Faithlife Sermons

How the Resurrection Changed Everything

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Intro
It’s Easter WE and we are looking at how the resurrection changed everything.
33 AD - 120 followers of Jesus. Started with the 12 and grew to 120
Today - 2.3 billion followers of Jesus.
1/3 of the world is Christian
1 out of 3 people
The Christian Church is largest organization on the planet. Larger than USA, Europe and China combined.

The Christian Church is the Largest Organization on the Planet

It speaks more languages than the United Nations and is in more nations.
It’s the biggest thing on the planet.
What Happened? How did 12 disciples turn into 1/3 of the world? How did the Christian Faith become bigger than China, Europe and USA combined?

The Resurrection of Jesus.

The resurrection changed everything. No other event in history has impacted the world like the resurrection.
Here is whats amazing. Jesus never
wrote a book, but more have been written about him than any other subject in history
composed a song, but more songs have been written about him than all the others combined.
built a building, but more architecture has been built in his honor than all others… churches, cathedrals, schools, orphanages, hospitals, universities...
drew a picture, but 2,000 years of art have been dedicated to him
never traveled more than 200 miles from his hometown, but you can find his followers in every corner of the world.
Everything is referred to as either AD or BC on the event of the resurrection… your birthday, anniversary.
Today is April 16, 2017. 2017 years after the resurrection of Jesus. Don’t talk about separation of Church and state.

How Did Christianity Grow so Fast and so Far from 12 Disciples?

How did it go from 12 to 2.3 billion? What made the first Christians so contagious?

They carried the Gospel! Good News

We are going to look at what makes the Good News… Good News.
What is it about the Gospel that 1/3 of the planet follows Jesus? Our culture would lead you to believe that we are more sophisticated and don’t need the crutch of Christianity anymore, but there are more followers of Jesus Christ than there are stupid people in our culture that say that.
What Jesus did 2017 years ago on the cross and in the resurrection proved He was the SOG. He split history in half and this event gives you and great benefits.
The First Benefit of the Resurrection is,

1. YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIVE WITH GUILT AND SHAME ANYMORE

Jesus paid the price for your sins so you don’t have to keep trying to pay it yourself.

FACT - most people carry a load of guilt and shame and regret.

They carry this load because we are all imperfect and we make mistakes and we sin. If I gave you time, you could probably make a list as long as you knew no-one would ever see it.

Guilt, Shame and Regret Will Rob You of Peace of Mind

God never intended for you and I to carry that kind of a load. That’s why he sent Jesus to take away that guilt, shame and regret. Jesus gives you the opposite… clear conscience, peace of mind and courage.

GOOD NEWS - You can be Free from Shame and Forgiven from Guilt.

Ephesians 1:7 NLT
He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.
Freedom and Forgiveness are 2 great benefits of the Resurrection.

