Sermon – April 21, 2019 Resurrection Sunday

He is Risen!

We were all struck by the spectacle of the fire that destroyed the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.

As I was watching the coverage, somthing struck me, I began thinking about why this burning building caused so much grief and angst. One of the reasons was that we as God’s created beings, desire transcendence, we have a desire for something that endures beyond our lives. We desperately want to know that eternity is real and achievable. The thought that everything around us that we see will one day fall to decay is simply too hard for us to face (see Ecclesiastes 3:11).

We were made for so much more than the accumulation of wealth, knowledge and the pursuit of comfort and happiness, we were made for eternal glory with Jesus.

On Easter Sunday, we celebrate the fact that Jesus rose from the dead and that he paid the price for our eternal salvation. Isaiah 53 is one of the clearest Old Testament prophetic Scriptures that points to the death and resurrection of Jesus. These words also remind us that Jesus was not a victim of a terribly botched trial, or mistaken identity. Jesus was the creator God, who took on flesh, was born and lived at a specific time in history to die on a Roman cross and then to be raised to life. Only Jesus could do what He did, only Jesus who was fully God and fully man, was the one who could pay the price for the sins of man.

In Isaiah 53:10-12 we see five key attributes of Jesus, starting at verse 10a, “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt,”
Jesus is – the Perfect Sacrifice.

Under the Law of Moses, there were multiple different offerings, the prophet Isaiah wrote that Jesus was a guilt offering. The guilt offering was to provide a way to be cleansed from unintentional sin, or a way to provide restitution when someone has been personally wronged because of a sinner’s actions. Jesus knows what sins we have committed in the past, but the guilt offering was for unintentional or yet unknown sin. On the cross, Jesus paid the price for our sins and for the sins we are yet to commit even our unintentional sins. Does this mean I sin without consequence? Absolutely not, it was our sin that drove Jesus to the cross, past present and future. Jesus is the perfect sacrifice, the only pure spotless lamb of God (see Hebrews 10:11-14).

Jesus is – the Risen Lord.

Jesus is alive! Isaiah 53:10b-11a says, “he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;”

Only living people see their offspring, only living people have extended days and prosper.

This is the line in the sand that differentiates Christianity from any other world religion. Our God is alive, the tomb where he was buried was only occupied for a few days. Paul clearly stated this in 1 Corinthians 15:3-6, this is the Good News, he is risen!

Not only that, Jesus was raised with a body that will never decay, the same kind that we will also get one day if we believe in Jesus as Lord. The resurrection of Jesus is our glorious hope of a certain eternal future.

Jesus is – our Righteousness.

Isaiah 53:11b, “by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.”

The word righteous means that there is no longer a need for justice or punishment. For the Christian, to be righteous means to be in right standing before God. This is the privilege that we have as those covered by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus. We cannot stand before the all-holy God without the righteousness of Christ.

Without the righteousness of Christ, we have no hope of any sin being forgiven, but because of what he had done, no sin is too great for his forgiveness.

In Isaiah 64, we read that those who trust in their own righteousness or good works, are described as filthy rags in God’s sight. There is no good work that we could do that would make us righteous.  Nothing we can do will make us righteous before God, only through Jesus can we stand righteous before the all-holy God

In Jeremiah 23:6 we read that Jesus is Jehovah Tsidkenu, meaning Jehovah is our righteousness.

Our being in right standing with God is only because of us placing our faith in the completed work of Jesus on the cross. Righteousness comes through faith.

Jesus is our Inheritance

Isaiah 53:12a, “Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,

The Bible is full of references to the inheritance believers have in Christ (see Ephesians 1:11).

Our inheritance is the sum of all God has promised us in salvation. Our inheritance is not dependent on our works, our inheritance is based on our family, being part of the family of God, being a Christian makes us heirs along with Christ (See Romans 8:16-17).

When we understand and value the glory that awaits us, we are better able to endure whatever comes our way in this life. With an eternal perspective, we realize that this life is gone in a flash and eternity awaits us all. We can praise God during trials because we have His guarantee that we will receive all He has promised (see 2 Corinthians 4:17).

Jesus is our Advocate.

Isaiah 53:12 closes, “because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many and makes intercession for the transgressors.”

An advocate is someone who pleads the cause of another before a court or tribunal, Jesus is our advocate (see 1 John 2:1).

Jesus, the creator of the universe, gave his life for you, and now he is seated next to God the father and he is pleading and advocating for us (see Hebrews 7:23-25).

