Summary: As believers, we can fearlessly “practice the resurrection.”
Sermon Objective: As believers, we can fearlessly “practice the resurrection.”
CHRIST HAS RISEN!
HE HAS RISEN INDEED!!!!
May I ask you to read the Apostle’s Creed with me? It will not be on the screens. I would ask you to turn with me to in the hymnal to #8.
The Apostle’s Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth,
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried.
He descended into Hades.
The third day He arose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit;
the holy Church universal;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.
In Tewin England’s St. Peter’s churchyard stands a great four-trunked tree growing out of a grave. Its presence there is a constant reminder of resurrection for residents in the community. The grave from which it grows is that of the 18th century’s Lady Anne Grimston.
Lady Anne Grimston did not believe in life after death. When she lay dying in her palatial home, she said to a friend, "I shall live again as surely as a tree will grow from my body."
She was buried in a marble tomb. The grave was marked by a large marble slab, and surrounded by an iron railing. Years later the marble slab was found to be moved a little. Then it cracked, and through the crack a small tree grew.
The tree continued to grow; tilting the stone & breaking the marble masonry until today it has surrounded the tomb with its roots, and has torn the railing out of the ground with its massive trunks. The tree at Lady Anne Grimston's grave is one of the largest in England.
It would appear that God Almighty took her challenge.
Speculation about the resurrection abounds. Lady Grimston’s unbelief is not unique or novel.
In Revelation 1:12-18 Jesus is described by John in His post-resurrection brilliance. However, Jesus also describes Himself in the very same passage. There are five “words” he gives that help us grasp the power and potential of His resurrection.
12I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13and among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
17When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
1. I AM THE FIRST AND THE LAST
“The church is the community that God has set at the center of the world to keep the world centered.” (Eugene Petersen, “Living the Resurrection.”). John begins his letter to the church by helping them find that “center” in none other than the Resurrected Christ!
To be a centered church, we must be defined by that central truth.
The ailments of humankind spawn from its rejection of the resurrected Christ. The solutions to war, poverty, suffering and injustice would be on the road to recovery if all inhabitants of the earth could declare with the church that:
CHRIST HAS RISEN!
HE HAS RISEN INDEED!!!!
The title "The First and the Last," belongs to God and is used twice in Isaiah; 44:6 and 48:12. It means that YHWH alone is God, the absolute Lord of history and the Creator. By referencing it to Himself, Jesus telling us that he is divine.
The primacy of Jesus – being first and last – segues into the deeper truths of His person which he discloses here.
1. I am the First and the Last
2. I AM THE LIVING ONE
ONLY A GOD WHO LIVES BEYOND THE THREAT OF DEATH CAN OFFER LIFE EVERLASTING.
Are you familiar with the name Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin.
During his day he was as powerful a man as there was on earth. A Russian Communist leader he took part in the Bolshevik Revolution 1917, was editor of the Soviet newspaper Pravda (which by the way means truth), and was a full member of the Politburo. His works on economics and political science are still read today.