Hope of the Resurrection

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The Hope of the Resurrection

Let me ask you a question this morning. What are you placing your hope in? Seriously, what is it that is truly on your heart? What is it that you long to obtain and that once you get it, you  know all will be well and you will be very satisfied and content? Your life will then be very happy. For some, it’s getting that degree, for others it is getting married to that special someone. Or maybe it’s moving to a new town, getting that dream job, having children, traveling overseas, moving into a new home, or maybe it’s something as simple as passing the next exam. I’m confident that everyone here this morning has something they are placing their hope in.

So what is it for you this morning? What are you placing your hope in?

There are two serious problems with the list of hopes I just mentioned.

1.    The first problem is that some of them will simply not be realized. That is maybe you won’t get that degree. Maybe that special someone will marry someone other than you and so on. The fact is, our lives experience many major disappointments. The things that we dream of and strive for don’t always come to pass and our hopes are dashed. So that’s the first problem. Our hope may never be achieved. To this, you may reply, yes it’s true that some of our hopes will never be fulfilled, but, on the other hand, sometimes our hope is fulfilled. That’s right! Sometimes we get exactly what we’ve been hoping for and that brings us to the second problem.

2.    The second problem is that we get exactly what we’re hoping for, but we soon discover that it doesn’t bring us the true happiness and fulfillment that we thought it would. Sure, we’re excited and very happy when we first get it, but as the weeks and months pass by the initial excitement and happiness fade away. So, then what do we do? Usually, we set our heart on a new hope and we start the cycle all over again!

On the one hand, we don’t get what we hoped for and are disappointed. On the other hand, we do get it and we’re still disappointed because we soon discover that it really doesn’t bring the real lasting happiness into our life that we thought it would. So, what’s the answer?

The answer is what our sermon is about today. We place our hope in something that first of all, is certain to take place. Secondly, when it does happen, it will not disappoint, but will provide even greater joy than we had imagined and the joy won’t be temporary, but it will last forever.

Today, we will look at the hope that is not only sure, but will also bring enduring joy. So, our message this morning is on:

The Hope of the Resurrection

Pray – Before we begin, let’s ask the Lord to bless our time.

Over a thousand years before Jesus was even born, this prophecy was made.

Psalm 16:10

10 For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;

Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

No, the promise was made that Jesus body wouldn’t just remain in His grave and decay. This is one of the earliest indications in Scripture of Jesus’ resurrection.

Jesus Himself, promised or stated on 8 distinct occasions to His disciples that He was going to rise from the dead.

1.    John2:18 The Jews then said to Him, “What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.

2.    John 10:17 For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

3.    Matt 16:21 From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.

4.    Matt 17:9 As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.”

5.    Matt 17:22 And while they were gathering together in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men; 23 and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day.”

6.    Matt 20:18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, 19 and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.”

7.    Matt 12:38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” 39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; 40 for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

8.    Matthew 16:1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3 And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times? 4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away.

So, Jesus didn’t just mention His upcoming resurrection in passing. It was a major emphasis of His teaching to the disciples. In addition, Jesus made numerous general statements about the resurrection or promises regarding resurrection for His followers.

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Jesus question to her, “Do you believe this”? is interesting because it’s at the very heart of the sermon today. Do you believe that Jesus rose from the dead and will likewise raise up all His followers?

John 6:40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

So, today we’re talking about The hope of the resurrection.

Show of Hands

How many here today have based their hopes on the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the promise that one day, after you die you also will be resurrected?

Have you ever thought about What if I’m wrong? What if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead and I’m not going to rise from the dead either?

Well, to begin with, if Jesus couldn’t deliver on this promise and He didn’t really rise from the dead, then there’s absolutely no reason to believe that He could deliver on any of His other promises either. He should not be considered a righteous man and would certainly not be worthy of our praise or obedience. He’d just be a liar and we couldn’t trust either Him or the Bible on any other issues either.

·       Then the cross would have been the final chapter of Christianity, and there would have been no victory over death. Close the book because it’d all be over!

·       Then Jesus would be a defeated dead Savior and in fact not a Savior at all

·       The disciples would have just gone back to fishing for fish instead of fishing for men —The result à No Christianity!

·       Sure, the crucifixion is central to our faith, but Christianity isn’t merely about the crucifixion of Christ. Without the resurrection, the crucifixion would actually be a demonstration of Satan’s victory over God. Satan’s plan was to kill the Messiah, so that He couldn’t save His people. Without the resurrection, Jesus’ mission to earth would have culminated in the crushing defeat of a miserable pitiful death on the cross. The gospel means good news, but the crucifixion without the resurrection is bad news. To be good news there must be a crucifixion, a burial, and a resurrection!

