Do You Know the Risen Christ
Over 2,000 years ago, a man named Jesus hung on a cross and was crucified. When Jesus died, that Passover Friday, many thought that was the end of all their hopes and dreams, while others thought that was finally the end of putting up with that radical. Even before His death, says that the disciples deserted Him and fled. Then, after He was dead, we saw that His disciples didn’t understand that He would rise from the dead, according to .
Now, if Jesus would not have risen from the dead, emptying the grave, and overpowering sin and death, then the cross would have been the end of the story. BUT HE DID RISE! In fact, His resurrection caused changes in the disciples lives, as well as the rest of humanity who has chosen to believe in Him. The disciples, his followers, and all of us went from discouragement and defeat to deliverance and delight. All who know the risen Christ went from a life of hopelessness to a life of hope.
How did this type of change occur? For the disciples, it was because they had literally seen Christ alive. They talked with Him. They touched Him. They ate with Him. We obviously have not physically seen Christ, nor have we sat down and had a face-to-face conversation with Him, nor have we touched Him, nor physically broke bread with Him. However, we have seen the change He has made in our lives. We have experienced multiple times where we know that without Him being with us, we could not have made it through our situations. We pray, knowing that He intercedes for us. We understand that all good gifts which we receive is from the Giver of all perfect gifts. That could not happen if Jesus were still dead and buried.
The risen Christ causes changed lives.
They Changed from Fear to Courage. -
They Changed from Fear to Courage. -
They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
In the verses leading up to this, the high priest and the Sadducees, were very upset with the disciples. The interesting thing is these religious leaders had observed multiple miracles being done by the power of God through the disciples. They were not actually upset over any doctrinal heresy being taught. Instead, verse 17 tells us that they were filled with jealousy. Talk about petty. Rather than concerning themselves with doing what God wanted them to do and living for Him, they were upset that the common person was paying attention to this uneducated group of disciples who were no longer in hiding, but out in the open doing what Jesus had told them to do.
As a result, the disciples were put into jail, probably hoping that this would take care of the problem. After all, the religious leaders probably thought that crucifying Jesus would bring everything back to normal, which actually turned out the opposite. Thus, they resorted to trying to silence those preaching hope and eternal life in Jesus Christ.
That evening, an angel sprung the disciples loose from prison and told them in verse 20: Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life. Instead of giving instructions to go into hiding out of fear of further reprisal, they are told to go back and do what they had been doing which got them arrested.
At this point, the religious leaders were convening a meeting to decide what to do with the rebel disciples. Then they were informed that there was an escape and that the disciples were teaching the people in the temple. At this point, the religious leaders had them brought back in a peaceable manner. Verse 26 explains that the reason is that they were afraid of the people, that they might be stoned.
After reprimanding the apostles, basically because they didn’t want the people to accuse them of murder, we see Peter respond in Verses 29 and following. We must obey God rather than man. He went on to further proclaim Christ. We continue to see the incredible change from fear to courage. You recall that on the night before the crucifixion, Peter denied Jesus three times. You remember that after the crucifixion, the disciples went into hiding. Now we see Peter and the others stating that they were going to continue proclaiming Jesus.
At this point, the religious leaders followed Gamaliel’s counsel to leave the matter alone and let God take care of it. In other words, if it’s not of God, it will die a natural death. If it is of God, they will be fighting God. The religious leaders then had the apostles brought back in and flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them.
They rejoiced in their suffering.
Did Peter and the others walk away, discouraged and depressed? Absolutely not! They personally knew Jesus as their Lord and Savior, since He had indeed risen. They rejoiced in their suffering. Instead of running away, they were rejoicing in that they were allowed to suffer for Christ. Even though they were told not to speak about Jesus, they went from place to place, and kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. Jesus is the One who can provide rescue from sin.
Instead of running away, they were rejoicing in that they were allowed to suffer for Christ.
Even though they were told not to speak about Jesus, they went from place to place, continually telling all who would listen that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is the One who can provide rescue from sin.
They Changed Dates for Worship. -
They Changed Dates for Worship. -
On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight.
Previously, the entire Jewish community knew that worship always took place on the Sabbath, which was on Saturdays. However, the way Luke words the first part of this verse, you get the very strong sense that this gathering on Sunday was now a normal part of the practice of the church. After the resurrection, those who had experienced salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, chose to meet on Sundays for worship. This was the first day of the week. The reason has always been understood that this was in celebration of the day of the week of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. This was not mandated, nor was it law. In fact, it was done spontaneously, and is understood to be the normal practice even today. Yet, as Scripture reminds us that no one day is more sacred than another.
