Easter 2014

Messages: Good FridayEaster Sunday

Easter Friday Message



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God so loved the World

 

 

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

 

Good evening! Welcome to our 2014 Easter Conference. Thank God for granting us this beautiful place to meet together and talk about the two most important events in human history – Do you know what they are? – The death and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Together these two events spell out “the Gospel.”  This gospel which is not only a beautiful story but it is also the great power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.  But before we can appreciate or understand the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have to understand one thing.  Does anyone know what? We have to understand the love of God.

 

What then is the love of God? I pray that God may open all of our hearts this Easter conference to understand the Love of God for you and me.  Let us read John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  This verse is one of the most known verses from the bible. Today I would like to talk about what makes this verse so extraordinary. God gave this verse to Nicodemos when he was a rich religious leader wanting to know how could he be born again…And Jesus gave him this verse. This one verse that unfolds the secret to a new life in Jesus …So let’s take a look at it.

 

 First of all: “God so loved the world.” 

First off we need to think about who God is. Who is this God that so loved the world? This is the Almighty Creator who in the beginning created the Heavens and the earth. He created you and he created me. He is Almighty. He is Everlasting. He is Holy, etc (characteristics)…but most of all He is loving. The bible tells us that God is love. And how did he express his love for us from the beginning? Just the fact that he created us is his love. When he created us he gave us his breath of life so that we could have a relationship with him and walk with him. He placed us in a beautiful garden and gave us a mission. Adam and Eve had such a joyful and meaningful existence because they were very secure in the love of God. This is who God is almighty yet loving…personal yet almighty creator…But in the garden, we rebelled against God and sin came into the world. Sin infected the heart of man and carried it out until today and has destroyed this beautiful love relationship. We were then separated from our Maker and had neither communion nor knowledge of him anymore. The truth is that our relationship with him is very broken. In fact this very verse is telling us that we are perishing…

 

Yes…the world and everything in it is perishing. This world that God so loved is dyin, and by this I mean “eternal dead”; and under God’s judgment. But the problem is that we have a hard time believing this because apparently life is good and everything is ok. You are healthy. You are young and maybe you have a carrier ahead of you, you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, a husband, a wife, a good job, good things. We seem to be content but the reality is that we are dying and condemned to go to hell forever.  Someone said it is like being on the Titanic, partying and enjoying life without realizing that you will run into an iceberg at the end and sink and die. And after that you have to face judgment for what you have done in this life. This is our reality. We are perishing and there is nothing we can do about it on our own… but the bible tells us that God so loved the world…

 

What does this mean? This means that God couldn’t stand to see the world so miserable and wretched.  He couldn’t stand to see his children destined to live in this cursed and godless world, and then face the terrible judgment.  So in his great love, God gave his Son Jesus, his one and only Son, for the world.  The Holy Almighty creator of the Heaven and Earth loved this world… this world whose population is a group of rebellious and wicked people. The truth is that God does not need to loves us, we are really not entitle to his love, we do not deserve his love because we have rebelled against him so truly God had all the right to leave us as we are, for that is what we deserved…But his love compelled him otherwise. God was determined to give us a way of salvation.

 

 

 

Second, “he gave his one and only Son.” 

So how did God show us his love? This verse tells us: “he gave his one and only son”…we need to understand this is a gift…God “gave” the very verb “gave” means that you don’t deserve it and I don’t deserve it. It is not because there was something good in you or me. We always like to think that there is something good left in me that made me worthy of God’s love but no…there is nothing that made us worthy we didn’t earn his love. We haven’t worked for his love. It is a gift. And what was his gift? He gave his one and only son…let’s think about that for a minute…how difficult this might have been, the fact that he was willing to sacrifice what he loved the most. God’s son was his most treasure possession. God did not have five sons and could spare this one for our sake.  Jesus was God’s one and only son….But why was it necessary for God to sacrifice his Son Jesus?  It seems so cruel and unloving to do this. I am not a parent but I am a child and in my experience many parents would rather sacrifice themselves than to give their child away. However as noble as this may sound If God had sacrificed himself instead of Jesus, this would have been the easier path to solve the sin problem and definitively a more bearable one. However God loved us that much that he exchanged the life of his Son Jesus for ours, to save us from our sins.  In his deep love for us God chose the hardest and most difficult path that a parent could ever go through. God decided to pay the price to save us from the condemnation that sin brought upon us with the life of his one and only Son, Jesus. Jesus’ life was given for the world so that our sins may be forgiven.  All this for you and me…

