Summary: Christianity is not merely a religion, not just a "crutch" for the weak, not merely an organization asking for money, it is a resurrection! Life from the dead! New Life!
Let’s open our Bibles this morning to John chapter 5. I want to tell you of a wonderful thing that Jody and I watched on YouTube the other day. A middle aged man had died, probably from a heart attack, and medical personnel were working on him, all of this was being videotaped, they were literally pounding on his chest, giving CPR, and doing all they could to revive him. But he was dead, clearly dead, no doubt about it, and the medical personnel gave up. And then it showed as a man came into the room and he went over to the man and knelt by him and simply prayed for the man to live. And what happened next would have shocked you as it did us; this man came back to life as clear as can be, and he’s alive today and going around to churches sharing his testimony of how he was dead and now he is alive, and giving glory to God for that.
“Let’s pray: Our Father in heaven, it is to you we come this morning, it is to You we look, it is to You we plead that you would come upon Your church, that You would raise your church oh God, that you would make us live, that You would make us to be a God-saturated church, a church filled with Your glory oh God. Please get our attention off of man and methodologies and strategies, and instead our Father please direct us to Jesus, help us fix our eyes on Jesus, Who is the glory of God and through whom we have forgiveness of sins, and in whom we live forever. In the matchless name of Jesus’, Amen!”
If you were to answer the question this morning, “what is Christianity”, what would you say? Many people would say that it is a religion, like Islam or Judaism, etc. or some would say it is a “crutch” for those who are not strong enough to make it through life on their own, or some would say it is a list of do’s and don’ts, a set of rules; others would say it’s no fun, or a bunch of hooey, a way to get my money. But all of these entirely miss the boat as to what Christianity really is.
And the text we have before us this morning tells us that Christianity is really a resurrection; it is life from the dead, it is new life. Not a religion, but rather a resurrection. That’s what Christianity is; it is looking at my past life of unbelief and sin, and understanding that I was dead, literally a spiritual corpse. I was dead in my sins and I was dead to God. And it’s understanding that now, through faith in Jesus Christ I am actually raised from the dead, I am alive, I’m living now. That’s what Christianity really is. It’s life from the dead.
Well in the passage before us this morning, Jesus heals a man who was an invalid for 38 years, and the Jews persecuted Him because He healed Him on the Sabbath, and last week we saw that Jesus gives 7 statements that prove His Lordship, and His right to heal people, and to do with all people whatever He wants, whenever He wants, on whatever day of the week He wants, because He is Lord. Let’s review those from last week: First proof: Jesus is equal with the Father (verse 16-18). 2: He does what the Father does (verse 17). 3: He has power over life and death (verse 21). 4: He is Judge of all the earth (verses 22-23). 5: He is in control of every person’s destiny (verses 21-24). 6: He has life in Himself (verse 26). 7: He will raise every person from the dead at the end of the world (verses 28-30). In other words, Jesus is Lord!
Today we’re going to look a little closer at verses 24-30 together, because what we see here is two resurrections. Note them as we read together:
John 5:24-30 (NIV)
24 "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
25 I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. 28 "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out--those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.