Freedom and Forgiveness are the First Benefits of the Resurrection

We are Free and We are Forgiven.
Tell the Story
Because Jesus was popular they had to arrest him at night. So they arrested him at night and then they took him through six sham trials. Three religious trials and three Roman trials. Jesus went to Annas and then he went to Caiaphas and then he went to the religious supreme court then he went to Pilate and then he went to Herod and then he went back to Pilate who was the Roman governor of Israel at that time, or Palestine.
None of those trials were legal because it was illegal to have a night trial. But they were rushing this thing through. They wanted to persecute and prosecute and then they wanted to execute Jesus.
After six trials, do you know what they found Jesus guilty of? Nothing. Nothing, because he hadn’t done anything. So they actually had to pay some phony witnesses to come in and trump up charges against Jesus. They made up these charges but you know what happened? Those paid witnesses contradicted each other, so they still didn’t have a case. They had nothing to hang on Jesus.
Finally, they made one accusation that stuck… because it was true. “He Claims to be the SOG.”
They were right because Jesus claimed to be the SOG.
Jesus was sentenced to death… by crucifixion. Crucifixion was brutal… bloody and gory and torturous.
Before the Crucifixion, Jesus went through enormous physical abuse. They kept him up all night… Blind folded him and mocked him… beat him… spit on him… plucked his beard out… they would ask who hit you....
Jesus could have named them, their fathers and their grandfathers all the way back to Adam if he wanted to… he created them. But the Bible said he did not speak a word to them.
Then they agreed that he was a king and made him a crown of thorns… They then crushed it down on his skull causing great pain and bleeding.
Then the Bible says they flogged Him (Luke 23:16). They used a whip with long strings of leather with bone, rock or glass tied into the strips so that it ripped the flesh off of anyone being beaten. By Roman law, you could not beat someone more than 40 times because they would bleed to death. If they beat you more than 40 times, the law said the person giving the beating got the same beating and that’s why they usually only beat someone 39 lashes.
39 lashes X 9 strands each = 351 wounds on his body.
Then they gave Jesus a heavy cross to carry up the hill where they were going to kill him… Golgotha or Calvary. As he is carrying this heavy cross he is weak from the loss of blood and lack of sleep, and from the tortures he has endured… so he stumbles. They Roman Soldiers look into the crowd for a strong person to help Jesus and pick a man named Simon from North Africa to help.
Simon was a Black man. I think it’s profound that God chose a black man for the privilege of helping Jesus. God hates racism and prejudice… I do too.
They bring Jesus to the Hill and lay him down on the cross. They nail his hands and feet to the cross… legs bent so he could push up to breath which extended the torture. Without that, he would have died quicker because he would not be able to breath out while hanging from his arms. So by nailing he feet to the cross, when a person could not breath, they would push up with their legs causing incredible pain. Once his feet hurt too bad, he would lower himself down until he could not longer breath and then push back up…
Death on the cross usually took days and was the worst torturous way to kill someone. Jesus dies pretty quickly so to make sure he was dead, the pushed a spear though his heart.

Why Would Jesus go Through the Crucifixion?

He did if for you and for me. ON the cross in all of that pain, Jesus wasn’t thinking of himself, he was thinking of you.
Luke 23:34 NLT
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.
Let me ask you....

Who Put Jesus on the Cross?

Who killed Jesus? Pilate? Jews? The Crowd? Pharisees?
2 answers

1. God Put Jesus on the Cross

It was the plan all the time. It’s the reason Jesus came to the earth… to pay the price for the sins of the world. He was a great teacher, but that’s not why he came. He was a great healer, but that’s not why he came. He was the first drive up food source, but that’s not why he came.
He came to pay the price for sin. He did it to save you… to save me...
Isaiah 53:6–10 NLT
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave. But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
He will have many descendants.... all 2.3 billion of us who follow Christ are his descendants.
In this passage, God takes responsibility for the Cross.
Look at the tense… He was… then it switches to He will…
This was written 700 years before Jesus was born. Isaiah said this is what’s going to happen. It’s one of 300 plus prophecies about Jesus that were fulfilled in Jesus. The likelihood of one man fulfilling those prophecies is almost impossible.
The first answer is that God placed Jesus on the cross.
The Second Answer to who put Jesus on the Cross is

2. I Put Jesus on the Cross

My Sin Put Jesus on the Cross. If I / you had not sinned, Jesus would not have had to die for my sins. But we did and someone had to pay the penalty for those sins. Jesus did. If Jesus had not wanted to pay that price, he didn’t have to. He could have spoken the word and 10,000 angels would have come to his rescue, but he didn’t.
It wasn’t nails that held Jesus to the Cross, it was Love.
Romans 4:25 NLT
He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.
He died to make you and I right with God.
So the First Reason the Good News Spread so fast and so far is that we don’t have to feel guilty / regretful / ashamed of all the things we have done anymore, because Jesus has already paid the price for it on the cross.
Set Up Resurrection

After Jesus Died they Buried Him in a Tomb

The enemies of Jesus go to Pilate because they were afraid that someone would steal Jesus body. They got Pilate to agree to three things.
They rolled a giant stone in front of the tombs door so that it could not be moved by one or two men.
They sealed with with the Roman seal that no one could break without being killed.
They posted a Roman Guard at Jesus Tomb.