 

When Jesus hung on the cross, it was not for his sins that he was being punished but for all the crimes that all men have committed against God and against one another. Our precious Jesus, did nothing to deserve this…however the bible tell us that he was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. Even during his trial he remained silent even though he knew that Pilate could have granted him his freedom, and after the excruciating pain and suffering of paying the price for the sins of the whole world with his very own life his love when even further than accomplishing this mission. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

 

The obvious question we must ask here is, why? And who can do for us as much as God has done? Who can really love a person like you or me but God himself, the Almighty Creator God. When we think about ourselves, we are not very lovable, but who can really love us that much and put up with you and me but God. This verse tell us that God so loved the world, you and me and every person in this world, whether white or black, Chinese or English, whether you are tall or short, smart or not so smart…in truth everyone. God gave us his one and only son Jesus for the forgiveness of the sins of the world. This is God’s saving love for us….this is how much God loves us….when we see Jesus on the cross and Jesus risen again that is indeed the greatest evidence of God’s love.

Third, “Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

If God loves us this much and in this manner how should we respond to such love? John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  God wants you and me to believe in his one and only Son, Jesus…for God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through him.”  Incredible! Although we are all sinners deserving of nothing but eternal condemnation, God promises something unimaginable to those who accept his one-sided love through Jesus Christ, Eternal life.  

 

But what does it mean to believe in Jesus?  Believing in Jesus is more than saying the prayer, Jesus I accept your forgiveness and then we continue to live our lives as if nothing has changed…Believing in Jesus means acknowledging that I am an undeserving sinner, a great debtor that I can not pay for my own sins nor make amends but all I can do and should do is first believe in the person of Jesus as the son of God, Messiah and second believe in all that God has done in and through Jesus. So believing in Jesus is an ongoing lifestyle. It is following Jesus teachings everyday and struggling to live by faith day by day. We need to examine our hearts this weekend, what kind of faith do we have in Jesus? Ask yourself, do you really believe in Jesus as the absolute way, truth and life? Do you absolutely believe that he is the resurrection and the life as he has claimed? Do you believe that Jesus is the BEST expression of God’s love for you? If so, Am I willing to obey his teachings even when they run against the grain of the world and even when it means denying my sinful nature because he is my Lord and my savior?

 

Am I willing to obey his teachings even when they run against the grain of the world and even when it means denying my sinful nature because he is my Lord and Savior?

 

Jesus said anyone who comes after me must deny himself, pick up his cross and follow me…is this kind of faith we have when we say “I believe in Jesus” “I accept Jesus”, “I honor Jesus” ?Jesus sacrificed himself so that we could have eternal life…Eternal life that in truth is a relationship with God the Father and the son for all eternity…and not just eternal life but abundant life that will growth in the knowledge of God. John17:3 “and this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent”. Eternal life is truly what our souls were meant to have from the very beginning…God wants to restore us through faith in his son Jesus so that we can have eternal life, a relationship with him and a quality of fruitful, abundant and spiritual life!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

 

We are blessed to be here to celebrate Easter which to us means remembering Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the life that he gave so that we may live. But Easter is also more than just remembering what Jesus has done for us but it should be a time where we can participate in it, a time of recommitment to live a life for him and for his glory. Throughout this Easter conference I want to invite you to deeply meditate on the love of God and may his love dwell in your heart. Amen

 

 

Easter Sunday Message

 



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I am the resurrection and the life

John 11:17-44 

Key verse: 25-26

 

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”‘

 

