Various Texts -- "Resurrection"
The point of the death of Jesus is the Resurrection. Thousands upon thousands upon thousands were crucified in the Roman Empire. But it is the Resurrection of Jesus that makes our faith utterly unique.
It could be easy to think that the Resurrection were something that just happened and that it was really something unexpected and really new. We live in a day when people are not familiar with the Old Testament.
Elijah and Elisha, prophets in the OT, resurrected kids. Jesus—>Lazarus and a Widow’s Son.
We have heard throughout our service from the beginning of Creation, the Flood, Abraham’s Test and Foreshadowing of the Sacrifice of an Only Son, Israel in Slavery to Egypt, and the Prophet Isaiah foretelling of the Righteous Branch that will be fruitful and multiply.
This is what Peter says in Acts when he says: “To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins.”
// Not Private // Not only was the Resurrection of Jesus foretold centuries before he was born, but once it happened it was not a quiet event. Some say that the Apostles made the story up to start a new religion and gain believers. All of them except John, who was exiled on an island, were killed because they refused to be silent about the Resurrection. If it didn’t really happen, why would they be willing to die? Imagine if they were lying. If you were confronted with the option to say what you were lying or be burned at the stake, what would you do?
And he didn’t just appear to a few people. He appeared to more than 500 people over a period of 40 days. What was going on during this time? Jesus was not only revealing himself, he was eating and drinking and explaining how he fulfilled the expectations from thousands of years ago.
The resurrection of Jesus is a one-time event to show that he has power over death. He wasn’t resurrected as a kind of trick to get people to believe in him. The Resurrection not only is meant to give us hope that death is not the silent end, it was also meant to show us that Jesus’ Resurrection is simply the beginning of a mass resurrection for all those that believe in him.
If you have made Jesus King over your life, you don’t merely have to place your faith in a once-for-all moment, but you can rest in a present reality. What do I mean? In the passage from Romans 6, we heard the Apostle Paul breathe confidence into the church by letting them know that they are not slaves to sin anymore.
Yes, you may struggle with sin. But, if you are in Christ, you are a new person. You have been born to a living hope. He doesn’t tell us to get our act together because God’s angry with you. If you have repented of your sin and decided to follow Jesus, you are no longer ruled by your appetites. Yes, sin may seem like it’s going to kill you.
The victory we want over the sin that strangles us, that victory is found in the resurrection of Jesus. As Paul said, — “Just as Christ was raised from the dead…so we too might walk in newness of life…For one who has died has been set free from sin…We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
True salvation is not just knowing these things to be reliable and true. It is an action of submitting to God. Saying, “I no longer live for myself—my desires, my security, for others to think highly of me—I live for the glory of someone else.” And in living for the one who made you and saved you, you find that you are truly alive. You will be a slave to someone or something. Whatever you give your heart and life to, that becomes your Master.
And so when we confess that Jesus is Lord of our lives, we know we will be physically raised up with him.
Some of you may be thinking that this sounds good and all—having hope and peace and all—but that’s just not for me. I’ve messed up too much. The Apostle Paul who wrote so much of the books of the New Testament, friends, he murdered Christians before he became one. This gift of salvation is for anyone, anyone who knows these things are reliable and is able to then repent of having to live life on their terms…repent of your sin and put your faith in Jesus.
Maybe you’re afraid of what it will cost. It costs everything you have. It requires that you die to yourself. It requires you to take up your own cross. To die so that you might truly live.
Maybe you prayed a prayer when you were a kid and you’ve lived your life how you wanted. You didn’t give two winks to listen to God. But he’s telling you, there’s salvation for you if you will choose to die today so that you might live today.