This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on April 16thth 2023 by Lasya. For the audio & video please click here. To listen to the worship please click here.
Resurrection - What does it mean to me?
There are many wonders of the world. And it is fascinating to read about them, watch documentaries about them, and even visit them and admire their beauty. One of the 7 wonders of the world is in India - the Taj Mahal. This grand majestic monument was not built for tourists or to bolster the economy or to show off the splendour of the empire. It is essentially a symbol of love for the wife of an emperor. What the Taj Mahal meant for Shah Jahan’s wife Mumtaz would be very different from what it means for us. The world looks at the church and knows the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus and it might even pique people’s interest. But as the church, as his body, the resurrection of Jesus is more than a marvel. He did not just die and rise again. He died and rose again for us - for you and me.
Paul says in Philippians 3:8-10 “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, …. that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection” If Paul counted everything else a loss in view of the surpassing worth of knowing this, it means we ought to pay attention to learning about it ourselves. In fact, after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, it marks history as BC and AD. Every single epistle addresses the impact of the resurrection in some measure or another. So today, we’re going to look at the resurrection of Jesus and what that means to us.
Let’s look at the bookends - What does the resurrection mean for our faith and for our future. And then we will look at what it means for me for now.
Faith: It is the foundational principle of our Christian faith. 1 Cor 15:14 “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” Without resurrection, there is no justification. Romans 4: 25 “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Old Testament equivalent of God’s acceptance of a sacrifice. Jesus was not delivered into the hands of Satan. An offering is made, not to appease the devil, but to satisfy the righteous wrath of God. It was never a battle between Satan and Jesus. It was always an offering of love. The resurrection is the evidence that God accepted the sacrifice of Jesus to redeem us from death and sin forever
Response? Romans 10: 9 “if you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” but do you know that when we believe in Jesus, God does a resurrection in us as well? Eph 2:8 “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our trespasses. It is by grace you have been saved!”
Baptism is a symbol of this belief: Romans 6:4 “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in the newness of life.” If you believe in Jesus death and resurrection for your salvation, we are commanded in scripture to be baptized into Christ as a symbol of this new life.
Future: 1 Corinthians 15:19 “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”
glorified bodies: 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 “42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” We’re not going to see a bunch of half-mangled zombies. 1 Corinthians 15: “50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”
Inheritance: There is an imperishable inheritance that Jesus went to prepare for us in heaven. “to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,” 1 Peter 1:4 . How do we know this is for later and not now? “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18; “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18. There is a great expectation in Christ to receive an inheritance that can never be taken from us.
Now: Everything about our lives must change in view of the resurrection of Christ from the dead. It did for the disciples. A group of despondent and hopeless followers who returned to their former way of life after the death of Jesus, became an army of apostles who turned the world upside down after they witnessed the resurrected Jesus. Today that is Jesus who is among us - risen and reigning. The resurrection of Jesus means he has won the ultimate victory over the final enemy of all - death and sin. 1 Corinthians 15: 56-57 “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”. But how does that affect how we live now? 2 Corinthians 5:15 - “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” What does living for Jesus look like? The resurrection of Jesus means 3 th8gs to us here and now:
It gives us a living hope: 1 Peter 1:3 “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. ” In a recent study neurologists found that hope shields the brain from the effects of anxiety. Cancer patients recovered and responded to treatment much faster when they had hope. What does this hope look like in our lives? Paul and Silas in the Philippian jail. They had every opportunity to grumble but instead they praised God. Complaining is the enemy of hope. It proclaims that God is not good or powerful enough to give you victory in all circumstances. It is not fake. Hope is choosing to focus on the greater reality. Personal illustration.
It makes us living stones: “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:4-5 ESV. Will you give yourself to be shaped by God? To be a living stone in God’s temple means that we will be cut and shaped to the dimensions of the cornerstone. We need to be set apart, to be refined.
It demands a living sacrifice: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1 ESV. God always delivers for the purpose of worship. Eg: the Israelites. Because Jesus is raised from the dead, we are no longer required to give dead sacrifices, but we are commanded to be a living sacrifices. What does that mean? To offer our body, mind and heart to serve God regardless of the patterns of culture. Our spiritual sacrifice is to build the kingdom of God. Where will you put set up on your CV? In your work life, in your married or unmarried life, in your family, what is the pattern of culture that doesn’t line up with the word of God and the spirit of God?
What are you building today? We are not labourers of Shah Jahan building a mausoleum. We are labourers of God, building a spiritual house for him to live in because Jesus rose again
Today what does the resurrection mean to you?
Are there dead areas in your life where you need the resurrection power of God?
Do you need renewed hope for your circumstances? Do you need the grace to stop complaining and start praising?
Do you need to step into being a living stone- do you need a fresh vision of the church and your role in it?
Do you need to renew your mind with the Holy Spirit and be transformed?
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English-speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. Word of Grace is part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.