:42 but He knew as difficult it was going to be that
06:44 He needed to prepare by prayer.
06:48 And so He went and spent the night before
06:51 until His rest in the Garden of Gethsemane.
06:53 He wasn't fooled by the small size.
06:56 He knew the significance,
06:57 he knew the importance of what was to take place.
07:00 He knew that for all of His life in ministry
07:02 all of His teachings and healings
07:04 this was the purpose for which He had come
07:07 in order to provide salvation for you and for me.
07:11 And so He surrendered His will to God the Father
07:14 and prayed that the Father's will would be done.
07:18 Sometimes the small mountains maybe the most difficult
07:23 and we need to make sure
07:24 that we don't judge other people
07:27 by the apparent size of the mountains
07:29 that they're climbing.
07:30 Sometimes we look at other people
07:32 and think the trials and difficulties
07:34 that they are facing are nothing in comparison
07:36 to what I have.
07:38 And yet sometimes what on the outside
07:41 seems to be a small mountain
07:43 can in fact in someone's life be truly
07:46 a great challenge for them to climb, surmount.
07:49 Some of our most life altering decisions
07:52 may not have seen the very important to pivotal
07:55 at the time that we made them
07:57 but in retrospect we can see the importance
07:59 and how they charted a course for our life.
08:02 The school that we chose to attend,
08:04 the neighborhood that we live
08:05 and the friends that we spend time with,
08:07 the job that we take,
08:10 the person that we chose to marry,
08:12 we need to surrender each one of these decisions
08:15 to Jesus and seek His wisdom.
08:18 A second lesson that we learn from Jesus experience is that
08:21 there is a cross to be carried.
08:25 Now, this is, this is, a lesson
08:26 that we'd like to avoid
08:28 who of us wants to carry a cross?
08:30 Who of us wants to bear such a burden?
08:33 Some of us that, that cross maybe poor health,
08:36 some illness that we just never seem to be healed off,
08:41 for some it maybe little finances
08:44 and no matter what they do, no matter how hard they work,
08:46 no mater how much they try and plan ahead,
08:49 they never seem to have enough.
08:52 Perhaps, it's a frustrating person
08:54 that is in our life, a boss, who is very difficult to please
08:58 or perhaps even a spouse that we live with
09:00 and yet brings great frustration to us.
09:04 But Jesus lived a life of conviction not of ease.
09:08 And He calls us to do the same
09:10 and if we follow in His steps
09:12 they will be times when there is a cross to carry
09:15 but Jesus has promised us to be with us
09:17 and He says "My burden is easy and He will be with us."
09:23 The third lesson is that sometimes help is needed
09:26 in order to carry the cross or the burden.
09:29 Simon of Cyrene was enlisted to help carry the cross
09:33 and what at first it seems to be such an undesirable task
09:37 proved in his life to be a great blessing.
09:40 Tradition tells us that later on Simon
09:42 became a believer of Jesus Christ
09:45 and he was aware of His, His teachings
09:48 and this brought him closer to Jesus.
09:51 But Jesus truly needed real help.
09:53 He could not do it on His own.
09:55 And there are times in our experience
09:57 when we need the help of other people
10:00 and we can't afford to be so independent
10:03 that we're unwilling to allow God
10:05 to bring other people into our lives
10:07 to be an encouragement and strength to us.
10:12 A fourth lesson that we find here
10:15 is that Jesus cared for others despite His pain.
10:20 We actually find in two of the parallel accounts
10:22 of Jesus experience on Mount Cavalry.
10:26 Luke 23:27, 28 gives us an illustration.
10:31 "And a great multitude of the people followed Him,
10:34 and women who also mourned and lamented Him.
10:37 But Jesus, turning to them, said,
10:39 'Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me,
10:43 but weep for yourselves and for your children.'"
10:46 Jesus cared for other people."
10:49 Even with all of the pain and suffering that
10:52 He was experiencing He looked at them
10:54 and He recognized that they didn't understand
10:57 the difficult days that were ahead.
11:00 And so He warned them and He encouraged them.
11:04 We find also in the Gospel of John 19:26, 27.
11:12 "When Jesus therefore saw His mother,
11:14 and the disciple whom He loved standing by,
11:17 He said to His mother, 'Woman, behold your son!'
11:22 Then He said to the disciple, 'Behold your mother!'
11:26 And from that hour that disciple
11:29 took her to his own home."
11:32 As Jesus was there on the cross
11:34 He had a concern for His mother.
11:37 He wanted her to be cared for and so we ask that John,
11:40 the beloved disciple would care for His mother
11:43 when He was gone and He was no longer
11:45 able to provide for her.
11:48 Jesus cared for others despite His pain.