In addition to this, Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Do you know Jesus?

The Resurrection of Jesus – Sunday April 1, 2018

He is Risen – the Hope of the resurrection

Luke 24:1-12

  Every Easter we celebrate Jesus being raised from the dead. The cross without the resurrection is simply a story of a good man dying, but the resurrection proves that He is God, and everything he said is true

There are some still who claim that Jesus never died, he was simply in a coma and revived himself in the tomb, however there is indisputable evidence that Jesus was dead, and he was raised to life by the power of God (Romans 8:11). The greatest miracle in all of history is not simply when Jesus rose from the dead by the power of God, but that he defeated death and destroyed the works of Satan.

In Luke 24, we read about the resurrection, and we see three things that Jesus left behind when he came out of the tomb.

  1.  The first thing Jesus left behind was his grave clothes. When Peter and John went into the tomb looking for the body of Jesus, all they saw was the strips of linen, Jesus didn’t need them anymore. In John 11, we read how Jesus raised Lazarus who had been dead for four days.  Lazarus came out of the tomb, bound in the grave clothes, and Jesus instructed those who witnessed the miracle to free him. Jesus left the grave clothes behind because he didn’t need them, but Lazarus was going to die again, he would live a natural life and die like all of us, Jesus would never again die, he had defeated death. He had no need for future grave clothes, the strips of linen were left behind to show us that death has been defeated, it holds no fear for us.
  2.  In John 19:39-40 Joseph and Nicodemus put large quantities of spices and perfumes in the tomb with Jesus, and the women who came on that first resurrection Sunday brought perfumes and spices. These were traditional spices to conceal the smell of death. But when Jesus rose from the dead, he left the incense and the perfumes behind, he left them behind because he transformed death from something that smells awful into something that is filled with the sweet smell of eternal life. In 2 Corinthians 2:15-16, Paul describes the aroma of Christ in those who are his followers. Jesus left behind an aroma that we who have the Holy Spirit in us carry with us. How do you smell to the world around you?
  3.  When Jesus rose from the dead, he left the door open. In Matthews Gospel the angel rolled back the stone and sat on it. Pilate had agreed to the request of the chief priests to post a security detail at the entrance to the tomb, but when the angel of the Lord came, rolling back the stone, the guards trembled and became like dead men. The Angel opened the tomb and then secured the opening, making sure that it was never to be shut again. When Jesus died, the curtain in the temple that separated us from the Holy of Holies was torn by the hand of God, because of what Jesus did, we now have unlimited and free access to the presence of the creator of the universe. Jesus provided an opening and secured it, by defeating death, we will never see the stone rolled in front of the tomb again.

In Luke 24:5 the angels, these two men in dazzling apparel, stood next to the women and said, “why do you seek the living amongst the dead”. This is still the question that needs to be asked of mankind today. At some point everyone begins to question the purpose and the goal of it all, why are we here? Is there life after death? And if there is a heaven, how do I get to go there? Without the secure knowledge of the resurrected Jesus, people are striving and trying to extend their lives or find meaning and purpose in life.

People try to find alternative ways of salvation, from trying to live a good life to earn favor from God. People try religion, traditions, even giving money to the church or other good works, all of these will not save you, all this is looking for the living among the dead.

There is no other way of salvation than through faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). The truth is that there is no other God, who sent his only son, to take on human form, to suffer and die to take our place to offer us salvation as a free gift. There is no other religion that can claim that truth. We celebrate today because of the empty tomb, without it we would be following a hollow religion. Rather we are invited into a relationship with the creator of the universe, we aren’t looking for the living among the dead.

As Christians we are freed from the grave, Jesus paid the price so that you could be free from your past life. As a follower of Jesus, we must never look back, don’t go back to the grave of alcohol addiction, drug addiction, gambling, pornography, gossip, slander and the likes, all these are graves that lead to death. Jesus died that you would be free from the grave, why would we go back and wallow in sin? Jesus left the tomb behind, he didn’t look back and neither should we. He walked away because he was done with death, death had been defeated. When you have been made new in Christ, you have a new life, how can you look back?

Job wrote these words hundreds of years before Jesus walked the earth, but God gave him a prophetic glimpse into the resurrection and the second coming of Jesus. He was so thrilled that he couldn’t contain his joy. I pray that in this season, you would have a glimpse of the risen Lord Jesus.

Job 19:25-27

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.

And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see for myself,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
My heart faints within me!

