By Bishop Sunny Emmanuel*
This is an illustrated sermon. It not only includes a message, but also involves a dramatization of a courtroom scene portraying the victorious redemption brought to the believer through the shed blood and broken body of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Judge: (Mic at Judge’s table; wears black robe; carries himself with dignity and confidence; has a kind demeanour)
Bailiff: Wears Law Enforcement uniform; very sober and business-like
Advocate: carries himself with great poise and confidence; pleasant, comforting, and reassuring to the accused; knows before trials starts that he’ll win, but not cocky; wholesome and sharply dressed)
Voice: Will be reading from Mic at the Sound Booth; dignified voice, convicting and sincere
Accused: Wears normal street clothes – looks like the average guy; goes from nervous at the beginning to confident and victorious at the ending; he does trust the Advocate, but is troubled by the happenings and the accusations)
Prosecutor: Slick, crafty; very sharply dressed… preferably in black)
INTRODUCTION BY PASTOR
Our world today seems to be full of courtrooms and trials:
Perry Mason; Law and Order; Family Law; Divorce Court; Judge Judy; Animal Court; The Peoples’ Court; Cable Channel: Court TV
It seems like people in society today are obsessed with issues of guilt and innocence, with conviction and acquittal. Even though Perry Mason may have achieved 100% accuracy when it came to the guilty party being convicted, it’s commonly known that human justice is not perfect. Innocent people have been convicted of crimes they did not commit, and guilty people have sometimes gone free due to a lack of evidence or some loophole in the law. There is a Court of Justice, however, where the Judge rules in Absolute Righteousness and with Perfect Flawlessness. His throne is one before which we have been invited to come boldly; it is called “The Throne of Grace.”
Those who resist Him, and oppose Him, however, will one day stand before what the Bible calls “The Great White Throne Judgment.” One way or another, we will all stand before Him. Today, I want us to look at some Scriptures and an illustrated story that I believe will help us understand that Judge and his System of Justice. Genesis 4:8-10, Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.
Abel’s blood, according to God, “said something.”
- It spoke on behalf of the innocent victim.
- It pronounced judgment on the offender.
In the book of Hebrews, the author begins to speak of the Law, and of course, there were penalties that were connected to the breaking of the Law.
Hebrews: 12:18-25, You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem , the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?
The blood of Jesus speaks a better word than that of Abel’s blood! It was good that the blood of Abel spoke on behalf of the innocent victim, but it is better that the blood of Jesus speaks on behalf of the guilty sinner! It was justice that the blood of Abel pronounced judgment on the offender, but it is mercy that the blood of Jesus brings salvation and forgiveness to the offender! This bread has something to say to you today! This cup has something to say to you today! It’s not the physical symbol audibly communicating to your physical ear. I am not trying to tell you that inanimate objects have vocal cords and utter syllables, but many things have a message and a story…
A trophy speaks of accomplishment. A scar speaks of a past wound. A smile speaks of pleasantness. Litter speaks of someone’s carelessness. The Statue of Liberty speaks of freedom and opportunity.
You need to know today that the blood of Jesus speaks! It speaks for you and to you.
Why is this important?
Because Adam’s transgression speaks against you.
Your past speaks against you.
Your sins speak against you.
The Law of Sin and Death speak against you.
Satan himself, the one called “the accuser of the brethren,” speaks against you. I want you to listen today as we witness a courtroom scene… to a trial… that I believe portrays what every Christian must come to terms with.
BEGINNING OF SKIT
The Prosecutor entered, pushing a two-wheeler loaded with documents with a look of evil glee on his face. He carefully unloads and stacks his evidence on the table – piles of paper and boxes of video tapes. He has “the goods” on the accused, and he knows it. He is arrogant and haughty. When the accused comes in, he begins to make taunting, intimidating gestures toward him.
Once the Prosecutor begins to get his stacks of evidence in order, the Advocate and Accused enter from the back of the sanctuary.
PROSECUTOR (to audience): I absolutely love trials that are a slam dunk! I’m going to absolutely destroy this guy! I’ve got so much evidence on him that it’s unbelievable. I’ve got documentation, both written and on video, of every rotten thing this guy’s ever done. Everybody thinks that this is a pretty good guy, but he’s nothing but a sinner. He’s come way short of the glory of God. He’s sinned, and we all know what the wages of sin are, don’t we? Death! The Advocate is calm and confident. He walks as though he’s ready to “take care of business.” The accused, however, is a bit un-nerved. He’s tagging right behind the Advocate. The Advocate calmly reassures him, but still remains quite apprehensive and uncomfortable. Close to the front of the sanctuary, they both stop, and the Advocate takes his handkerchief out and wipes the brow of the Accused. They make their way to the Defense table and are seated.
PASTOR: The charges that are being brought against this defendant are more serious than misdemeanour charges. They are more serious than felony charges. The verdict that will be reached is an eternal one. Not only does the temporal well-being of the accused hang in the balance, but also his eternal destiny. Exactly what kind of a trial is this? It is a criminal trial – the accused is a spiritual lawbreaker! It is a custody battle – the accused had become the child of the wrong family… he had become the citizen of the wrong kingdom. It is an inheritance dispute – the accused had been stripped and robbed of the glorious inheritance that was meant to be his.
*Bishop Sunny Emmanuel is a Senior Pastor with Christian Faith Centre International, Tilburg (Holland). He may be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org