by Robert H. Schuller
son and I are continuing our messages on the Bible verse
Galatians 5:22. Many of you know this verse by memory. St.
Paul writes, "The fruit of
the Spirit ..." What does that mean? That means
to analyze your life. What characteristics dominate you?
What type of person does God want you and me to be to live
life at its best? Can you describe your life in the fruit
of the Spirit? Love? Joy? Peace? Patience? Kindness? Goodness? Faithfulness?
Gentleness? Self control? You can't go through a
book anywhere ever written in any language, by any so called
healer of persons; psychiatrist, psychologist, philosopher,
theologian or social worker, and find in one sentence the
positive values that produce emotional healthy human beings
that comes close to the power in this one verse.
EQ is more important than IQ
we know EQ (emotional quotient) is more impacting in the
life than IQ (intellectual quotient). Your emotional health,
more than your intellectual knowledge, will produce the
kind of character you want to produce. EQ
is more important than IQ. That has been established
only in the last few years. So this Bible verse (Galatians
5:22) gives you the keys to living
life at its best. Wow.
were asking me this week, "Schuller, what did you think
of the movie, The Passion of The Christ?" Well, Mel
Gibson invited my family ... my wife, me and our kids to
his studio months ago to see it in its rough edit. It was
enormously impacting. We had our impressions and shared
them honestly. Then I saw the movie on Ash Wednesday, the
opening day, and I would say everybody should see it at
first time you see it you are not prepared for it. You've
never seen anything like it. You must see it a second time.
Then the movie really got through to me in depth. The first
time there was too much shock. And I've got to see the movie
a third time, because as I have discussed it with my wife
and children, they would share what impressed them and I
would say, "Was that in the movie?" ... "Oh
yes." ... "Was that line used?" ... "Yes
..." Who said it? ... I must see it a third time. It
See how Jesus lived while He was dying
make it such a profound movie? First of all, it honors Jesus.
And there are books like the Da Vinci Code that do not honor
Jesus. And there are lots of articles written by so-called
experts, who may be theologians, they may be priests of
the Roman Catholic Church, or evangelists in the Protestant
Church, who are into a school of thinking called revisionism.
Suddenly they act very intelligent, avant-garde and ego
motivated, so they come up with conclusions and insights
into Jesus that are pure fantasy. This movie of Mel Gibson¡¦s,
The Passion of The Christ, is not fantasy! It is reality.
And it tells the truth like you have never heard or seen
more whiplashes than Christ actually received, I didn't
count them, but this movie honors Jesus Christ like no other
movie I can remember seeing in my lifetime. And what makes
it great is you will see life at
its best in this Person! You can never judge a life,
truly, until you see how they live while they are dying.
You catch a glimpse of how Jesus
lived while He was dying! That's pretty awesome.
"The Passion of The Christ" and you will see Him
at the ultimate crossroads.
It is where you can relate to that. All of us have crossroads
in life, from stage to stage. I am so pleased that the movie
opened with Christ in Gethsemane. That was really the ultimate
final introduction to the decision that changed the world.
Jesus knew what was ahead of Him. He was at the real crossroads
of His young life and He could do something about it. Crossroads
are when you have to make a decision and every time you
have to make a decision, you are making choices from options
and alternatives. So the challenge in making a decision
is making sure that you make the best decision. Oh, you
probably know immediately what is best, but
then are you prepared to pay the price? ... To decide the
best instead of the good enough?
are talking about what ultimately becomes the defining moment
of a person's life that can qualify for them that beautiful
adjective in our Bible text this morning. And the adjective
is "good. The fruit of the
spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, GOODNESS ... That
word is right in the middle of the text for good reason.
All of these words come together like a recipe for life.
Leave one word out and life won't be as it should be.
doesn't say that all you need is to be good. No. He is saying
you should be joyous, loving, patient, kind, peaceful, faithful,
gentle and self-controlled. In the middle of it all, is
to be "good."
What is goodness? What makes a person a "good"
person? ... a "good" husband? ... a "good"
wife? ... a "good" child ... a "good"
student? ... a "good" professional? Allow me to
sum it up. Goodness is making the best decision. It is not
enough just to make a "good enough" decision,
because often times a "good enough " decision
is not the "best" decision. No. That is why we
tend to move away from excellence and live life on the level
of mediocrity. It doesn't cost so much. The price a person
pays for uncompromising excellence takes an enormous emotional
drain out of you.
life has been facing decisions and always the challenge
for me is making the "best" decision not just
a "good enough " decision. Yes!
in the film, "The Passion of The Christ," people
are asking me, "Well, what do you think? Who killed
Jesus? Do you think the Jews killed Him? Do you think the
Romans killed Him?" Nobody killed Him! That is the
truth. That is why in the movie itself you hear Jesus say
in a flashback early in His ministry the words from John
Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take
it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of
Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to
take it again. This command I have received from My Father."
you see is not an execution. No. The Romans thought it was,
and those who wanted Jesus dead thought it was. It was not
an execution. It was not suicide. It was a sacrifice.
What is the difference between a suicide and a sacrifice?
... All the difference in the world. A suicide is cutting
out, running away, chickening out and leaving the mess for
somebody else to clean up. Suicide
is ultimate selfishness. My apologies to you who
sit here and had a child or loved one who committed suicide,
because they were under chemical control, but I have to
say what must be said; suicide is the ultimate act of selfishness.
is the ultimate act of self-giving love
is the ultimate act of self-giving love for something bigger
and more beautiful than you are by yourself alone. Who killed
Jesus? Nobody! He made the sacrifice because He loves me
and He loves you. But it was a struggle for Him. I mean
if the sacrifice wasn't hard to make, it probably did not
have much value. He sweat drops of blood in the Garden of
Gethsemane saying, "God, not My will, but Thine be done ..." I as a
human don¡¦t want to do this... "If
it is possible, let this cup pass from me."
only one who could make that possible was Jesus Himself.
