March 27, 2016
Text: Luke 24:1-11
Joy in the Morning
May I ask you a question? Why are you here this morning at 7:30? You’re probably thinking-what kind of a question is that-it’s Easter Sunday. But again- why are you here? What does that mean? Tradition? A fun thing to do? What if you were to risk your life by coming here- would you still come? – and if so- why?
The only reason we are here this morning- is to worship our risen savior who suffered and died on a cross for us and laid in a tomb is alive! Death has been defeated once and for all- forever. That is why we are here-to worship him and give him praise! People all over the world have come together this morning because of that- people in large cathedrals, in small rural communities- in house churches and persecuted churches risking their lives.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God- neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus is alive- raised from the dead by the power of God that created the universe, and that same power of life over death is ours to live each day- no matter what we might experience. Pray.
All other religions come to the grave of their founder who still lies in their grave. Christians are the only religion that celebrate a risen Lord- who is coming back soon in all His glory, and when He does, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.
In the meantime, we live in a broken world- and living in a broken world, we still experience pain and sorrow and disappointments. Writing to the Philippians, the apostle Paul said this: “I want to know Christ- and I want to know the power of His resurrection. That is my message to you this morning- to know Christ more and more everyday- and knowing him- learn to know the power of His resurrection more and more every day.
Do you know where Paul was when he wrote that? He wasn’t addressing a convention of Christians- Paul was writing from a Roman prison cell where he would remain for two years. He was in prison because he couldn’t stop telling others that Jesus was alive and was calling them to follow Him. It was a passionate prayer for himself and the church of Philippi. His circumstances did could not stop him from trusting Jesus because he knew the power of the resurrection in his life no matter what circumstance he found himself in- even in a dark and dank prison cell.
History tells us that Jesus was born in a stable in the out-of-the way village of Bethlehem. He grew up a carpenter’s son-and at the age of 30. He began a ministry of teaching, healing, feeding hungry stomachs as well as souls. He even raised a number of people from the dead. People called him-Rabbi- teacher- but for those who knew him best- he was called- friend-and Lord.
He was betrayed by one of his own disciples for 30 pieces of silver. He was beaten and despised and nailed to a cross to suffer and die. “It is finished” He said- and then He died and was laid in a tomb and a boulder was rolled in place, sealing it shut.
That is what history tells us. But when Paul writes that he wants us to know Christ and power of the resurrection, he wants us to know Jesus our savior and Lord-who was more than a man, but the Son of God who was willingly left the glory of heaven to humble himself unto death-for our salvation- and rose victoriously from the grave.
One day, Jesus asked Peter who he thought he was- bottom line- Peter confessed that he had come to know and believe that Jesus was more than a good friend, more than a good teacher- He was the Christ- the Messiah sent from God to save. To know Jesus as someone in history is one thing- but to know him as our savior and Lord- that is a different story.
Secondly, Paul wants us to know that Jesus has risen from the dead and is alive and active in our lives. He wants us to know the power of the resurrection in our lives- to remember the promise and have the assurance of that promise that we who are in Christ Jesus by grace through faith- who have surrendered to Him and believe His promises- will live forever with him. Not only that, but it means we have been given a new way of life here on earth with hope and purpose – regardless of the circumstances we experience from day to day- because of the power of the resurrection working in and through our lives.
When Jesus said the words: “it is finished” from the cross- those who loved him- it felt like their whole world was crumbling before them. As they watched Jesus’ body being laid in the tomb and a great stone rolled in front. It felt like the life they had hoped for was being laid in the tomb with the life-less body of Jesus. And on Sunday morning when the women made their way to the tomb to embalm a body, they came quietly, overcome in their sorrow and confusion.
But when they got there- they found the stone had been rolled away- and the tomb was empty- empty except the empty burial linen- and an angel.
Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here- He is risen just as He said-(as if to say- remember?
Remember? Remember what Jesus said- promised? When we experience disappointments in life, sorrow, struggles, pain-and are overcome with feelings of fear and being alone, it is easy to forget the words of Jesus. It is then that we need to wake up to the words of the angel- why are you looking for the living among the dead? He is not here- He has risen from the dead- just as He said.
It was hard to comprehend- death had always been the final word- until that morning. But Jesus had risen- just as He said! He has the final word- and the word is life- new life and salvation. It all began to come back to them- and their sorrow turned to uncontainable joy that morning! They ran as fast as they could to tell the other disciples.