The passage we are studying today has to deal with the power of death and the power of the resurrection. We see the power of death in how Lazarus got sick and the effect it caused. And we see the power of the resurrection when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Before we get into the passage, it would be good to briefly look at what happened before, what happened before Jesus came to the town to raise Lazarus from the dead. There was a small family of three. Martha, Mary and Lazarus. They were a small but beautiful family. One day Lazarus got really sick. So what did the sisters do? They sent word to Jesus so he could come and heal their brother. Jesus had spent much time with this family and loved them. So surely he would come and heal Lazarus. But Jesus did not come and heal Lazarus. When he heard the Lazarus was sick he stayed where he was two more days. Now this seems strange. I think if you look at the ESV it’s a little more clear. In verses 5-6 it says “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” So it seems that it is actually out of his love for them that he stayed. But why? If Jesus loved them then why would he stay where he was two more days? It seems odd doesn’t it? Why would Jesus do something like this if he really loved them? It is because Jesus wanted to teach them something. He wanted to teach them and his disciples about resurrection faith. And the only way he could do that is not by simply going and healing Lazarus but by raising him from the dead. Only then could they really see that death has no power over the believer and that they need to have resurrection faith and live a resurrection life. I will explain what resurrection faith is later on in this message. Before I do I want to talk a bit about death.  

The problem with people now-a-days is that we have a big struggle with death. It is our greatest enemy. When people live under the power of death, there is no hope. We see the affects of death all around us. The evidence of death working even in the healthiest of human beings is signs such as, despair, hopelessness, sorrow, depression, worry, fear etc.,. As long as a person experiences these in his or her life, then undoubtedly death has its fangs buried deep in his or her heart. People are hopeless when they are overwhelmed with school or with work or when their struggles seem to be too much to bear. People worry about passing their classes or worry when they have been in school for too long and their parents wonder when they are going to graduate. Many people fear the future and the unknown. People despair when they lose their job. These symptoms seem normal for people to go through, natural even. However, the thing about these symptoms is that they are not just what humans go through in their day to day lives. People are so used to struggling with stress or worry or fear or doubt that for them it becomes a natural part of life. ­­­These symptoms seem to be normal for people, nothing to really worry about, nothing out of the ordinary. But the truth is that these are the symptoms of death. Nobody really thinks about that, but the reason we struggle with these things in our day to day lives is not because these things are just natural for us, it’s actually the result of death.  

But where did death come from? Death resulted from the fall of Adam. As we learn in Genesis chapter 3, when sin entered the world through the disobedience of Adam and eve, death also came. And man since that point had been cursed with death and with its symptoms. And the greatest symptom of the fall of man is death itself. Everybody dies. It’s crystal clear. Nobody lasts forever. But dying is not just some part of life. It’s not just that thing that happens to all people after they have lived life on earth. This is a result of sin, from the fall of man. When God made man he did not make man to just die. Man was never supposed to die in the first place. Man was also not made to live under the power of death. In 1 Corinthians 15:25-26 it says “For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” Let me read it again to explain it a little. “For he” meaning Christ “must reign until he” meaning God “has put all his enemies under his feet” meaning Christ feet. “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” So clearly from this verse we see that death is an enemy of God and is also our enemy. So many people fear death and try to avoid it so much. They try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat correctly. They take medicine when they are sick. This life for many people seems to be the only life they have. So before they die, they try to make this life meaningful and purposeful before they die.  It’s really sad. The result of death really destroyed Gods great desire for us. So really people struggle with death all the time. This is a serious problem that needed to be solved and dealt with. Thankfully though, Jesus does deal with it as we will see in this passage.  

