The Implications of Easter
Happy Resurrection Morning!
If you visiting us today… we are so glad that you are with us this morning… we hope that you feel welcomed and appreciated. I am also excited to have my family joining us this year .... visiting from the UK.. This is so special… we get to Eat breakfast together with church family and friends and then..… as we gather together … to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus....
lets have a start with a little time of confession … Have you ever got a speeding fine?
Well... a number of years ago on a 4th ofJuly weekend we went up to Lake Almonor for the weekend… and it is really beautiful up there… And Pam want us to stop on the side of the road so she could take a photograph of this stunning view…of Mt. Lassen. But, to be honest I was reluctant to pull over - and so at subconscious level instead of slowing down - I started to speed up… The next minute I look in my review mirror and there are blue lights flashing behind me and I get pulled over … and sure enough I receive a speeding fine… I look over and there is Pam as cool as cucumber --- she says nothing.... pulls out her camera and takes a picture of Mt. Lassen..
We both got something that day “Pam has this stunning picture of Mt Lassen… and I got to pay for it..”
Easter is a great reminder… it’s a kind of notification to all of us… .its a reminder that it is easy bet so busy that we go into auto pilot mode... and instead of slowing down we just keep speeding up. I get it life is full of responsibilities and pressures --- but how we navigate through life is so important…
One of my mentors Dr. Rod Cooper would quote this old Greek proverb that says, "The bow that is always bent will soon break." In other words...If we are always under pressure and never have opportunity to release or let go, will soon break into a million pieces. You and I were not designed to carry this kind of pressure… we need to understand the difference between doing and being in life.. finding Balance....
The Easter message beckons us to stop, to a pause and to consider Christ… …Heb 3:1 tells us…“Consider Jesus, the apostle and the high priest of our confession.”
Jesus came on a mission… and that was to fulfill the Fathers will - As your read the gospel account of the life of Jesus… one of the things that is apparent is that Jesus is living according to a Divine timetable… There is definite intentionality..
There were some things He did not do because the was not yet time…for example … when the disciples went to Jerusalem to celebrate passover in John 7:8… Jesus actually stays behind in Galilee- Jesus says to his disciples.
You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.”
As Jesus earthly ministry comes to a conclusion.. …He becomes more focused on going to Jerusalem - The bible say that he fixed his eyes on going to Jerusalem. Jesus organizes and orchestrates His triumphal entry into Jerusalem….. He is on A DiVINE TIME TABLE…
In John 17. Jesus prays for himself, his disciples and for all those believers who were to follow.... He prays that in these final moments as he is being Glorified… that God would be Glorified…
When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
Jesus Addresses His Father… He is in total sync with the Fathers will and he prays, “the hour has arrived”… this a moment of God’s sending and commission intersecting as Jesus displays his obedience and wiliness to do Fathers bidding.
He had already agonized in the garden… He had already prayed to the Father, if you are willing , remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will but your will be done.” Now, was that moment to serve and to give his life was at hand..
Jesus prays that the son would now be glorified... The word glory is used eight times in this prayer, so it is an important theme. This word Glory means to positively acknowledge, recognize ones character, nature or attributes. In the cross we are going to the Brilliance of God… the attributes…of God… Here is something that we learn about God… That the way the Godhead works is that they are continually uplifting and glorifying one another…
What is going to bring Glory to God is not the execution of the Cross itself but the accomplishment of the cross. That the purpose of cross… that is through his death and resurrection. “They may know.... the only true God”
T/s There are three implications of Easter - we are going to touch on this morning..
1. God has a ROAD MAP for Life
1. God has a ROAD MAP for Life
We all have a certain grid or context from which we view life, and this reference point influences virtually every decision we make.
Stephen Covey, in his best-selling book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, said that paradigms are like road maps that lead us in a particular direction.
Each of us has many, many maps in our head [and] we interpret everything we experience through these mental maps. We seldom question their accuracy; we’re usually even unaware that we have them.
We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are or the way they should be. And our attitudes and behaviors grow out of these assumptions. The way we see things is the source of the way we think and the way we act.… Paradigms are powerful because they create the lens through which we see the world.
(Palmer, S., & Palmer).
The world that Paul lived in was influenced by the road Map of fatalism. Greco Roman culture they believed that everything that happen in life is result of fate… It is the belief that events in life are fixed by fate are unchangeable by any type of human agency. In other words, humans can not alter their own fates or the fates of others.
Ray Johnson wrote the hope quotient.. say there is a major problem with this world view - is it replaces HOPE with DISCOURAGEMENT...It replaces confidence with cynicism. Fatalism say, "Things will never change!"
What makes Christianity different from other religions is this idea…that God has a plan and a purpose for our lives… God says to the prophet Jeremiah… That he knew him before he was even formed in the womb… before he was twinkle in his mothers eye…
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
God has this blue Print for him to be a prophet to the nations. The word KNEW.. is Yada… is more than intellectual knowledge…its personal knowledge… it’s a marriage word… where someone knows you with all good attributes and all your flaws..God is not surprised by anything that happens…
T/s We have this Road map in the Bible called prophecy....