Writing to the Corinthians, Paul said: “for I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures.”
If Jesus had not risen from the dead- then we might as well all go home and eat candy and go back to bed- because there would be no reason for us to continue on here this morning. But Jesus did indeed rise from the dead- and that is a life-changer.
Our Lenten theme this year was “Come as you are- to Jesus”. I think we can all relate to any or all of these examples sometime in our lives. It began on Ash Wednesday as we remembered the parable of the prodigal son- that no one is too far from God that we cannot come back and be welcomed with open arms.
Come as you are when you are dead in your sins- Jesus raised Lazarus physically from the dead after four days in the tomb. As miraculous as that is, the greater miracle is that he can give us new life spiritually- eternally.
Come as you are when you are at the end of your rope and cannot help yourself. It is a moving story of how four friends carried a friend who was paralyzed to the foot of Jesus- doing whatever it took- even when it meant lowering him down through a hole in a roof.
Come as you are- when you make choices that fill you with guilt. Peter, the same man who knew Jesus as the Messiah- denied even knowing him when faced with danger. But when he turned to Jesus with a contrite heart- Jesus was able to use him powerfully. There is nothing we can do to make God love us more- and nothing we can do to make Him love us more. Remember that. Jesus only asks that we come to him and surrender- and know the power of the resurrection.
Come as you are to be served by Jesus. Jesus washed the disciple’s feet- as a symbol of what he was about to do- suffer and die in our place- but rise from the dead for us. Amazing grace..
Come as you are to serve. Jesus came to John the Baptist to be baptized. When we know the grace of Jesus- and how he serves us- it is a privilege to serve others in the same way.
Come as you are to surrender. The thief on the cross came to know Jesus at the last hour, the last few minutes of his life- and Jesus forgave him, while his blood ran down the cross. Grace runs downhill to wherever we are and finds us.
Come just as you are to the tomb-and there find that it is empty- Jesus is alive and has conquered sin, death, and the power of the devil once and for all- forever.
I don’t know where you are coming from this morning- what you are thinking or what you are struggling with- but know this- Jesus- and the power of the resurrection to change hearts and lives. May we come awake to that reality. In the name and power of our risen savior- Amen.
4. know the power of the resurrection. If Jesus had only died and buried and not risen-then he cannot be the savior of the world anymore than some good teacher or leader. If Jesus did not rise from the dead- then we might as well all go home. But knowing Jesus is alive is one thing- but knowing the power of the resurrection in our daily lives is quite another. The disciples knew Jesus better than anyone- but had yet to know the power of the resurrection. Think of the power to raise someone from the dead. No one can do that. Jesus raised Lazarus and others- but this was the first time anyone had come back from the dead on their own. A dead person has absolutely no power in themselves. It has to be the power of God.
5. is today just another holiday to get together with family, eat chocolate bunnies once a year and then get up tomorrow morning as if nothing has changed the rest of the year? No! it is a life changer-and we need to wake up to that fact.
6. If we believe we are alive in Christ- why don’t we live it? our lives should show it- be evidence of it. Our futures are changed- our pasts and our present life- not because of our will power- but the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.
7. facebook post-it is about the power of the resurrection in real life- real issues facing us-
8. go through the Lenten topics and how real life experiences are changed because of Easter.they are impacted.
9. come awake to that- wake up to the gospel!
10. He has risen- just as He said- His word is true- His word is for us today- may we know Christ- and the power of the resurrection in our lives today!
He was born in a stable-angels proclaimed his birth. He grew into a man- a great teacher, a man of miracles. He gave sight to the blind, healed diseases and raised people from the dead. but his whole life was for one purpose- to be die on a cross. betrayed for 30 pieces of silver, he was beaten and bruised for our iniquities. And then humanities only hope of salvation was nailed to the cross. “It is finished” he said- and then he died and was laid in a tomb and a stone was rolled in front.
For those who followed him- for those who loved him- it was a roller coaster ride emotionally. On Friday they saw him die a brutal death and laid in a tomb. On Sunday morning-the women came to the tomb to embalm a body-sorrowful with no hope. The words of Jesus seemed lost also. but when they got there- the body was gone- except for an empty linen and an angel- saying: “why are you looking for the living among the dead? He is not here- he is risen- just as he said- as if to say- don’t you remember?” their sorrow had turned to joy in the morning.