The Disciples of Jesus are in hiding.

They are scared to death… they think it’s over… Jesus is dead. They have forgotten all about his claim that he would rise from the dead. They are devastated.
They were so afraid that they were hiding behind locked doors because they thought the Romans would come after them next.

Mary Madelene

One of the many women who followed Jesus. (Luke 8) How do we know there were women with Jesus… men are not even house broken without you ladies. Mary goes to the tomb on Sunday morning and she sees the stone rolled away, the guards are gone … she goes into the tomb and sees the burial clothes and Jesus is gone.
One rumor was that they stole Jesus. First, if you steal a body, you don’t leave behind the clothes, especially in the shape that Jesus was in. Then the guards were there to keep people from stealing him.

Mary See’s Jesus in the Garden

Then Mary hears, Mary and she turns around and there is Jesus. They have a conversation and he tells her to go tell the disciples that He’s back! The disciples don’t believe her.
Let me ask you,

If you Saw Someone Three Days after You Buried them, How would You Feel?

Confused? Full of Doubt? Asking yourself, Am I Really seeing this?
Then that person comes over and hugs you and has a meal with you. You would start to believe. You would get excited… it would change your world view for sure.

The Disciples Became Courageous, Contagious, and Confident!

What Happened? The Resurrection Happened. The disciples Attitude changed and they became courageous, contagious, Confident, and full of Joy. Why? Because they had witnessed the Resurrection. All but one went on to die a Martyr’s death.
Here’s the Second Benefit of the Resurrection

2. YOU DON’T HAVE TO FEAR DEATH ANYMORE

Jesus defeated death with his resurrection. People always worry about what’s after this life. Is there an after life or heaven? Because we don’t know, we worry about it.
Jesus solved that question. He defeated death. Death lost. We won. So we don’t have to fear death anymore.
This is the second reason Christians were so contagious. They were eyewitnesses of Jesus Resurrection.
Most people have no idea how many people saw Jesus after his resurrection.
There is more evidence to prove the resurrection than there is to support any criminal conviction. (Simon Greenleaf)
2 Peter 1:16 NLT
For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes
Eyewitness testimony is almost impossible to refute.
Acts 1:3 NLT
During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.
Christianity grew rapidly because there were so many eye witnesses that saw Jesus the month after his resurrection. It wasn’t old news, it was fresh. Jesus walked around Jerusalem for 40 days. Within 20 years, the church there grew to over 120,000.

How would you like to be the people who put Jesus on the Cross and then see him walking around town?

It would be mind blowing.
Paul names some of the eye witnesses.
1 Corinthians 15:3–8 NLT
I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him.
Think about it. He was dead and now he is teaching a group of 500 people. This isn’t the whole list.
We know he met with
Mary Magdalene at the tomb. (Mark 16:9-11; John 20:14-18)
A Group of Women Easter Morning (Matthew 28:1-10; Luke 24:1-7)
Peter that afternoon (Luke 24:34; I Corinthians 15:5)
Two Guys on the Road to Emmaus (Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-33)
Multiple Meetings with different disciples over 40 days

This is Called CONCLUSIVE PROOF.

If I told you the Queen of England was right here in Harvey, You most likely would have trouble believing me. But if 1900 people all told you they saw here here, you would tend to believe them.
These followers of Jesus were no longer afraid. Christianity spread from 12 ro 2.3 billion because there were multiple eyewitnesses and they were willing to die to give their testimony. They had seen it happen. They knew they were forgiven and they no longer feared death.
There is a third Benefit of the Resurrection

3. YOU AND I GET GOD’S SPIRIT IN US

The night before Jesus left, he told them that he was leaving and that he would send them His Spirit which would live in them forever. (John 15)
This is important. The reason they were effective… excited… was that they were not living on their own power. They were now empowered by God’s Spirit - the Holy Spirit.
There was the 40 day period he was here, then a 10 day period after that when he went to heaven. He told them to wait and then he sent the Holy Spirit on what we call Pentecost.

