We have been looking at a series called “For God so loved” looking what Easter really means.
We have looked at how God has guided History to the point of Christ dying for mankind, we have seen how powerful the Cross of Christ is in dealing with our sin and guilt. We looked earlier this morning at the profound nature of the resurrection of Christ and how it confirmed His power.
Now we will look at what the resurrection means for us. The reality is that Christ being raised gave us a glimpse into eternity. Showing us that God has the power to raise the dead confirms our own resurrection to come and Christ showed us the glories that await us.
Our faith is no longer a hope set against hope, it is a confirmed promise as the writer of Hebrews says
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrew 11:1
Christ has showed us the way.
And so the resurrection is not just something to believe in, it is central to our faith.
Why is it central?
So what did Jesus show us?
Jesus says something quite interesting in John 11:25
This is the story of the resurrection of Lazarus, Jesus comes to visit Martha and finds that Lazarus has died. She confronts Jesus and Jesus says that Lazarus will rise again. She agrees and says everyone will rise on the day of resurrection. But Jesus knew differently. And answers her saying:
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”
There is a longing for eternal life in all of us. The fear of our own mortality terrifies us and consumes us.
Jesus shows us
The fact that Christ had to make a way for us and confirms it by His resurrection shows us that there is an inherent problem with who we are. We need to be regenerated.
We all have sinful tendencies, aspects of ourselves that are unsavoury even to us.
Form minor things such as being slightly pride-filled to having a quick temper, to being a bit of a gossip. We all have little things that remind us that we struggle with sinfulness.
Most of us who are truly honest with ourselves realise that sinfulness is endemic. It affects our every thought and action.
And The reality is that we need fixing.
Jesus’ resurrection shows us that we can be fixed. In fact we long for the day that we will be finally released and ourselves resurrected into a new pure body that is holy and free from the problem of sin and evil.
The Easter story is the story that we can be made whole; we have a future that awaits us where there is no sin or pain.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death' or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
The fact that Jesus rose from the dead confirms the possibility of our own resurrection! This is a hope that sustains us.
This is the hope that preserved the early church as the entire Roman world was against killing them in the Roman circus.
What can take away the idea that no matter what happens we are promised regeneration?
The hope of a regenerated life in the next is what the whole of the New Testament is all about.
And the wonder of being a follower of Christ is that we taste that here and now. Although we don’t experience it in full, we do have a taste of the life to come here and now because we are given the Holy Spirit as a promise of that life to come. He fills us with the desires of the next life, and the holiness of the next life.
The resurrection of Christ showed us eternity. Even now, it shows us something of the regeneration that is to come.
Do we not hope and long for a day when we are free from that which shackles us now. Where sin does not hinder our enjoyment of life.
That day is coming. We can know this because God so loved that He showed us the life to come.
Secondly Jesus shows us
The reality is that it is because Christ rose that we have a hope of being glorified.
Let’s stop for a second and ask what does glorification mean?
Glorification is the final stage of the process of salvation.
This is a holistic reality for those who believe in Christ and indeed Christ’s resurrection shows us what we are to look forward to.
We see this in 1 Corinthians 15:20-23
Paul tells the Corinthian Church that Christ is will lead them in the resurrection.
We see that death and sin has been given to us through Adam. But through Christ, new life has being given and He will lead us in that new life. In fact He already has by showing us that He has conquered death and now has authority over death and the grace.
Therefore our souls alone won’t be glorified, our very bodies will be made new.
Many people have this mistaken idea about heaven. They think we will be “otherworldly” in heaven, almost floating souls.
But the Bible and the New Testament talk about the resurrection as the reality of the next life.
In other words God plans to remake your body, but this time in glory! Pure and free from sin, pain or anything evil. We are destined to be resurrected into glory. The Old Testament also speaks about this reality in Psalms 73:24
“You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.”
Jesus shows us this in the resurrection. We await nothing less than being like Him in the resurrection, which He has already shown us.
Jesus also shows us:
If we are to be regenerated, and glorified, it makes sense that we will be perfected. The life that awaits us, this eternal bliss that Christ has begun to show us through His resurrection on that first Ester, is a life of perfection.
Morally, spiritually and physically.
One of the greatest statements of this is found in Colossians 1:22
“Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.”
This concept of future faultlessness is found in Ephesians 1:4, Jude 24 and 1 Corinthians 8.
This is a hope that we can hold onto but we are also promised that we will be perfected in our knowledge. 1 Corinthians 13:12 speaks of us knowing all things when we see Him.
God so loved the world that He showed us a glimpse of glory; of His glory and our own.
So where does this leave us?
So what does this mean?
The significance is more than just hope for a future it is power for our now. It changes who we are because of what Christ has done. This is why Easter is not just another holiday in the year, it is the most important celebration of the year!
To us who are called His followers it is a celebration of that which gave us life and a reminder of the fact that we are a new people.
So the fact that Christ showed us eternity means that:
We are a resurrection people
Even though we live in hope of the resurrection, let us remember that we have the new birth now. We are growing in our resurrection life.
In 1 Peter 1:3 it says
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”
We have being given a new birth, a living hope through the resurrection of Christ.
This is a growing dynamic reality in the life of the believer. As followers of Christ we are constantly growing in our resurrection life.
Day by day we are becoming more like the person God made us to be. Day by day we are becoming more like Christ. We are a resurrection people so we need to live like it.
Let me ask you a question -- how much are you letting your old life, your unregenerate, ungodly self live in your life?
You are not the person you used to be in before you were saved. So stop believing that you are.
You are a saint called by God; called to be made into the image of His Son!
Live like that! Stop believing the lies about yourself!
We are a victorious people
We live in the victory that Christ secured for us
“He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.”
1 Corinthians 15:54
“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’”
The life God has called us to live is a resurrection life and this is a life of victory. Does this mean that we will never fail, that we will always get what we want, that life will be easy?
Of course not!
In fact, the life God has called us to as His followers in this life is a life of struggle and toil, however, that struggle is for victory. That toil is for the ultimate reward.
Our victory is found in living for God’s kingdom, our victory is found when we are successful in preaching the gospel of Christ and we are successful in driving back the forces of darkness.
These victories are found in Christ and are secured in His resurrection!
As I have said before we don’t long in vein, our hope is set on the reality that Christ rose so our victorious rising is also ensured through His grace as we put our faith in Him!
We are a hope filled people
All that I have said today is for one reason; we, as believers in resurrection of Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of sin by faith in Christ, are a people of hope!
It should define us and almost ooze out of us!
Nothing in this world, no worries can shake the hope that we will be with Jesus!
So let us take courage in the fact that our future is sealed, that our hope is secure, that resurrection is real!
Jesus has led the way for us to follow, so let us live in the hope of the resurrection of Jesus Christ!