11:52 And despite the pain of our lives
11:56 Jesus is able to work through us to be a blessing
11:59 and a ministry to other people.
12:01 Whatever, our limitations are...
12:04 each one of us has skills and abilities,
12:07 talents, spiritual gifts that God has given to us
12:11 in order to be a blessing to other people.
12:14 We all have the talent of time
12:16 we can all take advantage of the privilege of prayer
12:19 interceding for other people.
12:21 And there are many other gifts
12:22 that the New Testament describes
12:24 that we can use to minister to the needs of other people.
12:30 The fifth lesson that we find here
12:32 in this gospel account is that Jesus needed a clear mind.
12:38 There were plenty of excuses for Jesus to take
12:42 if He wanted to drink the wine
12:43 that was offered to Him in order to deaden the pain
12:46 and this was about the only act of mercy
12:49 that was offered to Him
12:51 during this terrible experience there on Cavalry.
12:54 He was dying anyway, what difference would it make
12:58 if as He went in the last few moments
13:00 of His life His mind was a little clouded?
13:03 There was the extreme pain of the physical agony
13:06 that He was going through.
13:08 He wasn't getting ready to preach any great sermon
13:10 like the Sermon on the Mount.
13:12 He wasn't going to be teaching and giving them message.
13:16 He certainly wasn't going to be healing other people
13:19 as He hung there on the cross.
13:21 Who would blame Him
13:22 if He took a little bit of the wine that they offered.
13:26 But even in these dire circumstances
13:29 Jesus was unwilling to have His mind clouded.
13:32 He knew that He needed to be able to remain clear
13:35 in His communication with His father.
13:37 And so He refused to take anything
13:40 that would cloud His mind in His judgment.
13:45 How could we have any better excuse than Jesus?
13:49 Yet, He did not take the wine
13:51 and He leaves us an example to live our lives
13:54 in such a way that we always have clarity of thought
13:58 that the Holy Spirit is always able to speak to our mind
14:01 to give us promptings to lead us in the way
14:04 that God would have us go.
14:06 Jesus needed a clear mind
14:08 to the very end and we do as well.
14:13 The sixth lesson,
14:15 perhaps one of the most difficult for us
14:19 is that we must forgive.
14:23 Jesus says he was experiencing
14:27 the crucifixion and the nailing to the cross.
14:30 Jesus wanted to save even those
14:32 who were in the process of crucifying Him.
14:37 He recognized that they didn't really realized
14:40 what was happening.
14:41 They knew physically what they were doing
14:42 in crucifying His body but they didn't recognize
14:46 who He was and the significance
14:47 of this event that was taking place.
14:51 And so Jesus prays a prayer
14:53 asking that the Father would forgive them.
14:57 And He leaves us an example
14:59 that we be willing to forgive other people as well.
15:03 And there are many good reasons
15:05 to forgive for our own physical health.
15:07 So that the frustration and anxiety
15:11 of holding a grudge against someone else
15:13 doesn't vesture inside of us for our emotional health
15:16 so that we can be free from the bondage
15:19 that comes from the anger that exist when we are unforgiving
15:24 and certainly for our spiritual health.
15:26 And the Lord's Prayer that Jesus had taught His disciples
15:31 it includes the "forgive us our debts
15:34 as we forgive our debtors."
15:37 In the same way that God has forgiven us
15:40 we are to forgive other people.
15:42 Our harden heart on our part
15:44 becomes a barrier in our relationship with God.
15:48 And so He calls for us to forgive.
15:51 Now often, times there are people
15:53 who have hurt us deeply,
15:55 there're people who have done things to us intentionally
15:59 and they have no sorrow for what they've done.
16:02 They've never come and apologized,
16:03 they've never asked for forgiveness.
16:06 Do we need to forgive those people as well?
16:08 Yes, we do.
16:10 Again, not so much because of their experience
16:14 but for our experience, in our walk with the Lord
16:17 we need to have a forgiving spirit towards other people
16:20 and that comes as a gift from God
16:24 if someone has hurt you
16:28 and you want to experience forgiveness
16:30 but you wonder how you can ever come
16:32 to that point of peace.
16:34 I encourage you to pray
16:35 that Jesus would give you that victory.
16:38 That He would be able to give you
16:39 a spirit of forgiveness like He had
16:42 as He experienced Mount Cavalry.
16:45 That spirit can come and it can free you
16:48 from the pain and from the grudges
16:51 and from the isolation that comes
16:54 from our hardened heart, unwilling to forgive.
16:57 The seventh lesson that we find
16:59 here in Jesus experience
17:02 is that there are sacrifices to be made.
17:08 Here it speaks of Jesus robe being taken from Him
17:12 and they're casting lots
17:14 in order to decide who will get it.
