2016-3-27 Sunrise Because He Lives…

Cornerstone EPC                                                                  Easter morning (sunrise)
Franklin, NC 28734                                                              March 27, 2016

“Because He Lives…”
Text: John 14:19b

We come today to confess the cardinal fact of our faith: Christ is risen; He is risen indeed.  Jesus lives—and because He lives, there are powerful implications for our lives.

Note that Jesus lives in an objective sense.  Many have examined the testimony concerning the empty tomb (Matthew 28:10, par.) and rightly concluded that Jesus lives.  No one close and contemporary to Jesus’ crucifixion ever produced His lifeless body, because such is impossible.  He rose from the dead by the power of an indestructible life, and He exited the tomb because He no longer required it.  Not only this, but copious Scriptural eyewitness testimony exists to support the incontrovertible claim that not only is Jesus removed from the grave, but also that He is evermore alive.

Note also that Jesus lives in a subjective sense—that is, within each believer in Christ, including me.  The Apostle Paul, in his Spirit-led letter to the Galatians, asserts this powerfully when he writes, “I am crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).  Paul writes in a similar vein to the Colossians concerning the glorious mystery of the ages, which is Christ in me, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).  Jesus does live in my heart—and everywhere else too.

Therefore, because Jesus lives, we live also—each and all.  This life is both abundant in quality and eternal in scope.  Jesus spoke, and John wrote what Jesus spoke, concerning the abundant life: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10).  We display this life fundamentally by displaying the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness (or faith), gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).  We also display the abundant life by utilizing the gifts of the Spirit that God gives to each Christian for the good of His Church (Romans xii.6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, Ephesians 4:11-13, 1 Peter 4:7-11).

This life—vast, abundant, and free—lasts always; it is eternal.  Paul promises the Thessalonians and us that we who are in Christ ever shall be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17).  If, at Christ’s command, we lay this body down before He returns to consummate all things, we know—as Paul told the Corinthians—that absence from the body is presence with the Lord (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:6-9).  Of course, we know well—as, once, did much of American culture, whether believing in Christ or not—of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”  This verse Martin Luther called the Gospel in miniature; so it is.

Because Jesus lives, we (and I) shall live also.  Let us confess this ardently always.

AMEN.

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