“Therefore, my beloved brethren….” (I Corinthians 15:58)
Think of these as resurREACTIONS.
Every sermon, they say, should be made up of two parts, the “what” and the “so what.”
Today is Easter Sunday. Churches across the globe are reading selections from Matthew 28, Luke 24, Mark 16, John 20, and I Corinthians 15 about the Lord Jesus’ victory over death, hell, and the grave.
We’re covering the “what” of the resurrection fairly well, I’d say.
But we must not stop there.
The whole point of the Lord’s rising from the dead is what it says about the Lord Jesus, what that says to the enemy, and the difference this should make to believers.
1) Jesus was right.
“After a little while, the world will behold me no more; but you will behold me; because I live, you shall live also; In that day, you shall know that I am in the Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” (John 14:19-20)
In the great “Resurrection Chapter” (I Corinthians 15), the Apostle Paul knocks this one out of the park by listing all the things we would lose if Jesus is not risen. (See I Cor. 15:13-19)
Everything comes down to whether Jesus is risen or not. If not, let’s go home; it’s all over for us, like the Emaus travelers of Luke 24. But if He is risen, the world has changed forever.
Once you settle the resurrection of Jesus, everything else falls into place.
2) Satan is whipped.
“…that through death, He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” (Hebrews 2:14-15)
He is defeated and death has been neutered. The image John saw of the risen, ascended, glorified Christ in Revelation 1 has Him holding the keys to death, hell, and the grave in His hands (Rev. 1:18).
“O death, where is thy sting?” (I Corinthians 15:55) Where, indeed.
The Christ-person takes a lot of things into consideration before acting, but one of them is not what does Satan think.
3) Death is out of business.
“…by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (II Timothy 1:10)
“O grave, where is your victory? O death, where is thy sting?” (We cannot say this too often!)
“And so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 4:17)
The Christ-person sees death only as an entrance into Heaven. Fear that? Are you kidding?
4) There is hope, that hope is a Person, and He is alive.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (I Peter 1:3)
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. When all around my soul gives way, He then is still my hope and stay.
The Christ-person is always smiling. Always hopeful. Ever expectant. (And how that does irritate the enemy!)
5) Jesus is still alive and He is with us.
“Where two or three have gathered together in my name, there am I in their midst.” (Matthew 18:20)
“…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20)
“I will not leave you as orphans,” Jesus said (John 14:18). “I will come to you.”
Christ-people are never alone, never on our own.
6) Believers have the best message ever, the one people are dying to hear.
“…for which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher.” (II Timothy 1:11)
“…that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
Our challenge is to cut through the clutter of religion–much of it our own doing–in order to convey the essential truth that God loves, Jesus came and lived and taught and died and rose again, and it was “for you.”
Christ-people have the best message ever. It’s not called “good news” for nothing.
7) We who are in Christ will live forever.
“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who are asleep.” (I Corinthians 15:20)
“Because I live, you also shall live.” (John 14:19)
Christ-people take the long view of matters. “Our momentary light affliction is working for us an exceeding weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen….” (II Corinthians 4:17-18)
It’s all good.
8) Never again is there a place for fear or unbelief, anxiety or cowardice in the lives and ministries of believers.
Christ-people are characterized by an all-consuming faith in the victory of the Lord Jesus Christ!
“But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 15:57)
“God has not given us the spirit of fear (timidity), but of power and love and a sound judgment.” (II Timothy 1:7)
“But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” (II Timothy 1:12)
Christ-people do not ask how much money is in the bank, what talents do we have among us, or what would a reasonable person do? They want to know one thing and one only: “What does the Lord want us to do?” (Acts 22:10)
9) Our negativity is an insult to the living Christ.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
Those whose joy is rooted in the culture will always be frightened out of their socks by happenings around them. Those anchored in Christ expect the deterioration of society that comes from lostness and are not surprised when governments give up their historic standards to accommodate voters. They simply keep on telling the gospel, keep on rejoicing in the Lord, and maintain a steady focus on Him.
Christ-people know how to believe against all odds, to rejoice in the midst of a storm, and to work when everyone else has given up and gone home.
10) You have a power for living and overcoming that is supernatural.
“That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings….” (Philippians 3:10).
“Did I not say to you that if you believe, you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40) Having asked this of Martha, Jesus then raised her brother to life.
And the bottom line? The ultimate resurREACTION? It’s this….
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” (I Corinthians 15:58)