17:16 Jesus also experiences sacrifice of His power
17:20 when He left His throne in heaven.
17:23 He left the adoration in the presence of the angels
17:27 and the face to face communication with His Father.
17:30 He left all of the glory of heaven
17:32 in order to be born on this earth.
17:35 Born as a baby, growing up with difficulties of childhood,
17:39 working with His father in the carpenter shop,
17:41 experience prejudice and resentment
17:45 by those who were around Him and there're times
17:48 when we are called to sacrifice as well.
17:53 We're never called to sacrifice as much as Jesus did.
17:56 We certainly don't have His experience
17:59 but in smaller ways there are times
18:01 when we are called to sacrifice.
18:03 Perhaps, it's financially,
18:04 perhaps its sacrificing our time
18:07 and giving to other people in a specific way.
18:10 Perhaps, it's sacrificing some of the other things
18:13 that this life offers
18:15 but it's always an investment as well.
18:18 Jesus sacrificed all of these things
18:21 in order to make the provision
18:23 for us to receive eternal life.
18:25 Jesus wants us to be in heaven with Him.
18:28 He went through all of the experience
18:30 of living on this earth and dying on Mount Cavalry
18:34 in order for us to be able
18:35 to experience an eternity with Him.
18:38 He experienced that sacrifice for our benefit.
18:42 And as we sacrifice there're benefits
18:45 that come to other people and to ourselves as well.
18:50 And eighth, lesson from Jesus experience
18:53 is that there will always be mockers and critics.
18:59 Now this is something that it's easy to forgive
19:01 we'd rather not acknowledge that
19:03 but there as Jesus is hanging on the cross
19:06 the thieves on either side of Him are mocking Him
19:08 until one finally as Jesus to remember him
19:12 when He comes into His kingdom.
19:13 There are the priests
19:14 who are challenging His authority
19:16 and questioning the things
19:18 that He has said and taunting Him
19:20 now that He is hanging on the cross.
19:22 There is the crowd the rabble
19:25 that are casting all kinds of abuse on Jesus
19:29 as He is there defenseless
19:32 and certainly there're the soldiers
19:35 who are callously involved
19:37 in doing their job of crucifying
19:39 what they believe is another criminal.
19:42 And then there is the desertion by His disciples
19:45 not outright criticism but unwilling to walk
19:49 through this experience with Jesus.
19:52 In the Desire of Ages page 751
19:54 we read "Many were ready to call Him Lord
19:58 when He wrought miracles,
19:59 and after He had risen from the grave
20:02 but none acknowledged Him as He hung dying upon the cross
20:05 save the penitent thief
20:07 who was saved at the eleventh hour."
20:10 Jesus had already said earlier in His ministry,
20:14 "Blessed are you when you're persecuted."
20:18 And there are times when there are mockers
20:20 and critics and persecutors who come to us.
20:23 And we can't expect to move forward
20:26 in the kingdom of God to advance the work of God
20:30 on this earth without meeting resistance
20:33 from Satan and the forces of evil.
20:35 There is going to be a counterattack.
20:37 And so whenever we step forward whenever we do the work of God
20:41 there're going to be mockers and there're going to critics.
20:44 But we can't be dissuaded by them,
20:46 we can't allow them to distract us,
20:48 we can't be surprised.
20:51 Sometimes people seem amazed that there are critics
20:55 in the church outside of the church
20:58 that people are unwilling to believe what they believe.
21:01 We should never be unduly discouraged
21:04 when other people fall away,
21:06 people perhaps that we've confidence in.
21:09 Remember we keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus Christ
21:13 and so if there are other people
21:14 who have once believed
21:16 but then become mockers and critics.
21:19 We do not take our eyes off of Jesus Christ.
21:22 We continue to have confidence
21:24 that what Jesus has started in us
21:26 He will bring to completion.
21:30 As you go through your daily walk with the Lord
21:33 make sure you keep your eyes fixed upon Him.
21:36 Don't become discouraged
21:38 when things don't go well around you.
21:41 There will be mockers and critics
21:42 to the very end of the age.
21:45 They existed when Jesus was right there in front of Him
21:48 and in fact a few chapters further
21:50 the very closing verses of the gospel of Matthew
21:54 it says that "Even as Jesus was ready to ascend to heaven
21:58 there were those among His followers who doubted."
22:02 They had gone seen the experience of Jesus.
22:04 He had died on the cross, He'd been buried in the tomb,
22:07 He had been resurrected to new life,
22:09 He'd performed more miracles among them,
22:12 He was there visibly in front of them.
22:14 They could touch Him, they could see the nail scars.
22:17 He was ready to ascend to heaven.
22:20 The culmination of His life's work
22:23 and yet there were still some in the very presence
22:26 physical presence of Jesus
22:27 who choose, who chose to doubt.
