For our Guests, today:
- Sermon time is where we dig into God’s Word. We use a lot of scripture because my opinion is not as important as the authority and power behind the very words of God.
- I hope you will take out the outline and fill in the blanks because one remembers more when you write something down and hear it verses just hearing it
- I hope you will take this outline home and look up scriptures that are alluded to here but we will not have time to cover this morning.
- I hope all will look and meditate on the three questions on the back page this week and work through the answers in your life.
- I hope for all of us in this room we will come with an open mind and an open heart to hear what God has to say to each of us individually today.
Romans 6:1 – 11
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Purpose: Every Christ follower must be willing for the Master to keep working on your life to conform us into what He wants us to be.
Introduction: Comedian and speaker Ken Davis shares a story about a woman who looked out of her window and saw her German shepherd shaking the life of out of a neighbor’s rabbit. Her family did not get along well with these neighbors, so this was going to be like a big disaster.
She grabbed her broom, pummeled the dog until it dropped the now extremely dead rabbit out of its moth. She panicked. She did not know what else to do. She grabbed the rabbit, took it inside, gave it a bath, blow dried it to its original fluffiness, combed it until that rabbit was looking good, snuck it into the neighbor’s yard, and propped the rabbit back up in its cage. An hour later she heard screams coming from next door. She asked her neighbor, “What’s going on?” “Our rabbit! Our rabbit! her neighbor cried, “He died two weeks ago. We buried him and now he is back!
People in the ancient world knew dead rabbits tend to stay dead. They knew that dead rabbis tend to stay dead. A scholar by the name of N.T. Wright notes “There were many messianic movements in the first century. In every case, the would-be Messiah got crucified by Rome just as Jesus did.” And this is what he goes on to write: “In not one single case do we hear the slightest mention of the disappointed followers claiming their hero has been raised from the dead. They knew better.”
I am here to tell you that we serve a risen Savior this morning and we are here to celebrate that fact of history today.
Transition: Many times, on Easter Sunday, I try to build a case from scripture and outside of scripture for the resurrection. Today, I want to talk about the power of the resurrection, the purpose of the resurrection and the promises found in the hope of the resurrection.
The Power of the Resurrection – Romans 6:1 – 11; I Corinthians 15:50 – 57
- Power over sin
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin
- When a person becomes a follower of Christ, they have a sinful nature that needs to die. We are given a new nature in the form of the Holy Spirit who lives in our place of emotions and will. We have a choice daily as to whether we want to crucify the selfish, old nature that wants us to live apart from God and / or yield our seat of emotions and will to the ways of God laid out for us in scripture and with His Holy Spirit speaking to us.
- We will celebrate baptism in a few moments and I will share more then what that symbolizes. But for now, positionally, sin has no power over us because when we come to faith in Christ, we died with Christ and we possess the resurrection power to overcome sin
- Not by will power, not by any man-made ways but by the power that lives within us.
- Power over death
I Corinthians 15:50 - 57
50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
- In our own abilities, we cannot make it into heaven. We have mortal bodies with immortal or eternal souls. You and I are going to spend eternity somewhere. Just mark it down
Illustration: History tells the story of the renowned atheist, Voltaire, one of the most aggressive antagonists of Christianity. He wrote many things to undermine the church, and once said of Jesus Christ, “Curse the wretch. In 20 years, Christianity will be no more. My single hand will destroy the edifice it took 12 apostles to rear. “Needless to say, Voltaire was less than successful. And on his deathbed, a nurse who attended him was reported to have said, “For all the wealth in Europe, I would not see another atheist die.” The physician, waiting up with Voltaire at his death, said that he cried out with utter desperation, “I am abandoned by God and man. I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six months of life. Then I shall go to hell and you will go with me, oh, Christ, oh, Jesus Christ!”
- When we are faced seriously with our immortality, it has a way of getting us serious about how to live our lives in preparation for eternity
- The Bible is very clear that we cannot earn God’s righteousness which is needed to get into heaven
- He is the perfect and righteous judge. The standard we have to live up to is perfection
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
- If you and I can achieve perfection on our own merits we can reach heaven after death. The problem is we are not perfect.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Ephesians 2:8 – 9
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
- We celebrate the fact of Jesus overcoming death today. The tomb, the Roman soldiers, Pilate, Caiaphas and Satan himself could not keep him in the grave.
- He is alive and ascended into heaven 40 days after His resurrection and will be returning at His appointed time to judge the earth and set up His rule and reign.
- Each of you, as you hear this, do you have the confidence when your number is called and death is coming on your body, do you have the positive assurance that you will be in heaven today? Jesus made it possible to overcome death.
Application: Are you confident in the resurrection power overcoming death?
Transition: What then was the purpose for the resurrection of Christ as it relates to you and I who are Christ followers?
The Purpose of the Resurrection – Romans 8:29 – 30; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 5:24
Romans 8:29 – 30
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
- This does not mean that you have to wear a robe and walk in sandals and heal people.
- What this does mean that God has a unique plan and purpose for each individual human being that has ever been born or will be born on this earth.