Pentecost Changes Everything

Do you ever feel like you are at the end of your rope? like giving up? out of gas? running on empty? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? You have a power shortage!
God never intended for you to go through your life on your own power. He wants to place his HS inside you.
This is why you can’t stop doing those things you want to quit… why you can break those addictions. Will power is not enough. You might change for a little while, but not for good without the power of the HS.
Here is what Jesus promised
Acts 1:8 NLT
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The power that God used to raise Jesus from the grave is available to you on a daily basis when he puts his spirit into your life. He gives you the power to Live for Him and to tell others.
Ephesians 1:19–20 NLT
I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.
What’s the power of the resurrection? It’s the power to be free from your past. It’s the power to start over / to change / to heal your marriage / to restore your finances / to achieve your dreams…
That’s Good News!
There is a Fourth Benefit of the Resurrection

4. YOU AND I ARE UNCONDITIONALLY LOVED BY GOD

This is a big reason Christianity exploded in the 1st Century, it was a message of love, not fear. The cross and the resurrection prove that. God will never stop loving you. He loves you and there is nothing you can do about it.
God is Love and he created you to love you
God has never created anyone he doesn’t love.
God will never stop loving you.
You can’t make God stop loving you.
This love is a gift, not something we can work for or earn. We can’t be good enough to earn it, He just loves us. Everything you have is a gift from God… live… health… money.

God did not Wait for You to Love Him First

He sent Jesus to show and explain to us how much he loves us.
John 3:16–17 NLT
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
Jesus did not come to condemn the world, he came to save the world. He did not come to put anyone down, but to lift them up and to save them. That’s the message that spread like wildfire.
That’s the message of love that caused people to turn to him in every possible way.

God Wants you to Know and Feel His Love

If you do, it will transform your life. If genuinely let God put his Spirit of love in you, you will be Transformed. This room is full of people whom God has transformed in dramatic ways.

Most Religions in the World are Based on the Law

You have a list of do’s and don’ts. If you do certain things… you are ok.

Jesus Gave Us the Transforming Message of Love

John 13:34–35 NLT
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
He did not say, if you go to church every week they would know you are his followers… do good things… have the right doctrine… not even have a cool Jesus tee shirt or Bumper sticker. Jesus emphasized love. In fact, Christianity is the only religion where God says to love your enemies. We have to love everyone.
In his old age, the apostle John wrote this
1 John 3:10–11 NLT
So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God. This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
This verse says that not everyone is a child of God… creation yes, but child no. He goes on to say here is how you know someone is a child of God. We have to love each other.

The Most Amazing Early Conversion was that of Saul

Saul, or Paul as we know him was a Jewish Pharisee who persecuted the Christians like no one else. He was a fanatic… a terrorist. He went from city to city stomping out Christianity. One day as he is going down the road with a group of soldiers to Damascus, he has an encounter with Jesus… a dramatic encounter where he is knocked off his horse and blinded as he speaks to Jesus. This encounter changes his life to the point that he changes from Persecutor to Apostle of Love. He writes the most quoted and beautiful passage about love ever in the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians.
As a church family, we are to be brothers and sisters in love.
The 5th benefit of the Resurrection is

5. WE CAN LIVES LIVES OF PURPOSE AND MEANING

We can live loves with purpose and meaning… we have a message to our lives. You were not an accident. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. You have been made by God and for God and until you understand that, you will have an emptiness inside. Nothing else will fill that void… not sex, drugs, money, work, food… nothing.
Most people have no idea wha they are living for. They have a lot to live on, nothing to live for. Most people have never clarified what they are willing to die for. You’re not ready to live until you know what you would die for.
Before his cruxifixction on the cross, Jesus told them this,
Mark 8:35 NLT
If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.
This verse is the #1 reason Christians are contagious… they had a purpose worth living for and worth dying for.

