Summary: Paul said he wanted to know the "power of Christ’s Resurrection." The resurrection power of Christ is not only available to us when Christ returns, but is available to us here and now.
THE RESURRECTION POWER OF CHRIST
(Inspired by Max Lacado’s book: He Still Moves Stones)
A. (SHOW NEWS CLIP ABOUT "THE LOST TOMB OF CHRIST")
Michael Medved is right, once again Christianity and our belief in Jesus as the Christ is under another ATTACK. Last year at this time it was the DAVINCI CODE, followed by the GOSPEL OF JUDAS and the ABC series called the JESUS PAPERS. Each of these tried to discredit the Christian belief that Jesus is the Son of God, died on a cross for our sins, and rose again in three days.
This year, as was REPORTED in the NEWS CLIP, James Cameron, director of Titanic, claims to have found the COFFINS (Ossuaries or Bone Box) of Jesus, his so-called wife Mary Magdalene and their son, Judah. Although Cameron in his documentary, The Lost Tomb of Jesus, insists that this is indeed the REMAINS of Christ and the "most amazing archeological find of all time", most SCIENTISTS and even the ARCHEOLOGISTS who oversaw the work at the TOMB (who have no claim to Christianity) believe that there is no CREDIBLE EVIDENCE to PROVE the coffins found are that of Jesus and his so-called wife and son. They described the theory as "NONSENSE".
Amos Kloner, one of the archeologists, said "The names found on the coffins had been found in tombs before", adding: "It makes a great story for a TV film, but it’s impossible."
B. That doesn’t SURPRISE us, because Scripture reveals that Jesus never MARRIED, and, consequentially, never had a SON.
1. But what’s even more DANGEROUS is Cameron’s ATTEMPT to DISCREDIT the Bible’s CLAIM of Jesus’ BODILY RESURRECTION.
2. The entire BASIS or TENETS of our FAITH rests on the FACT that Jesus DIED on the CROSS and AROSE from the DEAD three days later- I Corinthians 15:12-19 (READ and COMMENT)
a. If Christ Jesus has not been RAISED from the dead, then Paul insists:
- "Our PREACHING is USELESS."
- "We have MISREPRESENTED God."
- "All of us are to be PITIED."
- "Your FAITH is in VAIN."
- "You are STILL in your SINS."
- "Your Christian LOVED ONES whom have passed away are LOST."
b. But Paul then says, "But Christ has indeed been RAISED from the DEAD" -v. 20.
3. Everything hinges on the RESURRECTION of Jesus.
C. But we are not just talking about an INTELLECTUAL BELIEF that the RESURRECTION happened.
1. How many of you believe in the RESURRECTION of Christ?
As Christians we believe whole-heartedly that Jesus AROSE from the DEAD. But how does His RESURRECTION impact our lives? What DIFFERENCE does it make? How do you DEAL with life’s STRUGGLES?
2. Jesus told Martha, the sister of Lazarus: "I AM the RESURRECTION and the LIFE."- John 11:25.
Jesus’ RESURRECTION impacted Lazarus and his SISTERS before He, Himself, AROSE from the DEAD. There is POWER in the RESURRECTION that IMPACTS our lives NOW as well as when we RISE from the DEAD.
3. Paul- "I want to know Christ and the POWER of His RESURRECTION"- Philippians 3:10a.
And although "KNOWING the POWER of Christ’s RESURRECTION" included his own RESURRECTION, Paul was also referring to the POWER that was AVAILABLE to him NOW.
The RESURRECTION gives us HOPE and POWER and MEANING today because we experience it in our DAILY LIVES. The RESURRECTION POWER of Christ is available right
HERE and NOW, if we don’t OVERLOOK it.
I. RESURRECTION POWER SEEN IN THE STORY OF LAZARUS - John 11
A. "Jesus receives word from the sisters of his good friend, Lazarus, that their brother is sick"- vv. 1-3
1. Jesus does something very unusual . . . "He stays in His location for two more days"- v. 6.
If we received a PHONE CALL informing us that a good friend was DEATHLY ILL, we would immediately RUSH to his side--especially if we had the POWER to make him WELL.
Yet Jesus realizes that the PURPOSE of Lazarus’ SICKNESS and impending DEATH is so that "God will GLORIFY His Son through it" -v. 4. Mary and Martha, the twelve DISCIPLES, and many others are going to WITNESS the RESURRECTION POWER of Christ.
2. By the time Jesus arrives in Bethany, Lazarus had already been in the TOMB for 4 days.
a. Martha hears that Jesus is coming, so she runs out to meet Him. "Lord," she says to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died"- v. 21.
Can you imagine how those WORDS must have HURT? Jesus LOVED these people so much. To see Martha’s TEAR-STAINED CHEEKS and to hear the DISAPPOINTMENT in her VOICE must have been HARD.
b. Jesus tells her, "Your brother will RISE AGAIN!"- v. 23.
Max Lacado commenting on this event writes, "Martha probably lost track of the number of times she heard it while she stood by the BODY and TOMB of her brother Lazarus. Friend after friend stepped forward, hugged her and kissed her, and said, ’Your brother will rise again.’ Now along comes Jesus and He says the same thing. Choking back her TEARS she says, ’I know he will rise again in the resurrection of the last day’- v. 24. But that sure seems a long time away and doesn’t give her much comfort for the HERE and NOW.