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Message

Easter 2011
Miles McPherson - April 24, 2011

Message Recap

What is the significance of Jesus rising from the dead?

Jesus lived 33 years, had a 3-year ministry in which He performed miracles, healed the blind, deaf, and diseased, cast out demons, spoke to the weather, claimed to be God, forgave sin, accepted worship, and took names upon himself that belong to God. He predicted His torture and death and resurrection, endured beatings and crucifixion, and was placed in a guarded tomb so that no one would be able to steal His body.

On the third day after Jesus’ death, two women came to visit the tomb, but the stone was rolled away and Jesus was not there. The guards were stunned to see the angel that stood in Jesus’ place, claiming that Jesus had risen from the dead—the first exclamation of news that would rock the world for ages to come.

People have been looking for Jesus’ body for 2,000 years. If anyone could find it, then Christianity would be finished. His rising from the dead is the foundation of our whole faith! For 40 days, the resurrected Jesus showed Himself to key people to prove that He was the Son of God, alive and real, before He ascended back into heaven. These 40 days had an astounding impact on the world. The appearances of the risen Jesus solidified the faith of those who would carry the torch of faith into the future.

If you can’t believe the Bible’s account that Jesus rose, then believe the change in the disciples’ behavior after they saw Him risen. They went from running scared, denying Jesus, and hiding from the law to becoming so bold that every one of them died for their faith. They saw Jesus be killed and also met the Lord after his death; they knew He was truly God.

Another example is the apostle Paul, formerly Saul, a Jewish leader who arrested and killed Christians for their faith. He had an encounter with the resurrected Jesus that transformed his life. After a complete turnaround, he had an amazing and famous life of ministry and then he, too, died for his faith.

Pastor Miles covered three significant or implications of Jesus’ resurrection, which is not simply an annual holiday, but the most significant event in history.

1. The resurrection provides a sure foundation for faith. 1 Corinthians 15:12-14

And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. (v. 14)

If Jesus is still dead, then everything we believe in is empty. You shouldn’t put your faith in something that isn’t sure, such as your feelings or something you think you saw.

How can you be sure that Jesus will forgive you and give you eternal life as He said He would? Because He rose from the dead, that’s how. If He can do that, then all the other promises He made are easy to deliver.

Jesus is different than all other religious leaders because He is the only one who conquered death. None of the others can give you eternal life, because they don’t have it themselves. They can’t hear your prayers or help you in any way. But because Jesus rose, we realize He is God and that all of His claims and promises are true.

2. The resurrection provides the opportunity to be forgiven. 1 Corinthians 15:1

If Jesus never rose from the dead, you would have no chance of being forgiven from your sins. The Bible says that without bloodshed, there is no forgiveness of sin. You pay for your sin by dying and going to hell.

Back in Exodus, when the Jews were enslaved by Pharaoh, Moses (acting for God) asked for the Jews to be released. When Pharaoh refused ten times, God sent ten plagues on Egypt. The tenth plague killed the firstborn of every house except those of the Jews, whose homes were protected by the blood of a spotless lamb, spread over the doorpost. The Angel of Death passed over them, which is the basis of the Passover celebration still celebrated today.

This story in the Old Testament lays the foundation for Jesus in the New Testament. When John the Baptist baptizes Jesus, he calls Him “The Lamb of God.” The book of eternal life is called the “Lamb’s book of life.” In Revelation, Jesus is called the “Lamb that was slain.” He is the spotless Lamb who paid for all of your sin—every wicked thing you have ever done, said, or even thought. Jesus shed His perfect blood to protect you from the Angel of Death.

John 3:16 tells us, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

3. The resurrection provides the opportunity to live forever. 1 Corinthians 15:18

And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (v. 17-20)

In Biblical times, when a farmer harvested his crops, he would take the first part of it and give it to God. This was on one part an acknowledgement of the blessing from God, but also a statement of faith. By giving his firstfruits, the farmer trusted that there would be more to come, that God would provide.

Jesus rises from the dead as the firstfruits of all of us who die. He models what we’re going to do, just as He modeled how we should pray (Matthew 6:8-13) and how we should battle the temptation of the devil with Scripture (Luke 4:1-13).

Now that Jesus has sacrificed Himself, the rest is 100% up to you. You can choose to accept that you are a sinner, that the penalty for sin is death, that Jesus died for your sin, and that He is the Savior that brings eternal life, OR you can refute the testimony of the disciples and the Bible and refuse to believe that Jesus loves you and has the power to forgive your sin. The choice is yours…

This Message

Today's special Easter message examines the significance of Jesus' resurrection from the dead and the grand blessings this miracle offers us.

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