Resurrection Day Promise: Rising Above Death
Our Resurrection Day promise: rising above death is especially important, because today is Resurrection Day
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
20 April 2014
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
Our Resurrection Day promise: rising above death is especially important, because today is Resurrection Day, a celebration of Jesus’ rising from the dead; for all who believe in Him and follow His teachings shall also rise from death unto eternal life.
This is our Resurrection Day promise.
A vital part of this Resurrection Day promise is that we, as true believers, also do everything in our power to spiritually and physically be rising above death in our everyday lives.
And, we are not rising above death when we contribute to the suffering and death of any other living being, whether human or animal.
Keep these things in mind as we look at Matthew 28:1-20…
1. Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.
2. And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.
3. And his appearance was like lightning, and his garment as white as snow;
4. and the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
The women and the guards have been given the rare opportunity of seeing and hearing a spiritual being, as well as seeing the mighty power of God in raising Jesus from the dead.
What are they going to do about this experience and how will it affect their lives?
5. And the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.
6. “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.
7. “And go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going before you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”
There are several different accounts of this heavenly Resurrection Day event in the Gospels, but the message and promise are the same: Jesus rose from the dead, and since He did, then we who believe and follow His teachings will also rise unto everlasting life with Him.
And, we are to live in this promise for the benefit of the whole of creation, doing whatever we can for every other living being to help them also be rising above death, a death that has been inflicted upon them by this corrupt and evil world.
We are to live this way until God’s promise of the peaceable kingdom becomes a reality.
Let’s return to our biblical account and see what the women did.
8. And they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples.
9. And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.
10. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they shall see Me.”
The women were following the instructions of the angel, which Jesus just reinforced, but what about the guards; what did they do?
11. Now while they [the women] were on their way, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened.
12. And when they had assembled with the elders and counseled together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,
13. and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’
14. “And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.”
15. And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.
The women were living in the heavenly will of God, but as we just read, the guards remained in the evil and corrupt ways of this world, as did the chief priests.
Let’s now look at what the disciples did.
16. But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated.
17. And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.
Those who worshiped Jesus truly accepted Him as Messiah and Lord.
18. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
20. teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Jesus is instructing the eleven disciples, and us today, to make true disciples of everyone in the whole world if they are willing.
True disciples of Jesus live in the heavenly will of God, and follow the peaceful teachings of Jesus.
They do not cause or contribute to any pain, or mourning, or death here on earth, because these things are not in heaven, and Jesus taught us to pray for our Father’s heavenly will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
So, if pain, mourning, and death are not in the heavenly will of God, then we should be doing everything in our power to eliminate our human causes of these things on earth.
And as we read, the chief priests were not followers of God or His heavenly will; thus, they would make only followers or disciples who were worldly like themselves, as we are seeing happening in many churches today.
Let’s think of a few of the ungodly things that surround the celebration of Easter, as opposed to Resurrection Day; and there is a big difference.
For Easter, many people dye or color eggs, and have Easter egg hunts, and such practices contribute to the suffering and death of millions of chickens who are forced to lay the eggs.
This is not rising above death.
And others sell dyed and undyed baby chicks and ducklings, which contributes to the same problem.
Likewise it is contributing to death and not rising above death.
Easter is also a time for a lot of candy, particularly milk chocolate which, as its name implies, contains milk. This contributes to the suffering and death of dairy cows and veal calves who are the children of dairy cows.
This worldly tradition also has no place in our Resurrection Day promise of rising above death.
Also, let’s not forget about the Easter ham or turkey, which are from the cadavers of once living beings who wanted to live in the freedom God intended just as much as we do, but the people who celebrate Easter in this way prevent these animals’ happiness.
Every one of these ways of celebrating Easter contributes to death, unlike our Resurrection Day promise of rising above death.
God gave us the free will to choose between life and death here on earth; therefore, we should all be choosing life, as we are told in Deuteronomy 30:19-20…
19. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,
20. by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life…
Unlike the chief priests, who in their worldly ways, chose death, we as true followers of Jesus and the heavenly will of God should always choose the ways that are rising above death unto life, even life eternal.
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