Let’s read verses 17-19. “On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.” In the beginning of this passage we see Jesus arriving at the village. Lazarus had already been dead for four days. So everybody in the town is mourning. Martha and Mary were at their home with many Jews who had come to comfort them and to mourn with them. In this passage when Jesus comes to the scene, death had already come and affected people. Everybody was in mourning. There was no hope. Usually when Jesus comes to a town, the town becomes not just hopeful but full of life. People start shouting and rejoicing. People crowd around him and wanna hear his words. But today, there was none of that. The stench of death was everywhere and overwhelming. SO when Martha heard that Jesus had come, she did indeed come to see him. But she did not come with a cheerful attitude or to ask Jesus how she can serve him. So how did she come to Jesus? Look at verse 21-22. “When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. ‘Lord’, Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.’” When Martha came to Jesus, clearly the power of death had already taken over her heart. She was not hopeful. Look at the first thing she said to Jesus. “Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died.” Through her words, Martha expressed all the emotions that were warring in her heart. When she said: “Lord, if you had been here” she actually meant: “You should have been here. We sent for you several days ago and you did not come. Why did you not come?” When she said “my brother would not have died” she meant that this horrible tragedy could have been avoided had you simply come. Martha was really in bad shape. Before, she knew with all her heart that Jesus loved her and her family. That’s why she sent for Jesus in the first place. But now she was struggling to believe that Jesus loved her. When she said, “I know that even now God will give you what you ask” what she meant was: “But I have not lost my faith in you. I still believe you are God’s chosen one.” This is a confession of faith being made by Martha. But even this statement is not really hopeful. Yes she still believes he is the chosen one and believes in his power, but she now doubts Gods love. This is a result of death. Death causes us to doubt Gods love. Can you relate to this? Have you ever asked God to help you overcome something or asked God for help with something and then God does not answer you the way you thought he would? Have you ever asked God to do something on your behalf, something that seemed good and worthy of God’s attention, but because God delayed in answering your prayer or did not answer in time, you then started to struggle to know if God loved you? Have you ever been so oppressed by death’s power that you did not know if Jesus loved you? That God still loved you? Have you ever gone through something challenging and difficult, like Martha did, wondering if God still loved you?

Maybe you did not struggle to believe God loved you but have you ever been in a situation where you were hopeless? Have you ever been in despair? Have you ever fallen to a sin that personally seemed great to you and then felt a huge weight of condemnation come in your shoulders? Have you ever worried so much about something that you saw no hope? Have you ever been overwhelmed by these things, completely defeated by them? This is how Martha was. This is the state Jesus finds her in. This is where a lot of people are at. Many people are completely defeated by death. They have no hope of victory, no light at the end of the tunnel. I believe that even you and I have at one time or another found ourselves in this exact same place Martha was. So her struggle is not so different or strange to us. We can understand where she is coming from, what she is going through.

Clearly based on Martha’s words, death’s attack had taking its toll. Jesus knew this and wanted to give her some words of encouragement. So what did Jesus say? Let’s read verse 23, “Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.”’ Jesus said that her brother will rise again. When Jesus said this Jesus wanted to plant in Martha’s heart the most glorious and most powerful of Christian hopes- the hope that death cannot win this fight, that death has already lost this fight, and that death will give way to life. The situation is not hopeless. There is hope, there is still a chance. Don’t give up. That’s what these words are saying. These are remarkable words that should have lifted Martha’s spirit and filled her with hope. She should have begun rejoicing. She should have believed him. But she does not.  How does she respond? Read verse 24. “Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” What’s going on here? Martha shares something about how Lazarus will rise on the last day. Martha is simple referring to how in the future; there will be a day when all the dead will rise again. All the believers will rise and be given new bodies to enter into the kingdom of God. Now, while this is a great thing to believe in, this is not what Jesus was talking about now. It seems that Mary believed her brother would rise but she did not think it’s possible for him to rise right then and there. Her faith could not grasp that yet. She did not think this was possible.

So what does Jesus say next? Read verses 25-26. “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ These are powerful words. What does Jesus mean when he said I am the resurrection and the life? He is saying that he is not just a healer or a good teacher. He is much more than that. So many people reduce Jesus to just a healer, just a teacher, and a good person. But Jesus is much more than just these things. Jesus has authority over life and over death. If Jesus wants to raise someone, he can do it right then and there. Jesus is God. He has authority over all life and death. Not only can Jesus raise the dead, but he also is stronger than the power of death. Death is a powerful foe that nobody has been able to beat before. Since the fall of man, people have faced death and have lossed each time. Nobody up this point has ever beaten death. But When Jesus comes, death cowers on the corner. Death is not as powerful as he looks when Jesus is there. Where Jesus is, death has no power. Jesus was teaching Martha one of the most powerful teachings of all time. Jesus is Life. He is Resurection. Where Jesus is, death is tame and harmless and can no longer rule over us. Martha should understand, and we should understand also, that where Jesus is, there is no need for sorrow- ever, there is no need for despair- ever, there is no need for fear- ever. There is only need for faith in Jesus and hope in Jesus, for where Jesus is, sickness turns to health, and where Jesus is, death turns to life. Where Jesus is fear turns to courage, uncertainty turns to confidence, despair turns into joyous song singing and dancing, doubt turns into belief. This way of living, living without fear or worry or sorrow, can be called resurrection faith or resurrection life. This is what Jesus wanted to teach her. To not live under the power of death, living in worry, sorrow and fear. Jesus wanted Martha to see that there is no need to fear, or worry or anything. Because Jesus is here. In the same way, those who have put their hope in Jesus do not need to fear or worry or despair about what is going on around them. Because the power of death is beaten. Where Jesus is, the power of death loses. And if Jesus Christ is in my life and if I have put my hope in Jesus Christ, death will lose its powerful grip over me. This does not mean that I will never struggle with fear and doubt and all the other symptoms. But it does mean that I no longer have to be ruled over by them. Their power is diminished because of Jesus. Here are some examples of how this would look like. If I lose my job, I can believe that God is fully able to provide another. If I am worried about school and what my grades will be, I need not despair because even if I fail, God still loves me and he is fully able to provide me with another opportunity so I can always try again. I do not need to worry about the future because I know God has control over all things. When the power of death is beaten in an individual, they can overcome anything and do anything.