Joy in the morning! He is risen! Just as he said. He is risen! He is no longer dead- He is alive- just like He said. Death could not keep him-death is not the end- He is alive.
It’s a life changer-no longer can our experiences be the final story-death no longer has power over us. It still leaves a void, a terrible pain when a loved one dies- we know it is only temporary-
When we experience disappointment in life- sorrow- struggles, and feel all alone- remember- you are not alone- these too will pass- I love you- I will never leave you- I have overcome the world- I died for you- I conquered sin and death and the power of the devil for you- remember?
Of all the important truths in the bible- what is a prerequisite for all the rest? The most important truth- Jesus rose from the dead- If he was still in the tomb- what good would all his promises be?
I Corinthians 15:3-4 “for I delivered to you as of first important what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he a was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures.”
Because of Easter, our approach to life is changed- our values of what is important is changed.
We need to come awake to that fact.
I want you to know Christ- and the power of his resurrection.
Two things I want you to know this morning- first- I want you to know Jesus as your Lord and savior- that is the starting point. and second- I want you to know the power of His resurrection. Note his starting point was not- I want you to know that He rose- that is taken for granted. I want you to know the power of His resurrection that for those who are in Christ- have at our access through Jesus- the same power that rose him from the dead.
This Lenten season- we talked about coming just as you are to Jesus- makes no difference what burdens, your past, your present- your choices you have made- come to Jesus-
What keeps you from coming? What do we need? The power of the resurrection of Christ living within me.
Come as you are when you are far away- you are not too far to come back
Come as you are when you are dead in your sins- your hope, your dreams, your assurance
Come as you are when you are at the end of your rope and cannot come yourself
Come as you are when you make a choice you are ashamed of-
Come as you are to serve- do you know the power of the resurrection
Come as you are to be served-
Come as you are to surrender- pride keeps us from coming-
Come as you are to the tomb- to be reminded that Jesus conquered the power of sin , death, and the power of the devil.
A post on facebook was brought to my attention. Called: “I am a Christian”
When I say I am a Christian, I am not shouting that I am clean living. I’m whispering: I was lost but now I’m found and forgiven.
When I say I am a Christian, I don’t speak of this with pride. I’m confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be m y guide.
When I say that I am a Christian, I’m not trying to be strong. I’m professing that I’m weak and need His strength to carry on.
When I say I am a Christian, I’m not bragging of success. I’m admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.
When I say I am a Christian, I’m not claiming to be perfect. My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.
When I say I am a Christian, I still feel the sting of pain. I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.
When I say I am a Christian, I’m not holier than thou, I’m just a simple sinner who received God’s grace.
Christ is risen from the dead- trampling over death by death-come awake come awake come and rise up from the grave.
We are lost, weak, hopeless, unclean, etc
But because of knowing Jesus- because of the empty tomb-we are found, strong when we are weak, have hope and assurance, been washed clean by the blood of the Lamb, find my identity and value in knowing Jesus.
How do you know that Jesus rose from the dead? how do you know George Washington was the first president?
Depending on if you are a philosopher or a historian, or whatever, the historical fact of Jesus rising from the dead can be proved.
History is the same whether you are talking about a secular example or a spiritual example
The resurrection is a historical fact.
Early and eyewitness-
Top down/ umbrella method- or the brick method- ground up- two characteristic- reliable from two different directions.
Go through the lent season- lost, dead, unable to come, to be served, in our denial, to serve- to surrender- Easter has changed all that- video-
Imagine the women coming to the tomb- grief stricken- Confusion, fear- feelings of abandonment- anger? They expected to find a dead body- but he was alive! He had risen.
It took them sometime to realize it- to understand what that meant- perhaps their whole lives- but it begins by coming awake to the reality that we worship a living savior who has conquered death once and for all.
Don’t know where you are coming from this morning- what is going on in your heart- on Easter morning- we come dressed in our best- a good thing- but what if we came dressed in our work clothes- dirty and unclean? The message of the gospel is that we cannot make ourselves clean before we can come to Jesus- we have no choice but to come as you are- with all your struggles- emotions-
And there at the empty tomb- we will have our eyes opened to the reality of what Jesus has done for us- it is a beginning- to walk in the newness of Christ in you- the hope of glory- if anyone be in Christ, they are a new creation- the old has passed away- behold, the new has come.
Easter is not just a one day of the year remembrance- it needs to be a daily remembrance- a daily renewal