The 1st Century Christians Took Jesus Words Literally and they were Fearless

Christianity spread fo fast and so far that governments took notice and began to make plans to stop it. Thousands had become Christians and the government began persecuting them to shut this down. This began what is known as the Great Persecution. This persecution lasted for 300 years. for 300 years, if you were caught as a Christian, you would be killed.
Everyone but John of the original 12 disciples died a martyr’s death. James was beheaded. Stephen was stoned to death. Peter was crucified on a cross upside down.
What baffled the society of the day and the Roman Empire, was the willingness the people had to die for the cuase of Christ. They were fearless.
Acts 15:25–26 NLT
So we decided, having come to complete agreement, to send you official representatives, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And this fearlessness spread all over the world.
Before being executed in Rome, Paul spent time in a Roman prison. He had appealed to Caesar.
While Paul was in prison, he began to write letters to all of the churches across the Roman empire. These letters are what we call the New Testament. About half of the books of the NT were written by Paul while he was in prison. He wrote to Christians all over the world who were being persecuted and killed.
2 Corinthians 4:17–18 NLT
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
This was a radical view of suffering. He basically said, If I suffer following Christ, it’s short term pain. But when I die, I’ll be rewarded with eternal gain.
Philippians 1:21 NLT
For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.
For Paul living was for the Lord, but if they killed him, he got to be with the Lord, so it was a win - win. You can’t hurt a guy with Paul’s attitude. This still happens today… last year 90,000 Christians were killed for their faith.
The 6th Benefit of the Resurrection is

6. WE GET TO GO TO HEAVEN

You don’t have to wonder about it. You can know that you are going to heaven. I don’t think Jesus went though all he did so we could hope we get to go to heaven. He said you can know.
1 John 5:13 NLT
I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.
Let me ask you a question? Are you certain that you are going to heaven? Are you sure? why?
What if God asked you why should I let you into heaven? What would you say?
You see, if you said, you were a nice person or did great things, that’s not going to work. Heaven is a perfect place for perfect people and None of us are perfect.

Heaven is a Perfect Place for Perfect People and NONE of Us are Perfect.

That’s why we needed Jesus to pay the price for our sins. If you or I could do enough good stuff to make into heaven, Jesus dying on the cross was a huge mistake and a waste.

The first Christians were Contagious because their Future was Sure

They were fearless because they know where they were going and it was a better place than where they were. You could take their family, their possessions, but you could not take away Jesus.
1 Peter 1:4 GW
We have been born into a new life which has an inheritance that can’t be destroyed or corrupted and can’t fade away. That inheritance is kept in heaven for you,
Last of the 12 original disciples was John. He is the only one who was not murdered… they tried but he lived so they exiled him to an Island called Patmos. He wrote the book of Revelation and it describes the future. He had visions of how great it will be to be in heaven.
Heaven is indescribable. Understanding Heaven is like trying to understand the internet. You canot wrap your brain around it.
1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT
That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
It’s so wonderful that people who have written books about dying and going to heaven, really don’t describe it because it’s indescribable.
The older I get...and the more pain and suffering I deal with; and the more of my loved ones are on the other side; The more I look forward to heaven.

THIS IS THE TRANSFORMING GOOD NEWS OF EASTER

The resurrection validated Jesus and changed everything.

You don’t have to live with Guilt and Shame anymore.

You Don’t have to Fear Death Anymore

You and I get God’s Spirit in us

You are I are unconditionally loved

You and I can live lives of Purpose and Meaning

You and I Can Go to Heaven.

How do I get these benefits?
John 14:6 NLT
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
You man not want to accept this, but it’s your life you risk. Jesus said I am THE way...
Romans 10:9 NLT
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
How about it? Let’s do this right now. Won’t you allow Jesus to come into your life.
I want you to read this prayer with me. If you mean it, God will begin to Transform your life.
Dear Jesus, today ...
I Believe you proved you are God by coming back to life
I ask you to forgive my sins, that you died for on the cross
I receive your Spirit into my life to empower me
I commit to live the rest of my life for your purposes
I’ll share your message of love with others
I trust you to take me to heaven when I die
Before we close,
Make sure to turn in your communication cards. We have devotionals in the front. If you prayed with me just then and meant it, I have a gift for you at the front lobby.
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