Resurrection Sunday – I am going to guess that in Heaven, this is party Sunday!
This is the day where they pull out all stops and it is just Party Time in Heaven!
If Good Friday happened because of the love of God, then Resurrection Sunday is the result of that – Life!
Yes, Jesus died on a cross and we remember it, are thankful for it, depend on it and He bears the scars so that neither He, nor us, will ever forget that He paid the sin for us.
We understand from scripture, Jesus has the scars, but He isn’t carrying the cross around – still nailed to it!
Sadly, some people get to the Cross and the love of God that led to it, but sometimes they stay there.
They never move beyond the cross into the life that God intended, but live:
Constantly reflecting, begging God to forgive them
Living afraid of judgment
Constantly living under the weight of sin and brokenness
Seem to be heavy with the weight of the cross
Never walking in the joy, life and freedom that came after the Cross.
Jesus didn’t stay on the cross, in fact He rose again.
He even had to send some angels to tell some of his followers – stop looking for Me where dead people are.
24 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.
You may be watching with us today and perhaps you have been looking in the wrong places for God:
Dead tick boxes
Dead end knowledge of God but never knowing Him personally
Lists you try to do to impress Him
All the do’s and don’ts that eventually wear us down and God is nowhere there to be found
Today, I hope you can stop looking in the wrong places for God and look in the right place – the person of Jesus Christ and His life!
On Friday we looked at God’s original intents for humankind.
It was we were created in God’s image to love, and
The first thing spoken over us was blessing and having dominion and rule in life!
That is because God’s intent was that we would experience and live life!
Jesus spelled it out so clearly in John 10:10.
John 10:10 (NIV)
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.
The Message version here says:
10 A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
Sadly, somehow the devil has convinced this world of the total opposite:
That living for self and in sinful ways is exciting and real living, but to come to Jesus means giving up all the fun, joy and excitement of life.
But that is what the devil does!
Even back in the beginning in the garden where it all began and God had created people for love and life, the devil came and twisted God’s words.
God’s single command that was given to ensure real love and life was best and the devil took it out of context and put like a constraint on our life and Adam and Eve!
Genesis 3:1 (NIV)
3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
No! In fact, the total opposite is true! God not only gave mankind every kind of tree, but also the power to rule every other part of creation!
There was only one tree not to eat from and that was to protect them, not rob them! that was to ensure they ruled like intended.
God made variety, colour, sky, water, mountains, valleys, all sorts of trees, fruits and animals simply for us to enjoy.
The original intent was that we would be blessed, enjoy life!
The devil not only twisted God’s intent of life, but then took away the life that was possible by relationship with God.
The devil is like a credit card with a terrible and crushing interest rate.
He will deliver pleasure today – but not tell you what he destroyed in your future to offer it to you
We play now with him but always pay dearly later
But this confusion is caused by the devil and our own wanting things, but not comprehending God’s bigger and better picture for us.
Humankind often demands:
I want to do relationships my way – it’s about pleasure over commitment
Someone cheats on their husband or wife for a moment of pleasure. It’s what they want and feel like now
But the payment in pain and loss is coming and even on their kids in ways they never considered
The devil offers – but he has an unbearable interest coming
I want to trust in things – my way – not realising how fickle and unstable they are – seeing that right now
I want to put myself first – my way – not realising how destructive a community becomes when ‘self’ is put above others
I want to hold onto unforgiveness – my way – not realising we are only making ourselves captive
Read Caroline Leaf’s book – Who switched off your brain? – then we will understand the physical effects of unforgiveness and negativity. When we understand this, we would never allow it in our life
I want to live for now – my way – missing out on the far greater eternal aspect of life that we were created for
The only difference between us and kids is we think we are so much smarter than God.
Or we think we are so smart we can exist outside of God
We are God in that view
What a nightmare – if you and I were the only gods – what a disaster!
The commands we find God gives us are never to limit or restrict, they are actually put in place to bring the best out of life and true freedom!
Not just for this 50, 80 or 100 years – but eternal life!
Jesus came not to limit, restrict or have sorrowful Christians dwelling on the brokenness of the Christian life. That’s the wrong Bible! That is not what the Bible says!
Jesus came to bring life and bring it abundantly!
God’s first words over us were blessing!
Then if we go to the next major part of the scriptures, Genesis 12 where the narrative of the Bible goes from the whole world to God’s Chosen People – through Abraham.
Let’s read God’s first words about His people.
Genesis 12:1-3 (NIV)
2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
We are considered part of that promise!
Romans 4:11 (NIV)
“…So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them…”
That is twice we see God’s original intent for us is blessing and greatness in life and life to the full.
Romans 6:4,8,11 (NLT)
4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. 8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.
11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.
Every time, the theme is consistent.
We did die – to self, sin, brokenness, anything negative and anything bad
But then we live!
And by live it means back to God’s original intent! Blessing and ruling.
Like what was originally spoken over God’s people the sons of Abraham which we are referred to:
“I will bless you and I will make your name great.”
How can it possibly be that we get this confused other than we allow the devil through rubbish religious teaching, this world’s perspective or view and twisting what God actually said and actually wants?
The clear message of Easter is:
Jesus died on the Cross because of His love for us
But He rose again to give us Life!
Love and Life are the message of Easter!
Never forget, that when He speaks of life it isn’t limited to 80 years in some broken world:
but eternal life and salvation
no more tears, suffering and loss
Perhaps you are watching this online and this is a new concept. Let me tell you that the message of God for you is:
Jesus died because He loves you!
Jesus rose so that you could have life!
When we come to God, the Bible says:
Heb 11:6 (NIV)
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
We must first acknowledge His reality and our need of Him, but in doing so we must also believe that He is a rewarder!
He wants to give, not take!
He gives love and life!
Suggestions for discussion
What does Easter mean to you?
How does it change your life?
Has the way you look at your life and those around you changed?