The Resurrection – Sermon on April 16, 2017 Easter Sunday

He is Risen – the Hope of the Resurrection

Text:  Luke 24:1-12 and 36-49

I love science fiction, especially time travel and movies about alternate dimensions. In our entertainment immersed culture, we sometimes struggle with what is real and what is not. The reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is something that is extremely hard for us to grasp, but yet it is absolutely real – this is not science fiction.

 Death is a very real part of our existence and funerals are often a time when people are confronted by their own mortality, it is a somber time of realization that we all will die someday.

This past weekend we celebrated the fact that Jesus is alive and that by his resurrection from the dead, we do not have to fear death. The Apostle Paul quoted the prophet Hosea in 1 Corinthians 15:55, “Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?”

Jesus is alive! Throughout the pages of the Bible, we see prophecies and fulfilment of those prophecies that were written hundreds of years apart. Notice that when Jesus revealed himself to his disciples, he referred to the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms containing information about himself (Luke 24:44). The entire Bible points to Jesus (see Isaiah 53 or Psalm 22).

The message of the early church was the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And before his ascension, Jesus spoke to over five hundred people at one time (1 Corinthians 15:1-6).

The resurrection was common knowledge at the time and it is also recorded in secular history. Apart from that, if Jesus had remained in the tomb, how did that band of fearful broken disciples start a church that exploded across the world and continues to expand today?

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, we have nothing to hold on to. The Bible is an empty document and cannot be the living word of God. The bodily resurrection of Jesus is what determines our salvation, it is our hope of glory. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we know that he has conquered death. By placing our trust and faith in him we are assured of salvation and eternal life. Because of the resurrection, all the promises of God’s word are true, and we can stand on those promises.

When we talk about the resurrection, we must understand that Jesus didn’t simply rise from the dead. Many people have been miraculously raised from the dead, but they ultimately died again.

Here is the difference: Jesus was raised with a new body, a body that was not subject to aging, or sickness or weakness. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:20 and Colossians 1, Jesus is the firstborn from among the dead, the first of a new kind of body.

The resurrected body of Jesus was a physical body, Jesus ate with his disciples, walked and talked with them; he was flesh and blood but different. His new body was a perfect eternal body, one that he still has today, and the same body he will have when he returns as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, as we read in Revelation 19.

The cross is where Jesus willingly offered himself as a sacrifice for our sins, Jesus being perfectly sinless died in our place. But when Jesus rose from the dead, it was a declaration by God, that the price had been paid and that we now can be made right with God. By raising Jesus from the dead, God was in effect saying that he approved of the work Christ had done and that there was no more penalty needed for sin.

Does that mean we never sin? No, we are still subject to temptation and sin, we are all well aware of the fact that no Christian is perfect. But it does mean that when we do sin, we can come to Jesus and ask for forgiveness of our sins (1 John 1:9).

The cross is where the price was paid for our sins; the resurrection is where we obtain power to live the Christian life.
What does the resurrection of Jesus mean for us?

  • The resurrection meant Satan and death itself was defeated. Since Jesus rose from the dead, we do not have to fear death.
  • Through the resurrection, we are made right with God because of the blood of Jesus shed for us.
  • With the resurrection, we can live victorious Christian lives because Jesus ascended into heaven and sent the Holy Spirit, the third person of the trinity to live inside all who believe in him, to give us power to live a life that brings glory to God (see Acts 1:8).
  • With the resurrection of Jesus, we have hope of a glorious future. Jesus said in John chapter 14; “I am going to prepare a place for you… and if I go, I will come back and take you to be with me…”

    Unless Jesus returns soon, we will all face death one day. For those who die having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we will be receiving a new body someday. We who have given our lives to the Lordship of Jesus will get new bodies, just like the one Jesus has. 1 John 3:2 says; “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

    This is not science fiction my friends, this is reality. Jesus is coming back again; his word promises it. Maybe some of us or all of us will die before he comes again, but that does not mean we need to fear death. Because of resurrection Sunday, we no longer fear the uncertainty of death. Those who have made the decision to live for Jesus in this life will live with him for eternity.

    John 11:25-26, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

He is Alive – Resurrection Sunday March 27 2016

Easter Slide Title.2

Matthew 28:1-10

Have you ever been witness to a very important event? Something that when you saw it unfold, you somehow knew that this was history being made. For many of us in America the closest we came to this was witnessing the events of 9/11 unfold on our TV screens.

