Out of Death Comes Life

Here are the sermon notes  from Easter Sunday March 31, 2013.

I.  Resurrection:  Matthew 28:1-10

Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.

But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”

So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.

And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

Rejoice!  The first word of Jesus to the women in this gospel account is to  rejoice.  Christians ever since that first Easter morning truly have rejoiced that Christ has risen!  It has made all the difference in the world.  It confirms the message that Jesus preached, and gives us a hope that goes beyond the grave.

Our church does not have Holy Week services.  We do not have a Maunday Thursday, or a Good Friday service.  We celebrate the Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday, and the resurrection on Easter.  This gives the impression that the season is only that of celebration.

We must remember that you do not have a resurrection, without first having a death.  Hebrews 12:1-2 says:

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

We will never be able to fully comprehend the true suffering of Christ on the cross.  We cannot understand what it means to take the sins of the world.  Jesus knew what it was going to be like, and He asked three times that “this cup might pass from me”.  However, the Father, and Jesus also, knew there was no other way so “may thy will be done”.

II.  Out of Death Comes Life:  Matthew 16:21-27

From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.

22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”

23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

I am concerned that we want to skip an important step.  We do not get to have the new life that Christ has for us unless we are willing to lay down the old one.  It seems as though many people want the promise of God’s help in this life and the promise of life to come, but they want to remain the masters of their own lives.  They  do not want to give their lives to Christ, they want to keep them for themselves.  Not everyone seems willing to say “not my will, but thine be done”.

Romans 6:1-4:

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

I am concerned that many of us are so busy telling God what we want Him to do, that we forget to ask God what He wants us to do.

Years ago the Imperials recorded a song titled Water Grave.  It contains the words:

I’m going down to the river.

I’m going to be buried alive.

I’m going to show my heavenly Father

the man I used to be has finally died.

I have a 1983 Yamaha Venture motorcycle.  It runs good, but cosmetically it is in pretty rough shape.  If someday I get a different motorcycle I will have to choose which one I ride.  I can’t ride two bikes at the same time.

We cannot live our lives for ourselves, and live for God at the same time.

If we die to self, only then can we live for Christ.

Christ came that we might have life, and that more abundantly.  Let’s trust God enough to give up the lives that we had, so that we might live the life He has for us.

Obviously, I am not talking about a physical death.  I am talking about telling God “not my will, but Thine be done”.

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