- He wants to fill us with His Holy Spirit and as we daily surrender as we said before, He uses our talents, our abilities, our personalities, and the spiritual gifts He has given to us to fulfill our purpose for which we were made in this life
- So, if you are a teacher, He wants you to radiate Christ through your personality, through your compassion and love for the kids you teach reflecting the love and compassion that Jesus had for people.
- If you are an employee at John Deere, you realize your boss is not your human boss but God. You serve God through your bosses at work attempting to fulfill their requests of you and fulfilling what your job description is with a Christ like attitude. Asking for forgiveness when you complain too much or do something wrong. Attempting to live a blameless, not perfect, but blameless life.
- Conforming to His image is allowing the Holy Spirit to invade your life on a daily basis and let Him be the King of your castle, your heart.
2 Corinthians 3:18
18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
- God does the transforming by His Holy Spirit.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
- If we could look at our heart from God’s vantage point we would have an under-construction sign on our heart. You and I are not the finished product
- He is always molding and shaping our personality and body through circumstances, through what we read in the Bible, through outside influences by people He brings into our lives, etc.
24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
- The great thing about God is that He never gives up on us and that He is daily, moment by moment making us new. How is He making us new?
- Reshaping our attitudes
- Reshaping our perspective on life
- Viewing people from His vantage point
- Helping us to think His thoughts and obey His commands
- Have you ever had one of those moments where something came out of your mouth that was amazing and you thought, where did that come from? That is the Holy Spirit and God’s re-creating you. Making you new
- He wants us to have true righteousness – the kind of right living that pleases God
- He wants us to be holy like He is, fulfilling His commands through obedience to what He tells us to do. Not getting entangled in the affairs of this world too deeply that they control us.
Application: Is the person you are becoming more or less like Jesus?
Transition: We have a moment by moment choice to tap into the resurrection power of Jesus to make us new and become more like Him. The good news is that He has left us numerous promises that this can become a true part of a Christ follower’s life. All we have to do is claim the promises.
The Promise of the Resurrection – 2 Corinthians 5:17; Philippians 1:6; 2: 12 - 13
2 Corinthians 4:16 – 18; Romans 12:2
- God’s part in the process
2 Corinthians 4:16 – 18
16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
- Man’s part in the process
Philippians 2:12 – 13
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
- I want to remind you that while God is doing His Big, Big part to make us like Jesus, we have a responsibility to work out the salvation He has given to us.
- That means we have to act on what we study and know from the Bible
Illustration: Neil Gorsuch’s remarks after being sworn in were to whom much is given, much is required. Quoting from Luke 12:48
- That is why we need to be a great relationship with the Father through prayer and being a student of the Word of God.
- When He brings the chisel of trials and tribulations to knock off the rough edges, He is shaping and molding us. We should not get bitter because we know two things
- One, He is the one who is in control of our circumstances and He will not put any more on us than we can handle
- Two, God always, always has our best interests in mind because He is the most amazing and loving Father you can find.
- We are to cooperate and willing let God have His way with our lives and go and do whatever He asks of us regardless of what it is. Then we are doing our part to becoming more and more like Jesus in His resurrected state.
Resurrecting by Elevation Worship
Your name, your name is victory,
All praise, will rise to Christ our King
By your spirit I will rise, from the ashes of defeat.
The resurrected King is resurrecting me.
In your name, I come alive to declare your victory.
The resurrected King is resurrecting me.
Application: Are you cooperating with God in the transforming construction of your heart?
Key Thought: Are we allowing the Spirit of God to chisel away at our lives to make us the best representatives of Jesus on this earth that we can be?
Transition: If you are here today and you are hearing this information for the first time, you may be asking how you can obtain this resurrection power for yourself. You may ask how can I have the power over sin and over death?
- The Gospel – The Good News
- Fact: God is perfect, holy and deserves to be the righteous judge
- Fact: We all fall short of the glory of God. We established these two point earlier
- God as the righteous judge cannot ignore our unrighteousness, our sin so He pronounces all of mankind guilty of sin, of not being able to attain His righteous standard.
- That is the very bad news that will separate us from God for all of eternity.
- We will have to make a payment for our sins at the end of this life. Romans 6:23 – The wages of sin is death. We cannot pay
- The very good news is that Jesus Christ died on Calvary’s cross on what we now call “Good Friday”. He laid down His life and shed His blood and God says it is the shedding of blood that forgives, covers and removes our sin.
- By accepting Christ’s finished work on the cross, we can receive Christ into our lives and let Him take over control of our lives
- We do that by turning away from our sin. Going the opposite direction toward God.
- When by faith we receive Christ as Savior into our lives, He gives us the promise and assurance that we have abundant life and eternal life. John 10:10
I John 5:11 – 13
11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.
Illustration: Humatara Prison in Brazil. Jesus is doing the time so that we can be free!!
I invite you today, if you do not have the assurance of heaven, if you do not sense that God’s resurrection power is working in your life, to pray this prayer with me as we close.
Three Questions to Ponder this Week?
- Do you know the Master?
- Do you understand the Master’s purpose for which He is creating in your life?
- Are you allowing the Master to perform a resurrection on you?