The course of history changes in a moment. Sometimes we can see the change coming like a building storm, and sometimes history changes in a moment of terror or a natural disaster.

For the disciples that first Easter morning started out as another sad day, just like the day before. They probably woke up and then as the fog of the night cleared their minds, they were faced with the reality that Jesus was dead.  Their Rabbi and master was dead, and they had left everything for him, what would they do now?

And as they slowly begin to wake up on that first day of the week, another earthquake occurs. Can you imagine their fear and anxiety?

Mary Magdelene and Mary the mother of Joses, who we read about in Matthew 26, were boldly walking to the tomb early in the morning. Unlike the rest of the disciples, they wanted to see Jesus’ body one last time. When they saw the angel, they were scared, but the angel quickly calms their fears and tells them not to be afraid, but to come and see the empty tomb.

The angel gives them instructions, and the Bible tells us that they left the tomb quickly “with fear and great joy” (v8). What a strange combination of emotions, but their faith overcame their fear. They had faith that Jesus was alive, their faith that took them to the open tomb that morning. The other disciples who were overcome with fear and anguish had missed out, but the Lord rewarded the faith of the two women.

But as they hurry back to the other disciples, Jesus met them on the way. They see the risen Lord, what a reward for their faith. Imagine being the first person in recorded history to see Jesus in his resurrected form.

As they see him and hear his voice. Jesus simply greets them, and that one word must have brought immeasurable peace to them. They heard the voice of the risen Lord. It was a familiar voice. It was the same voice that called them out of darkness into light.

As soon as they heard his voice, they came to him and clasped his feet and worshipped him. These two women were the first to see the resurrected Lord, and their immediate response was to fall down and worship him.

Note also that they clasped his feet, they weren’t gripping a ghost, or a mere apparition.

Then Jesus begins to speak to them and immediately calms their fears. Then he begins to give them instructions, he gives them the responsibility of spreading the word. Don’t miss this, God is a missionary God, he uses people to spread the good news. We know Matthew 28 for the Great Commission which Jesus gives his disciples just 8 verses later on in this chapter. But this is the first commissioning. Jesus takes these two women, women of faith and he commissions them with the Good news that he is alive

We read in verse 11, that the women went on their way, they obeyed Jesus.

So we have a progression;

  • They saw Jesus
  • They heard his voice
  • They worshipped him
  • They obeyed him.

This is also a description of what takes place when we meet Jesus the risen Lord.

Firstly we see Jesus by seeing his body. People see Jesus by encountering the true church of Jesus Christ, people who have died to themselves and are living wholeheartedly for the Glory of Jesus Christ. The question we need to ask ourselves, are we representing Jesus in such a way that when people look at us they see Jesus?

Secondly, as we encounter Jesus, we hear his voice by the Holy Spirit and we respond to him. The first response is to declare him as Lord, to recognize that Jesus is the Son of God.

Thirdly, the natural response to making Jesus Lord of our lives, is to worship him. Just like those ladies on the first resurrection Sunday, we will fall at his feet and worship him. We worship by singing praises, we worship by reading and meditating on his word, we worship by giving to his work and we worship by giving our time to serve him. Are you worshipping him today?

Finally after we have encountered the risen Lord, and heard his voice, out of a lifestyle of worship will come a response of obedience to his call. Jesus is calling each and every one of us to obey him. Some are called to a life of being a marketplace missionary, others are called to being an evangelist in their neighborhood introducing people to Jesus the risen Lord, others are called to being a missionary in a foreign country and some are called to train up children in the ways of the Lord, raising up the next generation of followers of Jesus.

Do you know what Jesus is telling you to do? If not, maybe you need to return to the place of true worship, not simply singing songs. Falling on your face before him and gripping his feet in desperation.

If you don’t know what it is to truly worship him, the risen Lord, then maybe you haven’t heard his voice. Maybe you need to see Jesus. Maybe you encountered Jesus a long time ago, but your relationship with him has grown cold. Come back to him today, listen to his voice, he is calling you, bow down and worship him.

Jesus is alive. Our human response is the same as the two women, we are afraid, and it seems overwhelming, but Jesus goes on to give a promise (Matthew 28:20b).

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, we have nothing to hold on to. The Bible is an empty document and cannot be the living word of God. The bodily resurrection of Jesus is what determines our salvation, it is our hope of glory. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we know that he has conquered death and that by placing our trust and faith in him we are assured of salvation and eternal life. Because of the resurrection, all the promises of God’s word are true! And we can stand on those promises.