- Sermon Notes
His Resurrection is Personal
Two weeks ago we were considering the seven statements that Christ made while He was being crucified. Those seven statements gave us insight into God's heart for us because when Jesus died on the cross it was all about God revealing the greatness of His love for us.
In fact in Romans 5:8 Paul wrote, "God demonstrates His love for us in that Christ died for us while we were yet His enemies."
Then last week we saw two men come onto the scene, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. These men were Jewish leaders, Pharisees, two of the wealthiest men in Jerusalem. They had been secret disciples of Jesus, but no more. They risked it all to be identified with Christ. In fact, history suggests that it cost them dearly to be identified with Christ.
The apostle Paul gives us the right perspective. He also was a great man in Jerusalem and by all accounts had everything. He had great wealth and stature, a Pharisee from the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews, educated under Gamaliel, one of the greatest Jewish teachers of the time, but he counted it all as loss for the sake of knowing Christ.
Philippians 3:7-8, 10, But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and be found in Him… that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.
I love that phrase, "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.” God wants us to know Him and He wants us to know the power of His resurrection.
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were willing to identify with the death of Christ; they took His body down from the cross, washed it, and prepared it for a proper Jewish burial. They showed Him love and honor in a very beautiful way. Then they laid him in the new tomb that Joseph had hewn out of the rock and rolled a massive stone in front of it. They identified with Jesus in His death, but they would soon identify with His resurrection. Why? Because it’s personal.
Perhaps it was at this point that the disciples came to the conclusion that it was over. All their hopes and dreams died there that day when He was crucified. But God was not finished with them, He was only getting started. When Jesus said on the cross, "It is finished," it was also the beginning.
When Jesus said, "It is finished," it was as to say, it is accomplished. What was accomplished? What was finished? The debt of our sin was paid in full! Salvation was accomplished; Satan's stronghold on humanity was broken!
What we see when we look at the story of the resurrection is the dawning of a new day. The resurrection of Jesus takes place on the first day of the week and He is revealed to them just as the day is dawning. This becomes a picture of the fact that God was going to do a new work. They were not finished, they were just beginning.
So we look at the story of the resurrection to understand that God is just beginning with us as well. It’s personal; because of the resurrection…
I. We are Accepted by God
- First we need to understand that it is God who is seeking relationship with us. He is the One who is pursuing; He is the one who was knocking on the door of our heart.
- God loves us so much that He made a way for us. The veil in the temple was torn in two; it's a picture that the way into the holiest of holies, the most intimate place of nearness to God has now been opened before us so that we might have relationship to God through Jesus Christ's blood.
- How is that possible?
A. We are given Christ’s righteousness
- Last week in our study we saw that we were in Adam when he sinned. By being in him when he sinned, his sins were attributed to us.
- Of course our problem is deeper than that. Not only were we in Adam when he sinned, we have plenty of sins of our own to be concerned about.
- But here's the point, in the same way that we were in Adam physically, the scripture tells us that we were in Jesus spiritually so that we were in Him when He died, and when He was buried, and then the glorious truth, we were in Him when He was raised from the dead!
Romans 6:4-5, as Christ was raised from the dead to the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,
- That brings about one of the greatest truths known to man; that not only were our sins forgiven because they were paid when we were crucified with Christ, but we were made righteous before God when Christ's righteousness was given to us as well.
2 Corinthians 5:21, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Illus – One of the best illustrations is of a checking account that is hopelessly overdrawn. Can you imagine the joy of simply having the account paid? But He does even more, He adds to our account the very righteousness of God.
Romans 8:1-4 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… the requirement of the Law has been fulfilled in us.
- Imagine the application of this in our lives; even all the Jewish requirements of the OT Law have been fulfilled in us when they were fulfilled in Christ.
- The Sabbath has been fulfilled in us, honor your father is fulfilled, speak the truth is fulfilled, etc
Colossians 2:9-14 He canceled the certificate of debt…
Illus – In those days a certificate of debt could be nailed to the door of your house and in the public square.
B. We have power to live victoriously
- The power of the resurrection is the same power that works in our lives by the Holy Spirit.
Romans 8:11, But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
- There is a theme that runs through these scriptures, that it is the Holy Spirit of God that lives in us and gives us the power of resurrected life.
- Another scripture says, "The joy of the Lord is my strength." When these things fill the heart, the soul is satisfied.
App – What is the power of sin? The weakness of the flesh. How can we overcome the weakness of the flesh? By a greater joy, a greater passion; a greater, more excellent way. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, etc.
Illus - We still must decide, however, that we will delight at His banqueting table. Some people insist on going for "the comfort food" of the world that tastes good at the moment, but feels terrible later. They are medicating their pain with poison. But God offers life that tastes good and is good in the soul.
Psalm 34:8, O taste and see that the Lord is good. How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
II. God Pursues with the Offer of Life
- One of the most powerful words of Christ are, "I have come that you may have life, and have it abundantly." That’s the reason He was sent.
- We know that He was talking about abundant life now and also life eternal. That is one of the greatest promises of the gospel. And because of that, we have hope to endure all the troubles of this world.
- If we know there will be victory after the troubles of the day, it's so much easier to endure.
A. Death no longer has a hold on us
- By conquering death, He took the sting out of death for us.
1 Corinthians 15:55-56, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law.
1 Thessalonians 4:13, But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.
- We often think about death as the moment when we breathe our last breath, but that is not death at all, for our spirit lives eternally in Christ, and even our body is glorified for eternity.
1 Corinthians 15:42-43, So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;
B. We are ready to meet our Maker
- I always love it when I hear someone use that phrase, "ready to meet my Maker."
Illus - I remember witnessing to a fellow one time who knew I was in school to become a pastor and said, "I suppose you want to talk to me about my Maker." It sounds so generic, so non-personal. Wouldn't it be more accurate to say, "Are you ready to stand before the judgment throne of God, Creator of heaven and earth?"
Acts 17:30-31, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.
- How would you answer that question? Are you ready to meet your Maker?
- Here's the glorious truth; if you are in Christ Jesus, you have been given a relationship to God through Jesus Christ so that you can call Him your Father.
Romans 8:15, you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"
Galatians 3:26-27, For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
- The point is that on the Day of Judgment, you can stand in confidence and have no fear.
- If someone says to you, "Are you ready to meet your Maker?" If you're in Christ Jesus you can confidently answer, "Of course I'm ready to meet my Maker, He's my Dad. We’ve already met."
- But don't wait until some appointed day in the future; Jesus made a way so that you can have a relationship to God right now.
C. God strengthens your faith
- God wants us to believe, but gives us reasons to believe, starting with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Acts 17:31, God…has furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.
- But He also told them in advance so that when these things took place, they would have the testimony of God’s Word.
- Verse 27 is key to understanding the purpose of the Old Testament in our lives, Jesus is revealed throughout every book!
- But Jesus also corrected them for being slow of heart to believe. Faith is what God desires in our lives, because in believing, there is life in His name.
John 20:31, These things have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
Luke 24:1-35 NASB
1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; 5 and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living One among the dead? 6 He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, 7 saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again." 8 And they remembered His words, 9 and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles. 11 But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.
28 And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He were going farther. 29 But they urged Him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over." So He went in to stay with them. 30 When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. 32 They said to one another, "Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?" 33 And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them, 34 saying, "The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon." 35 They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.