The Bible is comprised of prophecy and fulfilment - Church father Augustine who coined the well-known saying, "The Old is in the New revealed; the New is in the Old concealed."
Scholars tell us that there are more than 300 prophecies that were fulfilled in the life of Christ… From his birth to his death and resurrection.. Starting in Genesis the Adamic covenant - with the seed of the woman that is going to crush the head of the serpent.... Abrahamic covenant that promise
We have the prophecies in Isaiah 53 of the suffering servant who was wound for our transgression - bruised for our iniquity the chastisement that we deserved was upon him and by his stripes we are healed… Psalm 22 begins with the word
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
Hosea makes reference to a third day resurrection.
After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.
Jesus himself — predicts his Death and resurrection. As they are heading toward Jerusalem… Jesus began prepares his disciples for what is going to happen.. Jesus said..
saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.” And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”
Jesus tells his disciples that would put on trial by the religious leaders and would be handed over to the Gentiles.. who will Mock him and Kill Him… But he also tell them that on the Third day he would Rise from the Dead.
WHY WOULD JESUS PREDICT HIS OWN DEATH AND RESURRECTION?
SIMPLY GOD HAS A PLAN… there is as plan - Prophecy is the Road map…you have the movement of scripture from point A - B. It is not a straight line… but what you see is that all of prophecy POINTS to a BIGGER PLAN..
The implication is that God has a plan for your and my life.
The two greatest days in a person's life are the day he was born and the day he finds out why he was born.
The Christian thinker Francis Schaeffer said…
Man, made in the image of God, has a purpose — to be in relationship to God, who is there. Man forgets his purpose and thus he forgets who he is and what life means.
The Implications of Resurrection that...1. God has a ROAD MAP for Life
2. God cares about our Doubts
2. God cares about our Doubts
One thing that the resurrection teaches us… Is that God cares deeply for the Skeptic… The disciple Thomas was not around when Jesus first appears to the disciples and so when they say to him “We have seen the Lord.” He is skeptical… He Doubts.. and he makes quite the statement.
So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
Eight days later Jesus appears to the disciples… and he appears to the disciples and he addresses Thomas — Put your fingers here… and see my hands…put out your hand in my side… Do you still disbelieve.. Thomas answer… MY LORD AND MY GOD… (personal savior — and God)
Lets look at this for a moment… We need to be intelligent about matters of Faith..The crucifixion is not what makes the life of Jesus unique and unusual. There have been 1000’s of martyrs who have been willing to lay down their lives… for a cause and we are not just talking about Christianity. We have modern day radical… Jehad… Was Jesus a radical?
Here is what sets Jesus apart ---Jesus died, was buried and then on easter Sunday He rose again. If you look at all the religions in the world… Muhammad lived and he died, Buddha lived and he died… Confucius lived his life and he DIED… Jesus lived died and then rose from the dead...
When two Mary’s and the other woman arrive at the tomb that first easter morning, we are told that the stone was rolled away and the tomb was empty..
And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
Over the last couple of centuries scholars have questioned the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus. They have come up with various theories why the tomb was empty.. Quickly sumarize
Some have argued that the women and disciples went to the wrong tomb.
BUT here is the problem with this argument is that the Jewish leadership could have presented the corpse of Jesus in response to the proclamation of the resurrection. Surely they knew the location of the tomb.
Another proposed alternative is that the disciples stole the body of Jesus. Again there is a problem with this theory..
It is highly unlikely that the disciples would have stolen the body and thereby inventing a story for which they were willing to suffer persecution and martyrdom.
Still others contend that Jesus never really died on the cross but He merely “swooned” and later in the coolness of the tomb revived enough to escape.
This proposal fails to take seriously the severe beatings Jesus endured, the horrific process of crucifixion, the recognition by a centurion that He was dead (Mark 15:39), as well as the piercing of His side to confirm His death (John 19:32–34).
Some scholars have compared the resurrection appearances to hallucinations. That those who saw Jesus - However, the NT gives evidence of appearances in various places to numerous people, even 500 at one time (1 Cor. 15:6). This proposal also fails to acknowledge that the disciples were psychologically unprepared for the resurrection and actually disbelieved the initial reports.
The evidence in favor of the historicity of the bodily resurrection of Jesus is very strong.
The evidence for the empty tomb is weighty.
First, the story of the empty tomb is found in all four Gospels and is implicit in the early church’s proclamation of the resurrection.
How could they preach the bodily resurrection of Jesus if everyone in Jerusalem knew that His body was still in the tomb?
Second, it is difficult to believe that the early church would have fabricated the story of the resurrection and then made women the first witnesses to the empty tomb and the resurrection, since women were not considered reliable witnesses in Jewish culture (illustrated by the disciple’s response to them).
Third, something incredible must have taken place on that Sunday to cause Jewish believers to begin worshiping on the first day of the week instead of the Sabbath (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Rev. 1:10).
Finally, nothing short of the miracle of the resurrection can explain the postresurrection transformation in the disciples. When Jesus Christ was arrested and nailed to a Roman cross, his disciples fled in fear. They locked themselves underground.