So how should Martha have responded to Jesus words? She should have responded with something like this. “Lord, see! My anxiety has stopped, and I am calm again. See! My fear is gone, and I have faith. See! My sorrow has subsided, and I am beginning to rejoice. My brother is not dead, though he is dead, he is alive because of you. If you choose to raise him, he will rise even now. If you choose not to raise him, he is still alive in you and with you.” Martha did not need to despair about her brother at all. When Jesus told Martha that he is the resurrection and the life, Martha should have believed that Jesus can indeed raise her brother. He can do it because he not only has authority to resurrect Lazarus and give him life but he is resurrection and life!

How did Martha respond to this? Let’s read verse 27. “Yes, Lord,’ she told him, ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.’”  Martha still did not understand what Jesus was talking about. When she said this, what she actually meant was: “I am still confused about this death and Life and resurrection thing. But there is something I can never be confused about, which is most important to me, that you, oh Lord, are the Lord, the Christ, the Son of God.” Martha here made a confession of faith. This is good for her to make, but we can see that she is still struggling to believe what Jesus is telling her, especially when you compare this verse with the rest of the passage. So, although she is still struggling to believe what Jesus told her, she leaves to go get her sister Mary.  Let’s read verses 28-32. “And after she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. ‘The teacher is here,’ she said, ‘and is asking for you.’ When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, ‘Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died.”’ So Mary comes and when she comes she gives Jesus the same greeting Martha had given, the same greeting of hopelessness and sorrow. It seems that death had taken its toll on her as well. She is also in despair. Mary was followed by the crowd of Jews that had been mourning with her. An atmosphere of sorrow and of hopelessness followed her when she left the house. It’s almost like the atmosphere of death would just not give up even for a moment. In verses 33-35 it says “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. ‘Where have you laid him?’ he asked. ‘Come and see, Lord,’ they replied. Jesus wept.” When Jesus saw this sight, the bible says he was deeply moved in his spirit and troubled. In the ESV it says he was greatly troubled. There are not many times where the bible says Jesus is troubled. So this is very important and we should pay attention to it. Jesus was troubled because he saw how greatly oppressed these people were by death. He saw how they were greatly affected by the fall of man, which brought death into their lives. They were so overwhelmed by death that they had no chance of victory. They had no glimpse of light in their dark situation. It hurt and upset Jesus so much to see this that he wept. He wept for them, for what they were struggling with. Jesus saw Mary and the Jews who followed her all overcome by the power of death. They were powerless against death.

