Summary: Why do we need to go beyond the resurrection in order to fulfill His purpose for our lives?
Iliff and Saltillo UM Churches
Dr. Marilyn S. Murphree
April 18, 2004
“Going Beyond the Resurrection”
INTRODUCTION: What do we do when the Lenten and Easter Season is over and we have eaten all of the jelly beans and peeled the last colored Easter egg? We have attended various Lenten and Holy Week services and have thought about the cross and the resurrection. Do we settle back into our old routines saying “that’s over for another year?” As we searched our hearts during the weeks leading up to Easter have we made some lasting changes that will strengthen our Christian experience?
I have entitled today’s message, “Going Beyond the Resurrection.” We cannot stay at the foot of the cross or even at the empty tomb. We must go beyond the resurrection in the weeks ahead of us to fulfill Christ’s mission in the world.
Today’s scripture reinforces His commission to go and do. The revelation of Jesus Christ came to John while he was on the Isle of Patmos. He addresses it to seven specific churches of that time, but these churches are representative of churches in all ages. He speaks to us today as well. How do we know this? “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy. Blessed are those who hear it and take it to heart” (v. 3). The order in which these churches are listed is the natural ancient travel route beginning at Ephesus and ending at Laodicia. The usual greeting is given to the churches. “Grace,” and “Peace.”
“Grace” represents a traditional Greek greeting and “Peace” a traditional Hebrew greeting. The number 7 is symbolic of God’s completeness. In these introductory verses there is a Trinitarian viewpoint.
(1). First he speaks of God, the Father, in verse 4. “Grace and peace to you from him who IS and who WAS and who IS TO COME.” This speaks of the unchangeable God--the Creator.
(2) The Holy Spirit-- “From the seven spirits before his throne.” This speaks of the 7 fold nature of the Holy Spirit in the diversity and operation of the Spirit. (See Isaiah 11:2)--the Spirit of the Lord, wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge, fear of the Lord.
(3) Jesus--”and from Jesus Christ who is the:
1. faithful witness--His credibility is proved by his earthly obedience in the past.
2. firstborn from the dead--the first of a great company that will follow--first in time to be raised from the dead.
3. ruler of the kings of the earth.
This doxology gives us three indications of His saving work. Let’s see how verses 5 and 6 speak to us this morning.
1. He LOVES Us: The mention of the person of Christ leads John to a burst of praise to His Savior. “To him who loves us...be glory and power.” In the PRESENT, Christ loves us through all of our immediate distresses. John is convinced that in spite of all we go through in our daily lives, Christ LOVES us right now with an everlasting love. He says that believers experience His CONTINUAL care.
In the PAST Christ’s love was revealed in his atoning death on the cross. In the FUTURE He is coming again. He is preparing a place for us. He has shown us that He loves us continually and constantly. Hebrews 13:8 tells us “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
2. He Freed Us From Our Sins: On the cross He purchased our release from the captivity of sin. it is an ACCOMPLISHED fact. The finished work of Christ as the releaser from the penalty and power of sin should cause us to praise Him too. He has the ability to transform individual lives through His blood. Through His death on the cross, He defeated the devil. Those who follow Him in the battle against the devil share in his victory. Rev. 12:11 says “[we overcome] by the blood of the lamb and the word of [our] testimony.” Why is this important today? Scripture tells us that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). He took care of the sin problem when he died on the cross. He has freed us from our sins once for all in his sacrificial death.
A person apart from Jesus and His work on the cross is in bondage, chained to his sin problem. But Jesus not only releases us from the PENALTY of sin which is physical, spiritual and eternal but also from the POWER of sin which dominates us making us weak and ineffective. He has the ability to do this for us.
3. Made Us to be a Kingdom and Priests: Why did he do this? He did it so that we could serve His God and Father.
What does it mean to be made a KINGDOM? A kingdom is a place of rule. He refers to believers as a KINGDOM and PRIESTS. Kings are able to govern their own spirits, to conquer satan’s power. Priests have access to God enabling them to enter the holiest of holies.