But overnight, they were transformed into some of the most courageous people the world has ever seen. When Jesus was crucified, his disciples denied they knew him. They were afraid for their own safety, their own lives: and yet overnight, they were transformed into some of the most courageous, bold people the world has ever seen as they went public.
They proclaimed the message at great risk to their lives: that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, that he rose again, and that Jesus (not Caesar) was Lord.
All of those original disciples—with the exception of John, who died in exile—died a martyr's death, and some of them at the mouths of hungry lions. People who meet the risen Christ not only experience a profound and unexpected joy, but they are also filled with a new courage in the face of life and death.
Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church and the author of The Purpose Driven Life, together with his wife, Kay, went through a devastating loss when their twenty-seven-year-old son Matthew took his own life after battling depression and mental illness for years.
About a year after this tragedy, Rick said, "I've often been asked, 'How have you made it? How have you kept going in your pain?' And I've often replied, 'The answer is Easter.'
"You see, the death and the burial and the resurrection of Jesus happened over three days. Friday was the day of suffering and pain and agony. Saturday was the day of doubt and confusion and misery. But Easter—that Sunday—was the day of hope and joy and victory.
"And here's the fact of life: you will face these three days over and over and over in your lifetime. And when you do, you'll find yourself asking—as I did—three fundamental questions. Number one, 'What do I do in my days of pain?' Two, 'How do I get through my days of doubt and confusion?' Three, 'How do I get to the days of joy and victory?'
"The answer is Easter. The answer … is Easter
The last implication.
3. God Gives meaning to life.
3. God Gives meaning to life.
There are several reasons why what you believe about the Resurrection really matters, but the one Paul hits on here is meaning—meaning in life!
Every parent of a two- or three-year-old will tell you there comes a point in their kids' life when their child starts asking one particular question over and over again: "Why?" "Why do we eat food, Mommy?" "Why do we need sleep?" Why, why, why?"
You don't teach them to ask this; they ask it because we are all wired for meaning…We are in search for meaning..
Paul brings us to a fork in the road, He says - Just imagine for a moment what it would mean if Christ is not raised from the dead…what are the implications.
And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.
Paul tells it would make absolutely no sense at all to be a Christian. If Jesus isn't alive, then living for Jesus would be a colossal waste of time."
Paul makes it Personal he says "What have I gained?" All the struggles he went through for the Gospel would be totally a waste..
What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
What was the point of facing so much opposition in Ephesus for the name of Jesus if there's no afterlife and bodily resurrection?
He'd be taking the one body he gets and risking it and depriving it from so many pleasurable things for no reason at all.
The hinge by which all this turns one way or the other is the resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus wasn't raised, then we have no historical credible certainty in a bodily afterlife, future rewards, or hope beyond the grave, and so we might as well just live for ourselves here.
If he's not alive, not only is the purpose and meaning for life just limited to the here and now, but there's also no spiritual power that can come into our lives to help us to change. There's no new life in Christ. The only power available for us to change and improve would be in ourselves?
If Jesus is raised from the dead, we have the certainty that this life is not all there is, and there's a purpose and meaning in life that transcends this life, and there's a new spiritual power that can break into our lives to transform us.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
The implications of the Resurrection are huge, and because it's happened.
He says the grand purpose in life that reaches beyond ourselves, the deep meaning in life that we're all looking for, is tied to one thing: the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
In her book, Unthinkable, Amanda Ripley investigated why some people survive disasters and others don't.
After examining fires, floods, hurricanes, and airplane crashes, interviewing dozens of survivors, she found three phases on the journey from danger to safety: denial, deliberation and what she calls "the decisive moment."
Unfortunately, many people don't make it to that final phase—the decisive moment they get stuck in denial and deliberation.... and don't make a decision to act.
Ripley tells the story of Paul Heck, a man who knew how to act when his decisive moment came.
On March 27, 1977 the 65-year-old Mr. Heck and his wife were sitting on the runway on a Pan Am 747 awaiting takeoff when an incoming plane hurtled through the fog at 160 miles per hour and slammed into the Heck's plane. The collision sheared the top off of 747 and set the plane on fire. Most of the 396 passengers onboard froze.
Even Heck's wife, Floy, would later report that her mind "went blank" and she felt like "a zombie." But Paul Heck went into action mode. He unbuckled his seatbelt, grabbed his wife's hand said "Follow me," and then led her through a hole on the left side of the aircraft.
In an interview after the disaster, Mr. Heck noted how most people just sat in their seats acting like everything was fine even after colliding with another plane and seeing the cabin fill with smoke. Heck had studied the 747's safety diagram before take off. When the crisis came Heck knew it was a decisive moment. He was prepared to make a decision and head for the only exit that was available to him.
What Easter does is bring us to a point of decision.. we can get stuck in denial and deliberation… There are basically only two ways to respond to the message of the Resurrection The Cross is either Foolishness or the Wisdom of God?
18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
A Christian is not just somebody who believes intellectually in the fact of the historical resurrection, but someone who has actually received the Spirit of power and the resurrection of Christ in your own