- Sermon Notes
Because He is Risen
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.
But the apostle Paul gives us the right perspective because he also was a great man in Jerusalem and by all accounts had everything. He had great wealth and stature, he was 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, "the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." That's the point exactly. 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.
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 beginning. 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!
In a few weeks we are going to be looking into the birth of our Lord and Savior, but even when we celebrate His birth, we need to understand that He was born for the purpose that He would die. One of the best places to see that is the verses of Acts 2:22-24 -- this was God's plan before the foundation of the world.
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. Because He is risen…
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 you 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 made righteous before God
- 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.
Romans 8:1, 3 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did; by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh as an offering for sin,
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.
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.
- He didn't leave us as orphans…
John 14:18-19 "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you… because I live, you will live also.
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. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, etc.
- Another scripture says, "The joy of the Lord is my strength." When these things fill the heart, the soul is satisfied.
Illus - We still must decide, however, that we will eat at His banqueting table. Some people insist on going for "comfort food" that seems good to the taste, but feels bad later. Short-term medicine becomes long-term poison. But God offers a glory that doesn't fade.
II. We Have Life Forever
- One of the things we were talking about last week is the words of Christ when He said, "I have come that you may have life, and have it abundantly."
- We know that He was talking about abundant life now, but 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
- The scriptures say that we are united with Him in His crucifixion, and in His burial, and as we mentioned before, we are united with Him in His resurrection.
- But the Bible even goes on to say that we are united with Him even now…
Ephesians 2:4-7 We are now seated with Him in heaven
- By conquering death, He took the sting out of death for us. Therefore, it even changes our entire outlook on death.
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 and imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;
Job 19:26, "Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God;"
B. We are ready to meet our Maker
- I always love it when I hear someone use that phrase, "ready to meet our 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 your "Maker" right now.
- He gave His Holy Spirit who even intercedes for us with groans too deep for words.
Now, we have relationship to our Father because the way has been opened for us by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 28:1-10 NASB