So Jesus asks where the tomb is and is lead there. He wanted to end this miserable atmosphere of death and misery. It was time for death to be revealed for what it really is next to Jesus. It was time for life to reign in the hearts of these people. Let’s read verses 38-40. “Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. ‘Take away the stone,’ he said. ‘But, Lord,’ said Martha, the sister of the dead man, ‘by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Once they get to the tomb Jesus asks for the stone to be removed. Martha however objects to this. She says that by now, Lazarus has a bad odor. It’s really difficult for Martha to overcome her doubt. Death, it seems, is trying one last to time to say something before Jesus does a miracle. How does Jesus respond to this? Read Verse 40. “Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory God?’”  Jesus wanted her and everyone to take a step of faith in that moment. It did not seem possible for Lazarus to come back from the dead. Jesus knew that these people did not believe that this was possible. But they needed to trust Jesus’ words and take a step of faith. In the same way, in order for death to be overcome, we need to take a step of faith and believe the word of God and the promises of God. We have worries and fears and doubts. These things will scream in our ears to not take a step of faith. But once we take that step of faith, we too can see the glory of God and have hope and joy and peace in all circumstances. We will be able to overcome our fears. We will be able to see God do wonderful things in our lives and in the lives of others. We will see him work miracles. We have to trust in Jesus words, in the word of God and when the enemy starts speaking to you, show the enemy the promises of God and stand on those promises.

Look at verses 41-44. “So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you have sent me.’ When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” After the Jews removed the stone, Jesus gives a prayer to God. He lifts up a prayer of thanksgiving. He is thankful because through this sign all would see that he is the messiah and that he has power over death, that he is the resurrection and the life. After this prayer Jesus calls out to Lazarus, commanding him to come out. And the most wonderful thing is he does! A man who was dead and buried came out walking and breathing! How is this possible?! It’s possible because Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Jesus has authority over death. Death has to obey him. And after Lazarus is raised from the dead, Jesus says to take off the grave cloths and let him go. He says this because he is free now. He has no fear of death now. Death no longer has mastery over him. He is free. People now-a-days wear a shroud of death and sin. The only way for this shroud to be removed is by Jesus, who is the resurrection and the life. We need to have resurrection and life in our lives.

This is the great story of how Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave. Now something really important must be said at this point. It is true that Lazarus was raised from the dead, however like with all people, he eventually grew old and eventually died. So what does this mean? His resurrection that day was not a promise to all human beings. Meaning that it is not promised that we will be resurrected in the same fashion that he was resurrected. Rather, his resurrection was the demonstration of the declining power of death and the mounting power of life for all those whose faith is in Jesus. You see it was Jesus’ own resurrection that gives us hope that death no longer holds those who believe. It is Jesus resurrection that enables us to have victory over death. It’s Jesus resurrection that enables us to live a life of resurrection faith, a life where we can have victory over sorrow and fear and doubt. And you know it’s not just sorrow, fear and doubt. It’s not just victory over death but also victory over sin too. Think about it. Because of Jesus resurrection, not only do we have victory over the symptoms of death and death itself, but we also have victory over sin. Sin no longer controls us; it can’t make us do what it wants us to do. Some people think that their sin is too strong to overcome, it’s too much. But that is not true! Sin no longer has mastery over the believer, it cannot control us anymore. In Romans 8:2 it says “For the law of the spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus form the law of sin and death” It says for the law… of the spirit of life… HAS SET YOU FREE… IN CHRIST JESUS… from the law of sin and death. Christ Jesus has set you free! You are free person in Christ Jesus. Death and sin no longer no longer control you and it’ all because Jesus rose from the dead. Now maybe you might be thinking “This sounds great. I am free in Christ Jesus. But is there anything I need to do o my part, to have this victory?” Well, there is one thing you need to do. Look at verse 25-26 again. “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Really this is the only thing we can do and it’s the only thing required of us. Just believe. Believe that Jesus resurrection gives you power to overcome death and sin. Believe that there’s nothing you can do to gain this victory yourselves, because Jesus already gives us the victory. Believe that death and sin are no longer stronger than the spirit of God who now dwells inside of you. Believe that it is possible for you to overcome your deepest and most challenging and most burdensome struggles because Jesus rose from the dead and the same power that raised Christ from the grave now lives in you. So the question to be answered is …”Do you believe this?” Don’t answer this right away. Think about it. Do you real believe this? We need to search our hearts to see if we really do believe this. If you search your heart and you discover that you do not believe it, then will you take a step of faith today and believe it? As we leave here today and go back to our homes, let’s not go back home believing the same things we believed when we walked in. Let’ go home believing that Jesus is the resurrection and the life and that death and sin no longer rule over us. Amen

 

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