Summary: This sermons focuses on how what we believe, whether it is true or now, will dictate how we act.
Easter 2009: Our Belief Dictate Our Action
I want to say to each of you this morning, Happy Easter! This is the time of year when we celebrate life. The trees and flowers shake off their slumber and the grass wake up. The birds begin to sing again and there is a smell of spring in the air. But this is also the time when we celebrate the “waking up” of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When Christ rose from what believed to be His last slumber, not only had His life changed, but the lives of all those who knew Him and would eventually accept Him, including each of us.
When Christ died on the cross everyone thought that His life was over. They believed in their hearts that what they had witnessed and experienced for those three years was over and there was nothing else for them to do. They did not understand that their lives was about to change drastically forever. But what they understood, they believed and what they believed they acted on. You see, whatever we believe will dictate our actions. Let me give you a few examples. This weekend we went to see the movie “Knowing.” The main character in the movie was traumatized after his wife died and he lost his belief in almost anything. He took the stance that everything that happened did so by chance and with his belief he stated that there was no way to prove that heaven existed. Well, he acted on what he believed. As the story moved along, as he begin to see some things (I do not want to ruin it for those of you planning to see it), as his belief changed his actions changed also. Think about some of the things you have done in your life. How many times have you acted based on something you believed, even if what you believed was actually proven to be wrong? You see, at this point it is not always about the truth, but it is always about the belief. This is what we find when we read the story of Christ’s resurrection. The disciples believed He was gone forever, an untruth, and yet even though this was not true, this is how they acted. So this morning I want to ask you to put aside all of your religious thinking and focus on the one real question: “Did Christ truly rise from the dead?” Whatever you believe in response to the question, regardless of what you may say outwardly, you actions will line up accordingly.
Have you ever thought about where would we be today if the disciples had been right? Where would we be if the report by the Roman guards were right when they, under instruction (Matthew 28), reported that His disciples had stolen the body? (There are Jews today who believe the disciples stole Christ’s body.) If Christ had not risen from the grave, everything we believe – everything we practice – would be a lie because we believe that through his death and resurrection, He conquered sin and death and is now sitting on the right hand of God interceding for us. If we do not really believe He rose from the dead then we can’t believe He is interceding for us!
The thief was the first to learn that Christ was Lord and that His life didn’t end with His crucifixion. He was saved on the cross; he believed. Everyone else – the disciples, His mother and all the other followers – had to wait to find out. Yet they were not really waiting because they didn’t think He would rise. Again, they acted on what they believed and what they believed was that Christ was dead. So let’s consider the question of if they would have responded differently if they knew that in three days Christ was going to rise from the grave. Put yourself in their shoes and think of your response if you thought He was gone forever or if you knew in three days you would see Him again. Let’s start with enemy #1, Satan.
I. They Responded According To What They Believed
Satan: It may be easier for some of you to picture yourselves in his shoes than others, but I want all of you to try. Imagine that you, as Satan, are sitting on your throne in hell. You have just returned from witnessing and celebrating the death of your greatest enemy – Christ. You had won; Christ was gone and now you can get back to doing what you do best, leading men away from God. As you remember all of the things that Christ did to hinder you, now you are able to really focus on your work – getting even with God. Your greatest accomplishment ever was killing the man who thought Himself to be the Son of God. You had tried to get Him when He was a child and failed, but you had Him now. As you sit there, you also reflect on the time you tempted Him and failed. You also remember all of the people who had stopped believing in God because of how you were using the religious leaders whom Jesus was able to turn back to God – but in the end, you won. In all of your thinking, you would be thinking that this was a done deal – Christ was forever out of your hair. Believing this you began to make plans for a future where Christ did not exist and His disciples were so afraid that they could do little to hinder your plans. In your mind killing Christ was the only way to ensure that your kingdom would continue to exist and believing this, you acted accordingly. Feel the smile on your face as you’re thinking about your victory. Christ is dead and there is nothing more to be done. Right now you are a very happy camper until there is a knock at the door.