(Preached at West End Baptist Church of Newport, TN on April 15, 2012)
Easter comes only once a year; but it should be constantly in our hearts. It was the first Easter that gives us our Christian hope that we still claim today. It truly was, as Hal Lindsey says; “the week that changed the world”
The fact of having a Resurrected Savior gives us our hope of being a resur-rected Saint should it be our lot to die before the soon-coming Rapture of the Church.
That hope that we possess came about when God manifested His Awesome, Omnipotent Power in bringing His Son, Jesus the Christ, back from among the dead ones.
The New Testament Itself tells us that Jesus’ Resurrection is the ground zero, the focal point, the hub, the central axis, the very nucleus of our early Chris-tian belief, our present Christian belief, and our eternal Christian belief.
(1 Corinthians 15:1-6) – “Brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand; by which also you are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain.
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: and that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
and after that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep”.
(1 Corinthians 15:14-17) – “If Christ is not risen from the dead, then our preaching is empty and so is your faith; and we are found to be false witnesses of God, because we have testified that God raised up Christ: Whom He did not raise if the dead cannot rise.
For if the dead cannot rise, then Christ could not rise (because He truly did die): and if Christ is not resurrected, then your faith in vain and you are still in your sins”.
Jesus Himself declared that the Resurrection was the chief sign that He was in fact, God’s Messenger:
(Matthew 12:38-42) – Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, “Master, we would see a sign from You”. But He answered and said unto them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but (except) the sign of the prophet Jonah:
for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Peter tells us that our heavenly hope is firmly based squarely on the Resur-rection:
(1 Peter 1:3-4) - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which ac-cording to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
The Resurrection was the event that marked Jesus as God’s Spokesman:
(Acts 2:22-24) - Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man ap-proved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
Paul preached that The resurrection was the evidence that everyone should repent and turn to Jesus Christ:
(Acts 17:30-31) - And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent: because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath or-dained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
In fact, our resurrection is based repeatedly of Jesus’ rising from the dead:
(1 Corinthians 6:14) - And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.
(Philippians 3:21) - Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to sub-due all things unto himself.
(1 John 3:2) - Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Today’s message will ask you one question, in several parts: After we have heard a clear presentation in song and spoken word concerning the Resurrection; what do we do? What do we say? How do we react?
I. WE CAN SAY “HALELLUJAH”.
“Hallelujah” is a compound word that translates out to “Praise the Lord”.
A “Hallelujah Life” is one that centers on the Person and the Work of the Resurrected Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; and everything that person does is dedicated to the Praise and Glory of God Himself.
We are certainly not perfect people; but we can certainly be growing more and more in the Image of God’s Son every day; we can be people “after God’s own Heart”; meaning we can be people who sincerely try to life a life that praises God – that “hallells God” in every way. If we were to read our life history 100 years af-ter we have died, would there be any true and honest “hallelujahs” and “praises” there?
How is this possible in a world like we have today?
Actually, the Christian is the only person who has the right to be happy; he is the only person who knows HOW to be happy; he is the only person who has the key to true happiness and joy.
The Believer has the assurance that God is WITH him and FOR him instead of the alternative. Because of his faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, he has no fear of death, hell, or dying:
(Romans 8:38-39) - For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When a person is a Christian, his whole life becomes a doxology of praise to God!
II. WE CAN SAY “AMEN”.
Amen in Hebrew means, “Let it be so”. In Greek, it is generally translated by the word, “Verily”. It is a word that indicates that something important, monumental, influential, notable, prominent, remarkable, stirring, essential, and emphatic is coming.
We must commit ourselves to living a life in such a way that God’s Word is a reality in our lives. We should be able and willing to say “Amen” and become an “Amen” to everyone with whom we come in contact.
To say this means that you will be responsible to allow the Person and the Work of Jesus Christ to move and breathe within you and come out of you. This person tells the world, “I have entered this church to worship; and now I leave this church to serve”.
He says, “I am the best Christian somebody knows and I might even be the only Christian somebody knows; and I am going to live such a way that if they are watching me, they will not see anything that will hurt them – but only help them; nothing that will pull them down, but build them up.
III. WE CAN SAY, “THANKS BE TO GOD”.
This person goes out into the world to live a thanksgiving life.
We publish a series of booklets under the name of the “Printed Pulpit”; available free from the display over in the hallway beside the secretary’s office; and I put this statement in them: “This material is the product of seventy-one years of living in a Christian home; twenty years under Godly parents; twenty-three years of listening to Godly teachers, many Godly pastors, and numerous Christian workers; fifty-one years of reading and studying the Bible, commentaries, encyclopedia, handbooks, maps and charts, and enjoying preached and published sermons and lessons of others; forty-six years of Christian life; forty-five years of Christian ministry; forty- three years in the pastorate; five years in Bible school; and countless numbers of hours spent in prayer.
No claim is ever made to originality of this – or any message in the “Printed Pulpit” series”.
I sincerely appreciate every opportunity I have had to study under some of God’s best men and women; and I sincere appreciate every comment I receive for the work God has led me to do; but let us never be negligent to thank God for al-lowing us to be His Children.
The Resurrection Afterglow should be shining brightly in our lives where ever we go, whatever we do, whomever we are with.
The New Testament hope moves from the Resurrected Jesus, alive in His immortal body, to the resurrection and immortality of Believers. To be absolutely sure of the former (the Resurrection of the Savior) is to have an absolutely cer-tain basis for the latter (the resurrection of the Saints).
The Resurrection of Jesus is firmly enmeshed in past history; while our res-urrection steadfastly constitutes our future – and both of them are most assured-ly confirmed.
For the earliest Christians, this truth was life-transforming. They went into all the world telling about it – and many of them (most of them, actually) died for it. You have to really believe in something to face a cruel, gruesome, painful death for it. That, in itself, is abundant evidence that the Resurrection really occurred; they didn’t make it up – as was told about them – they believed it happened, and they faced the executioner because of it!
Similarly, the fact that we serve a living Savior should be indelibly engraved into our innermost being!
Alfred Ackley (1887-1960) showed great musical promise at a very young age as a composer and performer. He was later ordained and went on to serve as Pastor of several Presbyterian churches in the United States. He worked for a few years with evangelist Billy Sunday and the Rodeheaver Music Company. He and his brother Bentley wrote the words and/or music for over 4,500 songs; including “I Never Walk Alone” and this one:
1. I serve a risen Savior, He's in the world today.
I know that He is living, whatever men may say.
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer;
And just the time I need Him, He's always near.
2. In all the world around me, I see His loving care;
And though my heart grows weary, I never will despair.
I know that He is leading, Through all the stormy blast;
The day of His appearing will come at last.
3. Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs To Jesus Christ the King!
The Hope of all who seek Him, The Help of all who find;
None other is so loving, So good and kind.
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.
The reality of heaven needs to be woven into our present lives. Both Jesus Christ and the New Testament writers taught that a heavenly perspective should be applied to our daily beliefs and actions.
Our thought should center on heavenly truths rather than earthly ones:
(Colossians 3:1-3) - If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Now, would you turn around and face the rear of the auditorium, please.
Are those doors entrances or exits?
If you said, “Exits”, you would be correct. If you said “Entrances”, you would be correct. They are, in fact, BOTH; hence the name, “worship service”.
If your worship stops at the exit, it is worthless; and if your service stops at the entrance, it is empty. We enter to worship and depart to serve; but we are serving while we are worshiping and we are worshiping while we are serving – and that is the way it must be!