04.12.2009 Easter Sunday
17th April 2009
He is risen! He is risen indeed! That is an ancient tradition on Easter. Today I would like to focus on the practical - what the resurrection can do for you. Martin Luther said there are only two days to be concerned about - today - and 'that day' So we can know that 'that day' can be guaranteed - I'd like to look at how we can live in light of that day. Heavenly Father, thank You for this day - Thank You for this Easter morning - the opportunity to gather to worship. Thank You that You rose from the dead and that Your death paid for our sins that we might have a new life with You. This Holiday is the Holy Day - a day of new beginnings - a day of the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Paul spoke of the resurrection often in 2 Corinthians 4: 14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you There are 3 ways to live life Some live life with regret (and maybe guilt) - for things gone wrong in my past. It may have been bad decisions. It might have been - why did I choose this major and had to work this job for the last twenty years. For some, it is why did I say that and ruin that relationship. Why did I make that mistake or commit that sin in my life. There is one thing about living today - in order to live today right, you can't live in the past - If you are going to live today properly. The resurrection does two things - the past - no matter what it is - is forgiven when we come to Him. We no longer need to live in guilt. Think of the thief on the cross - we looked at Friday night. He had a checkered/terrible past. He even turned to the other thief - we deserve what we are getting - and Jesus turns to him and forgives him. Today - you can know that whatever you have done - God can forgive it and wants to forgive you. It is a forgiveness that is complete and leaves no guilt. The other thing we know - it redeems our past. Redeem - to buy back. Financial times get tough - you go to the pawn shop and have that prized piece of jewelry. You turn it over and they give you money for it. There is a sense of loss. Redemption is when someone hears your story and goes for you and buys it back - that is what the resurrection can do for our past. It can't change it - but it can restore it for today. The second type of person lives in the future. Not the person who lives for 'that day' - the day we stand before God - but the person who lives in the future whose life is filled with anxiety and fear. A fear of what might happen in life - anxiety and stress. You cannot live today in fear of what may happen. The person who lives in the future - there is another side - wishful thinking - hoping things will get better so I can ignore what is going on today. The resurrection gives us hope for the future. It doesn't control or change that something may go wrong tomorrow. It gives us hope that in our ultimate future, there is something better. The third person lives for today. Matt 6: 34 Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. (The Message) Give your entire attention to today. God is the only one who controls the future. The only place we can live is in today. Paul talks about how to apply the resurrection to our lives in 2 Corinthians. 2 Cor. 4: 16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, Expect difficulties and trouble in this life. The outer man is decaying. We know that - as you get older - you see it happening. You can expect difficulty and trouble - Physically - emotionally- spiritually- disappointment in this life and loss. Because of the resurrection - those difficulties and troubles do not need to define us or determine the quality of our lives. Our natural tendency is to think - when things fall apart - that will ruin the quality of our lives - but Paul goes on to say that the inner man is being renewed day by day. The quality of your life is not based on how things are going in your life. Do you believe that? That is a difficult one, isn't it?! You could have everything in the outer man going wrong - but you could still have a quality life - joy - For Paul, momentary light affliction is being stoned, whipped, thrown in prison. "This is momentary and light in comparison to eternity. " The reason our difficulties do not need to determine the quality of our life - because if we are living as Christ would want us to - then it produces something of worth that you cannot compare. He goes on to say - 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. In order for the resurrection to make any sense - we need to look past this time. We need to look to something that is unseen and invisible, but eternal - our life with God. 2 Cor. 5:1 For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. He is not talking about your house - but your body - when this earthly body dies - when this that covers me - you know this as my body 0- I am someone else - this is a covering for who you are. When this one is gone - you will be given a new one - and it will last forever. You were not meant to live in a body like this - you were meant to live in a perfect body. 2 For indeed in this [house] we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven; I like the word, groan - as spring starts to come - you start to do spring work - and the next morning you groan! This life is an experience we weren't meant to experience - you were not created for this - they are foreign, but has entered the world. There was a separation and everything broke down. 3 inasmuch as we, having put it on, shall not be found naked. 4 For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed, but to be clothed, in order that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. What is mortal - is swallowed up in life - We think mortal is THIS life - but when a person dies, this mortal, groaning body is swallowed by life. Think of someone - those surfboarders - under this enormous wave - and all of a sudden - just gone - swallowed by that - in the same way, our lives will be swallowed by immortality. 9 Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. We need to live in light of that day. 2 Cor. 5: 14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. 16 Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know [Him] [thus] no longer. 17 Therefore if any man is in Christ, [he is] a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. The resurrection causes us to be new people. A new creature. A new creation. When a person comes to faith in Jesus, that person is changed forever. The outside stays the same - still decaying - but the inside is changed. There is a new motivation - a new power inside of you to live differently. We celebrate the resurrection on Easter - but how aware are you of the resurrection every day - or are you doing it yourself. When you come to Christ, you have a power to be different. We have to learn to appropriate that power. 18 Now all [these] things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. We have new motivation - new power - and a new relationship with God. Before a person comes to Christ, they are separated from a relationship. When a person looks upon the cross to realize that Christ died for your sins - and was raised from the dead to offer life to each of us. Each person is brought in to a new kind of relationship with Christ. Reconciliation - a change from enmity to peace - the cessation of hostility in attitude or action. Christ taking up on himself what we deserved. Bringing us back to a relationship of peace. We all know what it is to be unreconciled. When relationships go unreconciled, you are in trouble. Maybe for a brief period of time - maybe for our lives - you know how that weighs on you when there is a battle of hostility. That is how we are with God - but Christ has reconsciled us to himself. 21 He made Him who knew no sin [to be] sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. When Christ went to the cross - he who knew no sin became sin for you. God created you to be in relationship with Him - but we broke that relationship. But God had a plan and sent His son Jesus - it was finished - your sins and my sins were placed on Him. The judgment that was meant for us fell upon Him. Through His death and resurrection - each of us can be restored to relationship with Him. That happens simply - there are Martin Luther said there are only two days to be concerned about - today - and 'that day' We can be sure of 'that day' if 'this day' - today is the day of salvation - to put your faith in Christ. To do that - a person's sins are forgiven. We will close in prayer - today is Easter - if you have never really trusted Jesus Christ - maybe you have gone to church all these years - maybe you just decided it was Easter - I should go to church.