The Sabbath of rest and worship was given to Israel as a sign of the covenant God made with Moses. Christians are part of the New Covenant, not the Mosaic Covenant. This is not a requirement for Christians, nor is it commanded anywhere in the New Testament. In addition, if one looks at the Old Testament, there are not any commandments for Gentiles to follow the Sabbath, nor are there any curses called upon non-Jewish individuals for not observing the Sabbath. The first Sabbath observation takes place after Moses Covenant with God. It doesn’t occur until . In the New Testament, when the Judaizers were trying to impose Jewish restrictions upon new believers, you will notice that the Jerusalem Council, in , did not list keeping the Sabbath as a rule for the new Gentile Christians. Even in Galatians, Paul was very upset that they thought God expected them to focus on special days.
It is somewhat refreshing to see verse 6 explains how they stayed for the course of seven days. In verse 7, we see that the plan was for Paul to leave the next day to continue on his journey. Why did I mention that this was refreshing to see? Because, I get the distinct impression that Paul was choosing to stick around to meet with all the believers in a local church setting, which was going to take place on Sunday. Even though he was very much wanting to get to Jerusalem, he made worship with the gathered church at Troas a top priority.
After the resurrection, those who had experienced salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, chose to meet on Sundays for worship. The was the first day of the week. The reason has always been understood that this was in celebration of the day of the week of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. This was not mandated, nor was it law. In fact, it was done spontaneously, and is understood to be the normal practice of today.
My friends, we have very unique times right now with the mandated quarantines until the danger from COVID-19 has reduced. Yet, I am going to challenge all of you who are listening all over the world. Whether this is your local church, or wherever you may be; please make worship time together as a larger body a top priority in your lives. If you don’t have a local church with which to identify with, then check out your community, first of all online, then make some phone calls. Find a church that proclaims Jesus Christ as the only way for salvation. Find a church that preaches the whole Bible as it is. Find a church that will care for you and where you can care for others. You will not find one that is perfect. However, if you truly know the risen Christ, then you will make worship together with the gathered body of Christ a top priority.
In the meantime, we are glad that you are choosing to worship with us online. And as you know, we are not perfect, but we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Feel free to call or write us for prayer support and encouragement.
They Changed from Staying Secluded to Going Everywhere. -
They Changed from Staying Secluded to Going Everywhere. -
Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
They knew that Christ had defeated death. They could not keep silent. They knew they had to tell as many people as they were able. Now, I don’t want us to think that the apostles went everywhere. In fact, the opposite is true. In their effort to proclaim Christ to their own people, the last part of the verse shows that the apostles actually stayed in Jerusalem.
When they experienced persecution, or even considered the fact that there would be persecution, they knew that meant nothing when compared to the good news that Jesus is alive. In fact, if we look further down to verse 8, we read there was much rejoicing in that city, namely Samaria, where Philip was serving as an evangelist. Think about it, even with persecution, they rejoiced, as those who had personal knowledge of the risen Christ, and as they shared the Gospel with others. Then when the hearers experienced personally knowing the risen Christ, they had great joy.
The reason this had to be shared is that since Jesus is alive, then it was known that only He could truly forgive sins and provide eternal life. What looked hopeless, while Stephen was being stoned to death, seemed to be an opening of a door in which the Holy Spirit could scatter people abroad to reach multitudes for Christ. It has been stated that the blood of the martyrs became the seed of the church. Historians suggest that those who scattered and left Jerusalem were most likely Hellenistic Jews, those who primarily spoke Greek. The others remained in Jerusalem and were taught and ministered to by the apostles during this time.
We can easily see changed lives as a result of knowing the risen Christ. Formerly, the disciples were defeated and hopeless. After truly knowing the risen Christ, the disciples became men who were dedicated, devoted and had a living hope. We know this from the courage which they showed in a willingness to die in order to share the Good News to others so those individuals would also live eternally.
They also began to meet regularly for worship with other believers on the day of the week in which Jesus rose from the dead—Sunday. It was a celebration, not a chore. It was a delight, not a duty.
The changes were so dramatic that they no longer hid from others but willingly went everywhere with the message of the living Christ.
The story is told of a famous conductor who was rehearsing for the final time before the performance of Handel’s Messiah. The soprano soloist came in with the refrain of I Know that my Redeemer Liveth. It was beautifully performed — perfect vocal technique; perfect breathing; perfect pronunciation and articulation of the words. When she finished, everyone looked to the conductor waiting for his approval.
He motioned for silence, walked over to the soloist, and said sadly, My daughter, you do not really know that your Redeemer lives, do you?
She was embarrassed by this and answered, Why, yes, I think I do.
The conductor then cried out, Sing it! Tell it to me so that I’ll know you have experienced the joy and power of it.
The conductor walked back and motioned for the orchestra to begin. The soprano soloist sang the song with such emotional power that it testified of her personal knowledge of the risen Lord. Those who listened, wept. The famous conductor, eyes wet with tears, said to her, You do know; for this time you have told me.
Do you know Him? To know the risen Christ means changed lives.