Sermons

Summary: A message about the source of the Resurrection

When I became a Born-Again Christian, my family was attending a traditional orthodox church. I really wanted to understand the power of the resurrection. Fifty plus years later, I continue longing to "know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death" (Phil 3:10).

As a young Christian, I became involved in a Pentecostal Church. I thought that their particular behavior was part of a normal Christian life and that all true Christians behaved that way. I desired to experience the resurrection power of the "Holy Ghost" they spoke of because I thought this "power" was some supernatural force given to "zap" people and knock them over.

I still see many today who continue to seek God's power in the same way - as a "thing" or a "force" that can be used for their own needs and wants. But there is a serious problem with this thinking.

*The "power" of the resurrection isn't a "thing" or some "force"— it is LOVE! It was love that exploded Jesus out of the tomb! It was love that sent Jesus into the world!

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 ESV)

God loves you so much that He sent Jesus to die for you. It is His love that holds the universe together and will remain when everything else passes away (Luke 21:33).

"And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Col 1:17 ESV)

It's far easier for many to understand the power of the resurrection as a kind of physical might or an explosive force such as dynamite. Many want that kind of power in their lives because they want to defeat their problems. They want the power to blow away and destroy those things they are afraid of or command 'spirits' to leave them alone.

When you realize that the power of the resurrection is love and not some "thing" you can use as a tool, you discover the predicament of learning how to appropriate it. It's a lot easier to destroy than it is to love.

*Loving is the hardest task of all, and you can't do it on your own. In fact, you can't even love God on your own. You have to ask Jesus to give you the love to love Him back.

Of all the 613 laws in the Old Testament, Jesus said that all of them hung on just two commandments. When asked by a Pharisee, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?," Jesus reminded Him of the first, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment" (Matt 22:37-38 ESV).

It is easy for us in the natural realm to understand the difference between right and wrong when it is clearly marked before us, such as a traffic sign. We drive down the street, and when we see a stop sign, we stop because it says to stop! If a line is drawn in front of us that we are not supposed to cross, we don't cross it. Those are things we can do because they are clearly defined.

When Jesus says we are supposed to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, we have a real predicament on our hands because we don't have clearly defined signs in front of us.

Jesus then gave the second law: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets." (Matt 22:38-40 ESV).

*Jesus was saying that loving your neighbor as yourself is the same as loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength!

Now comes the real test: How are you supposed to love your neighbor when you can't stand yourself? You may live in defeat; you may even hate yourself. Many go to 12-Step programs three days a week and help make psychotherapists rich by dealing with the garbage inside them. Yet, they don't deal with the real problems inside because they can't handle the reality of who is to blame. Their lives stay miserable. They see themselves as useless. You can't love your neighbor if you don't know how to love yourself.

*You can only learn to love yourself and love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength by giving up and giving in to your Creator by forgiving yourself and others.

*You must say to Jesus, "I can't love You on my own. I'm asking You to give me the love I need so I can love You back."

Each time you do that, you die to self because you have come to understand that there is nothing within you apart from Jesus that can get you to the place you need to be.

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