Easter Sunday 2020

Apr 12, 2020 // By:Dave // No Comment

It is expected, commonly assumed, that Easter Sunday sermons are to be properly based upon the resurrection of Christ. After all, what is the christian faith without such a rising from the dead of the Messiah ?

I do not mean to take away from such a miraculous event or pivotal moment for the history and future of mankind in regard to the Risen Savior. 

I will say, however, that stopping there, saying “He is risen indeed” and going home with warm smiles and comfort in acknowledging that “death has lost it’s sting” is not and should not be the end of involvement in this event.

Our involvement, as we shall see, is far deeper than the “telling of the story”. (much like comparing the receiving of a gift only to stare at the shiny foil paper wrapping and bows, to the proper response of opening the gift box to find practical, usable gift inside)

 

Let me share a thought I shared in our men’s group on Tuesday night.

If I was standing in front of you and told you that, earlier that day, I had been hit and run over by a logging truck …

You’d say “no way! Look at you. There’s not a mark on you and you’d be flat as a pizza. Those things weigh 80,000 lbs loaded. Dave, that’s impossible to have an encounter with a logging truck and show no marks”

And you’d be right in calling me a liar (there’s no way I can “meet” a logging truck in motion and not be “altered” by the experience)

Strange then that I hear so many say “I know God” or “I believe in God” and yet persist in living an unchanged life

If no one can survive an encounter with a logging truck without being changed by it, how can someone not be changed after meeting God (who is so much greater than a truck and states endlessly in His Word how He desires to change the heart and mind of each person who believes.

If you have truly met God, then you would be changed. 

If you have not been changed, then you have not yet met Him.

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Let us look at Eph 2:1-10

Eph. 2:1 ¶ And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,

Eph. 2:2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

Eph. 2:3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

Eph. 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

Eph. 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

Eph. 2:6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Eph. 2:7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Eph. 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

Eph. 2:9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Eph. 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

if I compare various translations and inject a little greek, I come away with the following:

Eph. 2:1 ¶ you were stagnant corpses in your disobedience and opposition to God, (both in mistakes and deliberate choices)

Eph. 2:2 you cooperatively let the world system tell you how to live, how to react, how to pridefully ignore God’s laws, under authority of that chief of rebellion against God, satan himself, his spirit that is now working in all those who live disobediently.

Eph. 2:3 we lived just like them, indulging every desire of our rebellious nature (in the flesh and of the mind), living under the wrath of God, opposed to Him and it felt quite natural, it came easy, it was who we were and we enjoyed it.

Eph. 2:4 But God, the God willing to hold back the punishment we justly deserved, the God who humbly serves those whom He created and desiring to do so with commitment and promise,

Eph. 2:5 even when we were stagnant corpses in your disobedience and opposition to God, brought us back to life, together,  through and in His Son (for we have been saved by His serving love as a gift we do not deserve),

Eph. 2:6 and raised us up with Him in this new life, a life that both comes from Christ and places us in Christ, a gift that even seated us with Him in the heavenly places as co-heirs, receiving His life, His authority, and His acceptance of the Father.

Eph. 2:7 so that in the generations, centuries, even eons to follow,  God would show the overflowing abundance of His blessings toward us in His Son, our Savior.

Eph. 2:8 For it is through the unmerited kindness of God that you have been rescued from His wrath and brought back to true life.

Eph. 2:9 not as a result of anything you or I could have done (as if we could brag about helping God bring corpses back to life).

Eph. 2:10 because we are the craftsmanship of His hands, the hands of Christ, formed as a good work that we would do good works that He planned out in advance for us to do, to glorify Him in thanks.

Paul’s first prison epistle, written to the saints in Ephesus (and by association of the body of Christ, all of us who are chosen in Him).

He speaks to those who are redeemed with His blood, called children of God

verses 1-3  (before)

  • outline the natural fallen state of mankind. A state into which every human being on this planet is born into,
  • the condition of being dead. (stagnant, putrid corpses, walking about in their rot, serving no purpose but existing to rot further)

verses 4-10  (after)

  • outline the supernatural risen state of believers. A state into which every believer is born again
  • the condition of being resurrected (renewed in heart and mind, walking with purpose, serving the Creator) 
  • the reason and purpose for each resurrection 
  • and the credit for the resurrector
  • the what we become, the why we become, and the Who does it all.

Let’s talk about this Idea of walking dead.

1 Cor 2:14 “natural man does not understand the things of God) they are foolishness to him.

That’s why Jesus said being born again (regenerated from above) was a requirement to enter heaven 

animated corpses (sounds silly in real life)

but is a spiritual sense, a very real spiritual sense, that is exactly what we are doing.

instead of killing them with swords or guns, we use a spiritual sword and bring them back to life.
(most have a basic familiarity with guns)

the bullet does the change to the zombie but just as a lead bullet must be jacketed to penetrate

so must the word of God be jacketed, with humility and love to be able to penetrate deepest.

Eph 2:1-10 is like reading a gospel version of Ezekiel 37
except the prophet speaking the bones to life is Jesus Himself.

 

our Saviour raised three dead persons in the NT (excluding Himself)

The first was the young maiden, the daughter of Jairus, who, when she lay on her bed dead, rose up to life at the single utterance of Christ, “Talitha cumi!” 

  • Matt 9  , Mark 5
  • barely died
  • still lovely to look upon
  • appeared simply sleeping if not to notice she was not breathing anymore.

The second was the case of the widow’s son, who was about to be carried to his tomb; and Jesus raised him up to life by saying, “Young man, I say unto thee, arise.” 

  • Luke 7
  • dead long enough for burial process to have been initiated
  • already paled, clearly dead
  • no longer pleasant to look upon but not yet disgusting (on the path of corrupting)

The third, and most memorable case, was that of Lazarus, who was not on his bed, nor on his bier, but in his tomb, ay, and corrupt too; but notwithstanding that, the Lord Jesus Christ, by the voice of his omnipotence, crying, “Lazarus, come forth,” brought him out of the tomb.

  • John 11
  • good and dead
  • rotted, disgusting to look at, smell etc
  • truly he sticks by now.

three people, each at different stages of death (very pleasant to disgusting by human standards)

yet all three are equally dead. The threshold from life to death had been crossed by all three

(just that some had gone further past the threshold,  it matters not how far.

Our world recognizes these various stages of death, the deadly effects of sin as it rots the flesh of those who are spiritually dead

Some are worse than others, some seem better than others.

but a dead body is a dead body.

(while the world only sees degrees of death (as if it made a difference)

we compare the dead to the living.

A live person walking past a line of dead people does not see them as:

(a little dead, more dead, mostly dead, really dead)

we see corpses. (at least we should)

Does our resurrected set of senses provide this input for us ?

Do we see the dead as all dead ?

Do we understand what it means to be resurrected ?

How can resurrected people be separated from the dead ?

How does seeing the unsaved as dead affect our interactions with them ?

  • Don’t take their advice
  • Realize that appetite is that of a dead person
  • Senses of a dead person
  • Conclusions of a dead person

Also means that when we experience thoughts, opinions, senses, conclusions as they do … there is a really good chance that we are not thinking with our resurrected heart and mind

Rom 12:1-2. Transformed 

2 Cor 5:

16Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 

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