RISING FROM THE DEAD WITH JESUS CHRIST
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
16 APRIL 1995
Acts 2:22-24, 29-33, 37-41
Most people refer to this day as Easter, and in association with that name, they tend to think only of bunny rabbits, Easter eggs, candy, fun for the kids, and perhaps going out to lunch or dinner.
But this day should more properly be referred to as Resurrection Day.
Today should be the day we celebrate the rising of Jesus Christ from the dead, once for all time.
But even this event has no value to us unless we, as the title of our service emphasizes, rise from the dead with Jesus Christ.
And in light of this, Paul writes in Romans 6:11 -
11. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Looking back nearly 2,000 years, it's easy to sing of Jesus as having risen from the dead, as the hymn says, for if we believe the Scriptures, it's printed there right before our eyes.
But in that day, they weren't so sure at first, for they had seen Jesus die, and had not fully understood what He told them.
Do you remember what the women did on that Friday following His death? (Luke 23:55-56)
55. Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed after, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid.
56. And they returned and prepared spices and perfumes.
And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.
They had resigned themselves to His death, or they would not have prepared the spices and perfumes with which to anoint the dead body, according to their custom.
Now, if we look at the account of what took place early that Sunday morning, it should give us some insight into what His disciples were thinking and feeling. (Luke 24:1-10)
1. But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they [the women] came to the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared.
2. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
3. but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
4. And it happened that while they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling apparel;
5. and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living One among the dead?
6. "He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee,
7. saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again."
8. And they remembered His words,
9. and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.
10. Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles.
The women's fear had left them and they were excited.
Jesus is alive!
It's just as He said.
Do you believe?
Then if you do, feel the excitement with them, for we will have this same resurrection power within us, too.
And they hurried off to tell the other disciples what had happened. (Luke 24:11-12)
11. And these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them.
12. [But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at that which had happened.]
At first, these disciples didn't believe either, for they were still thinking of Jesus' death.
Even James probably didn't believe his own mother.
But somewhere in their minds these other disciples also must have been recalling what Jesus had told them, just as the women had at the gravesite.
And so Peter went to the tomb and saw that it was just as the women had said.
But it was too much for him; for instead of shouting it from the rooftops, he simply went home, thinking and marveling about what had taken place.
Put yourself back there with Peter, and feel and think about what was taking place in his mind on this, the day of resurrection.
It was beginning to sink in.
The women had believed.
Peter had come to believe.
The disciples were now believing.
They were beginning to understand what it meant to have Jesus rise from the dead.
He had conquered death and sin.
And now they, too, were part of this victory.
They remembered what He had told those who refused to turn away from their sins and believe in Him. (John 8:21-24)
21. He said therefore again to them, "I go away, and you shall seek Me, and shall die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come."
22. Therefore the Jews were saying, "Surely He will not kill Himself, will He, since He says, 'Where I am going, you cannot come'?"
23. And He was saying to them, "You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.
24. "I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins."
But Peter and the others believed in Him, and they had turned away from their former sinful lives, as should we.
And as such, they were part of the victory.
They would rise from the dead as He did.
They could go with Jesus into heaven.
And the disciples remembered, as should we, the things that Jesus said about the resurrection from the dead, following an episode when some were finding fault with Him for healing a man on the Sabbath.
They remembered what He had said about eternal life and the judgment.
Listen again to these words, so that we will not forget; that we, too, will be rising from the dead with Jesus Christ, if we believe in Him. (John 5:24-29)
24. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
25. "Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live.
26. "For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself;
27. and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.
28. "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice,
29. and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.
We who are walking around today, and talking with one another, can actually be as dead as those who have physically died; that is, if we have refused to hear the voice of the Lord and repent.
We all know what God wants us to do, just as we all know when we do something that the Lord would not approve.
God sees our heart and knows the intent of our very soul and spirit.
And He has allowed us to choose between Himself and the devil.
Think about this and how it should change our lives, as it did Peter's.
Then Peter and the others began to become bolder in their faith, as should we.
Faith is not a passive word; it's active; for if we truly believe, we will live and speak that belief, which is a demonstration of our faith.
And consider this: if someone is too fearful or timid to live and walk with Jesus Christ in this world, before others, are they really believers?
Are such people really saved?
Are such people going to rise with Jesus?
Thus, Peter begins to tell others. (Acts 2:22-24)
22. "Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know--
23. this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.
24. "And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.
It's important for this preacher to note that it doesn't do any of us any good simply to know of Jesus' resurrection from the dead, or simply to sing of it.
For Jesus' resurrection to do us any good, we not only must know of His resurrection, but we must be part of His resurrection.
Peter not only remembered what Jesus had said, but he also remembered what the Scriptures stated, as he spoke of David. (Acts 2:29-33)
29. "Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
30. "And so, because he was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants upon his throne,
31. he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay.
32. "This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.
33. "Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.
Peter knew the truth, as I know the truth, and as many others know the truth; but all too often others don't believe what we alone say, so we tell of others and of what they saw and heard and believed, just as Peter did.
And the people began to believe, as I pray any unbeliever will do today.
Listen to what happened. (Acts 2:37-41)
37. Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?"
38. And Peter said to them, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39. "For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself."
40. And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!"
41. So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
When Peter tells them to "be saved from this perverse generation!" he is telling them to be born again.
He is calling to them to clean house, to repent of their sinful ways, and in that cleansed state, to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Then, in the power of the Holy Spirit, with Jesus Christ they will be rising from the dead.
And we are told that three thousand believed that day.
How many people gathered here today have never made such a commitment to Christ?
Unless we do, we are not part of His resurrection, but only of those who are part of the judgment.
I pray that you have been listening to my voice and the voices of those who came before me.
But mostly, I pray that you are listening to that inner voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to you of the truth of the gospel message and of the desires of God for your own life.
Make that choice to follow Jesus.
Make that choice to be born again.
Make that choice to be part of Jesus Christ's resurrection.
Then we can truly say together,
Amen, and Amen!
Your Comments are welcome
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