Special Resurrection Day Edition
Kern County Raceway Park
April 2, 2016
“The Most Important Truth In Our Life – Resurrection”
Last Sunday, …Easter, …or what I always call Resurrection Day, what our Grandkids ask me after sitting through the Easter Service at church sort of baited me with the question: Papa, what is the most important thing you know?” Immediately, I thought of 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, where the apostle Paul explains the heart of the Gospel, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day.” Obviously, they were thinking but had they understood the whole truth about Easter? So I immediately thought of the great gift the Lord had just opened the door for me to share with them: The Resurrection is the most important truth a Christian has; …set in stone forever, unshakable, faithful, proven!
If Christ has not risen, then our faith is useless (1 Corinthians 15:14). That’s right — useless. Without the Resurrection, we might as well forget God, church, the Christian life — it is all a lie.
On the other hand, if the Resurrection is real, then there are a few important truths that must follow:
1. Our sins ARE forgiven
The Bible makes it clear that we have all sinned (Romans 3:23). And sin put a huge breach in our relationship with God, our Creator, separating us from His love. But because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we have received forgiveness, and our relationship with God has been restored, completely, without flaw!
2. Death is NOT the end
Jesus conquered the grave and promises that we can follow in His footsteps (Philippians 3:21). Because of the resurrection of Christ, death no longer has power over us. We have gained eternal life. Paul shouts defiantly, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). Of course, there is no reply.
3. How we live IS important
Because we know we will live forever in God’s presence, our priorities and devotion are focused on Him, NOT on the concerns of this present world. This focus does not take us out of this world, but keeps our attention where it belongs (Colossians 3:2). In fact, living with our hearts focused on eternity enables us to be more effective in God’s business — living out His truth and building His kingdom — right here and now; each and every day of our life.
Saying it another way…
The resurrection of Jesus means that …
- our sins are FORGIVEN.
- He conquered the POWER OF DEATH.
- our lives NOW HAVE AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE.
So… you can commit this verse to Memory:
1 Peter 1:3: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we can live with great expectation including a future in heaven—because The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.” (GBB)
For your extra in-depth study on the Resurrection look at these Bible verses:
Matthew 28, Luke 24, John 11:21-27, 1 Corinthians 15
And, now the rest of the story…
One of the craziest things that takes place around the whole resurrection event that gives us both insight and hope. In Matthew 27:62-66 the following takes place:
“The next day, on the Sabbath the chief priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while He was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So we request that you order a seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent His disciples from coming and stealing His body and then telling everyone He was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were in the first place.” Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it around the clock.”
As a pastor or family friend I have been to a lot of funerals at gravesides, but I have never been to one where they needed a guard to keep the guy down! When they are down they are down.
But they knew something was up. And let’s be honest here; were they really afraid of the disciples? I don’t think so. The disciples had scattered. They were gone! Those disciples were afraid and certainly had no means of sneaking in there to overcome on some black ops; armed and trained Roman Soldiers that were on guard, …nor capable of moving that giant stone rolled in place, steal the body and start their own religion kind of thing. The next report of them was hiding together in a room together afraid of the soldiers coming to arrest them.
The real truth is that these priests were really afraid that since Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, healed blind, deaf, lame, and all kinds of things that chances are He was telling the truth and they would see Him again in three days and they were really in trouble.
The disciples next were shown together hiding behind locked doors and in John 20:19 it says this: “That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace is with you,” He said. As he spoke, He showed them the wounds in His hands and His side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord!”
Isn’t that amazing? Jesus doesn’t even bother with the door; He just shows up among them! And then what is His first words but “Peace is with you.”
Talk about scared?… “ah, ah …we didn’t think we’d be seeing You today. We were just kidding about that pretending we didn’t know You thing!. We were just kidding about that pretending we didn’t know You thing! Jesus, You’re the Man!!! But just to check, can we see Your hands? And Jesus shows them. It sounds humorous to us maybe. I’m sure it does today.