·       1Co 15:15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact 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 worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

·       If there was no resurrection, then we Christians are liars. We’re leading people down a false path of destruction rather than a path of hope.

·       We should throw away our faith and get rid of it since it would be worthless and even harmful.

·       We would still be in our sins and we would truly be without hope!

·       Those who have died have perished. They have no more consciousness. have returned to the dust and.  They have simply ceased to exist.

·       If there really was no resurrection, yet we were living our life as if there were, then we would be most pitiful indeed since we’d actually just be wasting our lives.

·       1 Co 15:31 I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32 If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, LET US EAT AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE.

If there is no resurrection. If there is no eternal reward or eternal punishment. If this life is all there is, then, by all means, we should just party and live it up!

BUT…

What if those of us who raised our hands are right?

… and Jesus really did rise from the dead and we also will be raised from the dead just as He promised.

What then? How should that influence the way we live our lives?

When I was in school, I majored in math. Those of you who know me could certainly vouch for the fact that I didn’t major in foreign language. Anyway, I sometimes like to look at issues from a mathematical perspective

Friends, regardless of your position on this issue, our life here on Earth is very brief, but Christians will be able to enjoy the blessings and rewards of heaven forever!

Paul had the right perspective on this issue!

Acts 24:14 But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets; 15 having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.

·       Since Paul was convinced of the certainty of the resurrection, he gave his best effort to living a righteous life, both in his walk with the Lord as well as his relationships with men. That’s what we should do as well.

·       Ask God to bring to mind any area in your life that is not blameless. Then confess and repent of it.

Isaiah 43:7 Everyone who is called by My name,

And whom I have created for My glory,

Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”

·       Since we are created to glorify God, that’s what we should be doing with the time He gives us here on earth.

·       There are many situations in life to glorify God, but one of the most obvious and frequent opportunities is doing good works.

·       Matt 5:16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

·       God is glorified by the good works that we do!

2 Cor 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

·       Everyone will be resurrected and spend eternity either in heaven or hell. God has made us His mouthpieces here on earth to reach the lost. Wow, what an awesome privilege and responsibility! Knowing the terrible fate that awaits the lost, evangelism should be our lifestyle and we should be highly motivated to share the gospel with all who will listen.

·       A helpful tip: get a partner that the two of you can regularly share the gospel with others. Jesus sent His men out in pairs and it’s a good principle. You can encourage and motivate one another and provide each other with accountability. Also, while one is sharing the gospel, the other can be praying and/or dealing with distractions

Colossians 1:9-10

9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

·       We can’t be faithful to do God’s will unless we first know what He wants us to do. Therefore, we need to diligently study His Word to learn His will and to grow in our knowledge of Him.

·       A few practical suggestions:

1.    Have a daily quiet time. You can start with just 10-15 minutes each day, but you’ll likely want to expand it later. Simply set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier every morning and then spend that extra time reading the Bible and praying. First thing in the morning is usually the best because it has less distractions and gives you a good start on the day.

2.    Have a Scripture memory program. Some tips that might help you be more successful:

a.     Have a regular time and place for it or otherwise it probably won’t get done.

b.    Review, Review, Review. If you don’t incorporate regular review into you Scripture memory program, you’ll quickly forget the verses and become discouraged.

c.      Ask a friend to regularly check you on the verses you’re memorizing. Better yet, get him to start memorizing verses also so you can encourage each other

3.    If you’re not already studying the Bible in a small group, find a good one and join it!

Phil 3:7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,

1.    Paul has a new perspective. He’s started seeing them the way the Lord sees them. As a result, Paul is very willing to sacrifice worldly riches and pleasures for Christ’s sake. He knows that what this world has to offer is insignificant rubbish compared to the true riches he has in Christ.

2.    God wants you and me to have this same perspective. How can we get it? Simple, have the quiet times, memorize the Scripture, and study the Bible like we just discussed AND be applying the things to your life that the Lord is showing you. Then you’ll start having His perspective!

Obviously, these ideas just scratch the surface of how The Hope of the Resurrection should influence our daily living. But these will be a good starting point for evaluation.

So, let’s return to the original question. What is your hope in today? If you raised your hand as one who has The Hope of the Resurrection, the question I have for you is, “How is this influencing your daily life”?

Today, we are considering The Hope of the Resurrection. Next Sunday is Easter and topic will appropriately be The Reality of the Resurrection.

If you do not have The Hope of the Resurrection in your life, I have an important assignment to ask you to do between now and then. The book of John has 21 chapters. I’m asking you to read three chapters a day between now and then. By next Sunday you will have read the short book of John. Then come next Sunday and ask the Lord to prepare your heart to accept The Reality of the Resurrection.

1 Cor 15:3b … that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

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