Easter 2019

I pray you had a wonderful weekend celebrating the resurrection of our Lord! The most extensive explanation of the resurrection in all the Bible is found in 1 Corinthians 15. We will be starting a new sermon series on 1 Corinthians in May, but for now, we will look ahead at chapter 15. Jesus did not come to make bad people good but to make dead people alive!

Our Belief in the Resurrection

“Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel I preached to you, which you received, on which you have taken your stand… For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:1-4). The gospel is so clearthat even a child can understand it. It did not originate with Paul. He passed on what he received. The gospel is the most important message in the world! Christianity thrives because Jesus is alive! There is only one gospel. Christ died, He was buried, and raised on the third day.In verses 5-9 we read about all the people that he appeared to after the resurrection. It was not fake news! His birth, his miracles, his death, and his resurrection were public. His return will be public. Our belief has to be public as well. “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation” (Rom. 10:9-10).

Our Bodies in the Resurrection

In verses 35-49, Paul talks about our resurrection bodies. God made the world and said, “It is good.” Sin entered the world and the curse of sin caused the bad. You may have a bad back, bad knees, bad eye sight, bad breath! Old age is when your mind and body are not what they use to be. Society is obsessed with the body. People have plastic surgery to stay young and heart surgery to stay alive! We live in a world where we get sick. People need chemo, radiation, and live in chronic pain. But thanks to the resurrection of Jesus, cancer does not have the final word! The cemetery does not have the final word! The message of Easter is the cross is empty and the tomb is empty, so your life does not have to be. We will get a new body, get to go to a new Heaven, there will be a new earth, new Jerusalem, new Kingdom. Jesus makes all things new! For the unbeliever, this life is as good as it gets. For the believer, this life is as bad as it gets.

Our Breakthrough in the Resurrection

“Listen, I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raisedincorruptible, and we will be changed… When this corruptible body is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place: Deathhas been swallowed up in victory. Where, death, is your victory? Where, death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Cor. 15:51-57). Death cannot hurt us and the grave cannot hold us! The key word is victory! One day the trumpet will sound and ultimate victory will be ours because of the resurrected Jesus. Verse 58 says, “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast,immovable, always excellingin the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” It will be worth it all when we see Jesus!He gives us victory!

Take time to reflect this week on the all that the resurrection means and give your sin, your life, and your best to Him!

Easter

Three Days

What an awesome Easter weekend we had at Liberty celebrating the resurrection! I had the privilege to preach on “three days.” Throughout Scripture we see an emphasis on three days: on the third day Abraham saw where he was to sacrifice Isaac (Gen. 22:4), Esther asked the people to fast for three days (Esth. 4:16), Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days (Jon. 1:17), and Jesus performed His first miracle on the third day (John 2:1). There are too many examples to list! In Luke 24, we see that the greatest miracle of all took place on the third day (v. 7).

Day 1 – Pain

“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb” (Lk. 24:1). Why? They saw Jesus suffer and die. The cross was a day of pain. Maybe this Easter season you are going through a painful experience/trial/test. Jesus understands your pain! He understands physical pain, with your body or health. Emotionally, Jesus was a man of sorrows. He was despised and rejected. There is purpose in your pain! God never wastes pain, He is present in it, and He uses the process. Through it all, God works it all together for good. The worst thing that ever happened in history turned out to be the best thing that ever happened in history. What appeared to be the end, was really the beginning. Out of death came life!

Day 2 – Perplexity

When the women tried to tell the disciples that Jesus was no longer in the tomb, “their words seemed to them like nonsense” (v. 11). We also read that Jesus appeared to the disciples on the Emmaus road but they didn’t recognize Him. Verse 21 says, “we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.” Have you ever hoped things would turn out a certain way and they didn’t? If Day 1 is a day of suffering, Day 2 is a day of sorrow, silence, waiting, wondering, questioning, bewilderment, chaos, and confusion. God can handle all our questions, doubts, and fears. These disciples were walking the wrong way when Jesus came to them! They turned their back on Him, walking away from Jerusalem. Some of you have been disappointed in life. You had hope, but things did not turn out the way you planned. Maybe you’ve turned your back on Jesus and walked away. Like He found these men, God will find you when you are going the wrong way! He meets you where you are!

Day 3 – Promise

If Day 1 is a day of pain, and Day 2 a day of perplexity, the third day is the day of promise. It is the day of resurrection! Jesus not only offers resurrection, He is the Resurrection. He not only offers life, He is life!  Jesus rose and conquered death so that everything we face could be conquered. Revelation 1:18 says, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” He took the keys of hell and death! The devil does not even have keys to his own house! Jesus unlocked death for everyone. All the promises of the Bible are worthless if Jesus did not rise from the dead. Life is full of pain and perplexities but ultimately the promises of God prevail.

Not only did Jesus walk and talk with the disciples, but He also stayed with them (v. 29). He walks with us in our rejection, regret, and pain of yesterday. He talks with us in our doubts, fears, and the perplexities of today. He stays with us forever! He keeps His promises!

Verse 33 says, “They got up at once and returned to Jerusalem.” Remember, they had been walking away. Easter is the ultimate comeback story! Jesus came back to life! Some of you need to come to God. Others need to come back to God. Easter is the third day. Don’t worry about your past; you are not going back. Don’t worry about your future; God is already there. Today is the day of salvation! Jesus paid your debt. He gave His life to you fully. The only right response is to give your life to Him fully.