But stop and think a moment. What’s the first thing Jesus says again? “Peace.” When your feet are swept out from under you and doors slammed in your face, and everything falling apart and worse …you certainly don’t feel peace. And, THAT was certainly the case here with those disciples. There was no peace in that room until Jesus showed up.
When we submit to Him there isn’t a closed door or anything that can keep Jesus out of your life. The worse the pain gets the more He shows up. Maybe someone, or you yourself, have put a label on you and that label is like a door slammed in your face. Or maybe that dream you have worked so hard for all your life had been slammed into pieces.
I’m here today to tell you that your Savior is here today. You serve a risen Savior. He redeems, He heals, He brings back to life, that which has been declared dead. He walks you through it all.
But there are some things it may take first. One thing is that you got to drop that pride and get down on your hands and knees sometimes. As much as it may hurt, you need to bow your knee before a risen Savior. You can try to keep Him out but I am telling you that it won’t work.
On the day when Jesus died and He finally gave up His life do you remember what happened? The ground shook. The dead people began to come up out of their graves and testify about the grace of God. And something else happened too. Do you remember that veil that was in the temple since it was built even as a tent at first in the days of Moses? That veil had only one job and separated the Most Holy place on the planet from the rest of the temple and everything else on earth. That veil was 60 feet tall and 30 feet wide and over a foot thick. It wasn’t just some curtain.
Only once a year was the High Priest allowed to go behind it to make intercession for the nation to God and even then, they tied a rope to his foot so if he was killed they could drag him out if he died from Holiness overdose or something like that. Yeah, it was like …oops, guess he wasn’t holy! Next!
But, on the day Jesus died that veil was ripped in two …from the top down to the bottom…or from heaven to earth. It’s like God said “I’m tired of this door between us and I’m ready to be in the presence of My children.”
It’s time to bow your knee before that God!
There is another thing it takes. You’re going to have to cry out for help. That happens when we cry out to Jesus. But it also happens when we cry out to our brothers and sisters in the church. The church is part of it too. Some are willing to bow their knee to Jesus but are resisting the family of God …the church. The church is here for your help and healing, I promise.
Yes, choose wisely those Christians. That is one of the main reasons Kathy and I are here at every event. We may not always have the answer you want or even want to hear, but God does and we are here to serve Him and you in any way we can to help and see you healed and made whole from any situation.
Personally, we have experienced that He does not always do or respond the way we think He should, but can attest to the face that down the line as we lived it out and trusted Him, he made it right and brought us that PEACE that only He can within us, new life, stronger, and deeper, and richer at the end of the tunnel of time.
So in closing there is one more thing He asks of us…
That is to knock on His door. In Matthew 7:7-11 “Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who created you, gave His only Son up for you, died for you, conceived you to be born again, will be even better? So Seek Him, Knock, and the door will be opened for you. Don’t wait or try to bargain with life or Him.” (GBB)
It’s time to stop being afraid to ask Jesus into your life. You can trust Him. He is going to give you EXACTLY what you need. Will it be what you want? I don’t know because maybe what you want, or dream of, or have worked so hard for, isn’t what He knows you really need, …or maybe the timing is off, But, He Will give you new life! And He is here to do it today.
And lastly, one more thing I want to challenge you with: Would you not just make this a ritual …a day that is called Easter by most, or Resurrection Day by me, because THAT is what it really is …
…where family gathers for a one day party, over eating ham, to much of the trimmings that go with the dinner, and falling asleep on the couch.
Would you mark this Easter with more? Would you be willing to bow the knee before the Savior and ask for the healing that you need and maybe even turn to a Christian brother or sister in Christ, …(the body of Christ), …and say “I actually need someone to come alongside of me and pray with me through this nightmare I am living through? I’ve prayed by myself long enough and I need some help.”
Kathy and I pray that if you have a need, that you will turn to the One who is risen.