It was a painful decision. That is where character is formed.
Where are you? Where am I? You and I am not Jesus. We are
not facing a decision this week of whether or not we are
going to make a sacrifice to be killed in a few hours. No.
you are at the crossroads of life every day. So am I! Challenges.
All of us do face decisions between good and evil. That
is what we all face every time, and that is what you see
in the movie of Mel Gibson, Christ facing evil. The way
evil is personified in a non-gendered face is just brilliant.
And in the same way, evil temps you and me. On the screen
you hear evil say to Jesus, "One person can't die for
all the sins in the world, come on ..." A little later,
tempting him again, "And people won't appreciate it,
negative thinking of evil is profound and it comes across
that screen quite attractively. Well, you and I face it
every day at life's crossroads, and we have to make a decision.
One is positive, the other negative. Or probably both are
positive ... one is excellent and one is mediocre. And then,
this Bible verse makes it so clear. We have to take the
long look in making decisions that will form our character
and will earn for us the adjective, "good" ...
he was a "good" man, or she was a "good"
woman, she is a "good" mother, or she is a "good"
make that kind of decision which produces those characteristics
takes faith. It takes enormous faith for the long look to
see where the road of goodness leads.
"Goodness by its nature is everlasting. Evil dies out."
Who killed Jesus? All the people who were there are dead,
they are gone! But Christ is alive!
One of the Bible commentators I read this week in preparation
for this message is named Hastings and he said, "Goodness
by its nature is everlasting. Evil dies out. Goodness continues
to live. The more evil grows, the nearer it is to perishing.
Hatred, revenge and impurity die from its own inner poison."
grows! It doubles and triples itself. It attracts the best
people ... the best minds ... the best hearts ... the best
characters ... so it becomes more and more alive, more and
good deed begins with a good thought, but it does not end
in and of itself. A good thought becomes a good action,
and it is repeated and grateful receivers enjoy it and pass
it on to their friends until it becomes a mighty movement
in uplifting humanity."
movie doesn't end with Jesus on the cross. No ... it ends
when you see the inner side of the tomb with the cloth that
has been wrapped around the body of Jesus now empty, laying
there, folded. That is the symbol of the resurrection.
we decided to stage the Passion play in this Crystal Cathedral
over twenty years ago, we put a great deal of research and
study into it. The Glory of Easter is focused on the empty
tomb, the living Christ. Oh, you will see the whipping and
the scourging and hear the pounding of the nails, and see
the three crosses rise slowly with the bodies on those crosses,
but the emphasis is on the resurrection of Jesus. I don't
think Mel Gibson would have any problem with that. That
was just not part of the script that he was called by God
to show in the movie. I applaud him for his courageous commitment
to Jesus Christ. See the movie, then attend the Glory of
Easter here at the Cathedral and tell your friends.
Life's Ultimate Crossroad
the real crossroads for you might be, "Do I become
a believer in this Jesus? ...
"Do I become a believer that there is a God, an intelligent
God? Does that God want to connect with me personally? Come
into my life and shape me?"Are you at a crossroads?
Make the decision only you can make. You can say, "Nobody
takes my life from me." You are right. "Only I
can give it up." You are right. So you live with the
responsibility of that decision. What happens? Life becomes
beautiful, unbelievable when you decide to be a believer
in Jesus Christ. That is why Christianity impacts millions
of human beings on planet earth two thousand years later.
This morning as I was sharing these thoughts for my message
with my daughter, Gretchen, she said, "And you can
remind people what Jesus said."
asked, "What do you have reference to?"
replied, "Well, He said God will have the last word
and it will be good."
asked, "Did Jesus say that?"
it's in the Bible."
Testament or New Testament?"
said, "I don't know. I think Jesus said it, not one
of the prophets."
said, "Gretchen, you're wrong. It's not in the Bible.
Jesus never said it. I said it!"
never forget it because I know how that sentence came to
me many years ago. I was listening to the radio when a news
story broke saying Oral Roberts' daughter had just died
in a plane crash with her husband. Their children were not
with them. The second child of Oral and Evelyn Roberts to
die a violent death ... a son and now a daughter. I need
to send him a message.
am I going to say? I prayed.
said, "God, what do I say?" And out of my fingers,
holding a pen, came words on white paper. "Dear Oral, God will have the last word, and it will
you at a crossroads this morning? Where are you at? If you
do not have a personal relationship with God in prayer so
that you can talk to Him and you know He is listening, that
is where you need to begin. It is where the movie began.
The prayer of Christ in Gethsemane,
all things are possible to You. If it is possible, let this
cup pass from me. Nevertheless not My will, but Thine be
done." (Matthew 26:39)
there, on your knees, give your life to God ... and guess
what? It will be a GOOD life.
Prayer: Lord, I must make changes in my life. I want to
become a good person. I want to make the best decisions
at the right time. So, O God, I need You inside of me to
become the kind of person that Jesus Christ was and is.
Are You alive like Schuller says? Is he right? Am I wrong
if I haven¡¦t believed it? And, Jesus, if You are alive,
can You come inside of me somehow, someway, meaningfully.
I want to get out of the way, Jesus. Come in. Take over.