Preparing For Easter Sunday

easter-sunday

Tomorrow we celebrate Easter Sunday. Tomorrow we celebrate Jesus’s resurrection. Which Jonathan Edwards says: “The resurrection of Christ is the most joyful event that ever came to pass.” So, as we once again prepare our hearts for worship let’s think about the sufferings of Jesus and his resurrection. Professor and author Matthew Harmon says that: “it is no exaggeration to say that Jesus rising from the dead literally changes everything.” So, why does Jesus rising from the dead change everything? What if Jesus had not been raised from the dead? Charles Spurgeon says: “Were Jesus still dead, His death would have been like the death of any other person—and would have given us no assurance of acceptance. His life, with all the beauty of its holiness, would have been simply a perfect example of conduct but it could not have become our righteousness if His burial in the tomb of Joseph had been the end of all. It was essential for the confirmation of His life-teaching and His death-suffering, that He should be raised from the dead. If he had not risen but were still among the dead, you might as well tell us that we preach to you a cunningly devised fable. See, then, the power of His resurrection—it proves without a doubt the faith once delivered to the saints.”

Spurgeon continues: “There was as much reality about the rising of our Lord as about His death and burial. There is no fiction here. This literal fact gives reality to all that comes from Him and by Him. Justification is no mere easing of the conscience—it is a real arraying of the soul in righteousness. Adoption into the family of God is no fancy, but brings with it true and proper sonship. The blessings of the Gospel are substantial facts and not mere theological opinions. As the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead was a plain visible matter of fact—so are the pardon of sin and the salvation of the soul matters of actual experience and not the creatures of religious imagination. Brethren, such is the evidencing power of the resurrection of Christ, that when every other argument fails your faith, you may find safe anchorage in this assured fact. The currents of doubt may bear you towards the rocks of mistrust. But when your anchor finds no other hold, it may grip the fact of the resurrection of Christ from the dead. This must be true. The witnesses are too many to have been deceived. And their patient deaths on account of their belief proved that they were not only honest men but good men who valued the Truth of God more than life. We know that Jesus rose from the dead—whatever else we are forced to question, we have no question on that score.”

The apostle Paul tells us that: “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” Basically, if Christ had not been raised from the dead we have no hope. However, Paul goes on to tell us: “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead…” This is what we will celebrate tomorrow, and the resurrection of Jesus does in fact change everything!

Before I get to the text for tomorrow I want to pause here and just confess something. I just was thinking how easy it is for me to write a post like this, but not be affected in my heart. I can write about the resurrection of Jesus and still my affections for Jesus are not stirred up. So, I continually need to pray and I believe a key way that we can prepare for worship is to ask God to stir up our affections for Him. Let’s pray for Mark, Ian, and Jerry once again as they will lead us in worship tomorrow. Let’s meditate on the gospel, the suffering’s of Jesus, and His glorious resurrection. Joe Thorn tells us: “God in Christ has reconciled us to himself, is renewing our minds, and promises to raise us from the dead, and we will dwell in righteousness and peace forever. If you have this, what more do you need?”

Mark will look briefly at Genesis 5, but will spend most of his time in 1 Corinthians 15. Verses 1-28 and verses 45-58 of 1 Corinthians 15 are below (ESV):

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. 12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.”

45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. 50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

 

Picture from here

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