Summary: Because Jesus has risen from the dead, we can be people who experience the power of the resurrection!
APRIL 7, 2002
INTRODUCTION: The Call to Worship had just been pronounced starting Easter Sunday Morning service in an East Texas church. The choir started its processional, singing "Up from the Grave He Arose" as they marched in perfect step down the center aisle to the front of the church. The last lady was wearing shoes with very slender heels. Without a thought for her fancy heels, she marched toward the grating that covered that hot air register in the middle of the aisle. Suddenly the heel of one shoe sank into the hole in the register grate. In a flash she realized her predicament. Not wishing to hold up the whole processional, without missing a step, she slipped her foot out of her shoe and continued marching down the aisle. There wasn’t a hitch. The processional moved with clock-like precision. The first man after her spotted the situation and without losing a step, reached down and pulled up her shoe, but the entire grate came with it! Surprised, but still singing, the man kept on going down the aisle, holding in his hand the grate with the shoe attached. Everything still moved like clockwork. Still in tune and still in step, the next man in line stepped into the open register and disappeared from sight. The service took on a special meaning that Sunday, for just as the choir ended with "Allelujah! Christ arose!" a voice was heard under the church shouting..."I hope all of you are out of the way ’cause I’m coming out now!" The little girl closest to the aisle shouted, "Come on, Jesus! We’ll stay out of the way."
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Our text this morning speaks to us of the power of community created by the risen Christ! It explains to us the difference the resurrection can make in the life of one who accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is the reality of the power of God revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. And Just like the little girl in the story, we must shout, “Come on Jesus! We’ll stay out of the way.” We actually, we just need to shout, “Come on Jesus! Change us by the power of your resurrection!”
THESIS SENTENCE: Because Jesus has risen from the dead, we can be people who experience the power of the resurrection!
SO WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE TO BE THE PEOPLE OF THE RESURRECTED JESUS CHRIST?
I. A PEOPLE OF EXPERIENCED PEACE (VV. 19 & 21)
A. Peace is the immediate need
1. The disciples had failed! They were supposed to be the ones walking confidently out into the world, full of the Holy Spirit, announcing the Easter triumph of God. Had Jesus not foretold what would happen, did they not know that He would rise from the dead, had they not heard??
2. Look at the posture of the disciples. “The doors are locked for fear of the Jews, ... (vv. 19)” They were hunkered down, cowering, hoping that nobody in town will know that they are there. TOM LONG STATES THAT THIS IS A CHURCH AT ITS WORST “SCARRED, DISHEARTENED, AND DEFENSIVE.”
3. What does the church look like today: around the world, in America, and here at CHWC?
4. Do we look or act like a church that is living in the power of the Resurrection?
B. Peace is the word spoken
1. “Peace be with you.” What does it mean? How would you have expected Jesus to respond to those who deserted Him in His most painful moments of life? To those who had not paid attention to His words? Jesus didn’t come with a rebuke or to scold!!!!!!!!!! HE DID NOT FEEL THE NEED TO DEAL WITH PAST ACTIONS, HE WAS CONCERNED WITH THE DAY AT HAND!!
2. “Peace be with you.” What does it mean? Was Jesus speaking an accustomed greeting? Was this just a Judaen “Howdy?” Why these words? Jesus spoke words of absolution! Jesus spoke words of forgiveness!! Jesus spoke words of Healing!!
C. What is our posture, where does Jesus find us?
1. Are we enjoying the peace that Christ offers or are we timid and afraid, consumed by our failures, believing that if we met Jesus today, He would chew us up one side and then down the other? Are we locked behind closed doors thinking that Jesus can’t find us??
2. WE ARE TO BE A PEOPLE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED HIS PEACE!! A peace that can only come by the PRESENCE of Jesus Himself in our midst. Jesus makes all the difference in the world. He offer Peace in the midst of all the fears of life!!!!
ILLUSTRATION: William Willimon writes, “If you want to see us, stripped of our sacred trappings, our pretenses peeled away, then look here in this twentieth chapter of John -- a pitiful huddle of timid souls hanging on to one another behind our locked doors. Without the presence, the presence which makes our human gatherings the church of God, this is about all we are. And the good news is that it was to This church, which was hardly church at all, that the living Christ came saying, “PEACE BE WITH YOU.” Into this busy, buzzing void, there was a voice, a presence, a peace not of our devising. You might have thought the Christ would come like the Methodist bishops. When a church has failed to pay its full apportionment’s from the general church, they send down the District Superintendent to lean on them saying, “Shame on you all!! You call yourselves a Church!!” No. The Risen Christ comes and he says, “Peace be with you,” showing them his pierced hands and feet. Then, He says again, in case we failed to get the point, “Peace be with you.”