22:31 There'll be doubters among us to the very end
22:34 but don't become discouraged, don't become distracted,
22:38 keep strong in your faith in the confidence
22:41 that God has given to us and in the promises of His word
22:45 what He has said He will do He will do.
22:50 The ninth lesson that we find here
22:52 is that we need that when we stand true
22:56 the word will get out.
22:58 Pilate had a sign placed over Jesus head on top of the cross
23:03 that this was the king of Jews in three languages
23:07 so that any one coming in for the Passover feast
23:10 wherever they were coming from, whatever language they spoke
23:12 they would be able to understand
23:14 why Jesus was being crucified.
23:17 When we stand for truth the word will get out,
23:21 people may not appreciate what we stand for
23:24 but they will recognize that we stand for God
23:29 and they'll note our conviction in our courage.
23:33 The tenth and final lesson that we'll look at here
23:36 is that it is truly the darkest before the dawn.
23:40 As Jesus was there on the cross
23:43 the clouds came in the sun was shut out,
23:47 the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom,
23:50 the ground shook, it was a dark time
23:54 for Jesus in His life in the earth's history.
23:58 But the next thing Jesus would know
24:00 after He cried out in a loud voice
24:02 and said it was finished
24:03 after He died there on the cross
24:05 the next thing that Jesus would know
24:08 after the sleep of dead was the brilliance
24:11 of the angel coming at His resurrection.
24:15 The resurrection power,
24:16 the power over the grave as Jesus came forth
24:19 it is the darkest before the dawn.
24:23 And so when you're experiencing dark times in your life
24:26 recognize that God continues to work.
24:29 He'll bring light and encouragement
24:31 and strength to you.
24:34 Salvation, our salvation was accomplished on Mount Cavalry
24:38 because Jesus took those steps,
24:41 because He leaves His example for us
24:44 we are able to experience the fullness of God's love
24:48 in the salvation that He has promised.
24:50 Jesus served as our substitute.
24:54 It was our sins that caused His death there on the cross.
24:59 That's the reason why He went
25:01 and died on the cross and somehow sometimes
25:05 we think that we can do things on our own
25:08 that it's our own goodness
25:11 and we failed to recognize that the only way
25:14 that we can receive salvation is to accept
25:16 what Jesus Christ has done for us.
25:18 And that He is our substitute
25:20 and there is nothing that we can offer.
25:23 The Scripture says our righteousness
25:25 is as filthy rags.
25:26 It just doesn't amount to anything good.
25:30 In 1994 the Associated Press reported
25:35 a event in New Delhi, India.
25:37 The Indian farmers there were protesting
25:40 a move by India's parliament to bring in three million tons
25:44 of Dutch dung to be used as farm fertilizers.
25:48 And these farmers were saying
25:51 there was no shortage of cows in India
25:53 and that the Indian cows
25:56 did not have their dung tainted by pesticides.
25:59 So in protest these farmers brought six oxcarts
26:03 full of this fresh dung before the parliament steps.
26:07 Presumably they got the legislators attention
26:10 but it represents how so often
26:12 we're wanting to take some feeble thing in our life
26:17 and we think its something great
26:18 and we want to give it to God,
26:22 failing to recognize that the best that we have
26:26 is not good enough to give us eternal life,
26:29 that we come seeking the leading of God
26:32 and we must have the salvation
26:34 that Jesus brought on the Cross.
26:37 We receive forgiveness from Him.
26:40 The Desire of Ages Page 745 says,
26:42 "Upon all rests the guilt of crucifying the Son of God.
26:45 To all, forgiveness is freely offered."
26:48 He brings healing, salvation and eternal life to us.
26:53 The Readers Digest contained a story
26:56 about Aunt Ruby and Uncle Arnie.
26:59 They've tried for some years to have a child
27:01 and were unable to and so they adopted a son
27:05 and a short time later sure enough Aunt Ruby
27:08 was pregnant and gave birth to another boy.
27:12 Well, the boys grew
27:13 and when they were eight and nine years old
27:16 the boys were playing together in the yard
27:18 and family were visiting Aunt Ruby
27:20 and a neighbor came by and said
27:21 "Aunt Ruby, which boy is yours?"
27:25 And Aunt Ruby said "Well, they both are."
27:28 And the neighbor said "Well, no.
27:30 I mean which one is adopted?"
27:33 And Aunt Ruby said "I don't remember."
27:38 God has said, "He will not remember our sins anymore."
27:43 He will cast men to the depths of the sea
27:45 because of what Jesus did on Mount Cavalry
27:48 our lives are washed clean
27:50 and we can experience the assurance of eternal life
27:54 through the power of Jesus Christ.