Easter 2021 – Engaging Hope

April 4, 2021   /   Jesus Church

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Easter 2021

(Engaging Hope)

Good morning and welcome to Jesus Church

  • He is Risen!!! He is Risen Indeed
    • What a powerful way to celebrate the victory of our Messiah
    • Together in celebration – I believe this is how God intended it
    • In community… together (and online community)
      • Remembering the act of pure love – an example for us all

So if you have you Bibles open to 1 Cor 15

1 Cor 15:1-2 (NIV)

Now I make known to you, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the Gospel that I preached to you which you have received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, IF you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

So this gospel that Paul is talking about

  • This scriptures are telling us its something that you can forget
    • It is according to him… something you can grow numb to
    • Something you can even slip away from
    • Says: Im reminding u of something u already know… The Gospel
  • Gospel in the Greek is the word: Euengellion
    • Association with this word back then – way different than today
    • Long before “Gospel” was used by the church, NT authors
    • It was a word used by Caesar and the Roman Empire
      • As a politically charged word to establish dominance
  • In 1st Cent – Roman Empire ruled the world from England to India
    • When a new Caesar came to power (no internet/news/twitter)
    • To get the word out – send 100’s of preachers into the empire
    • To announce the “Euengellion” saying something like this…
      • There is a new king on the throne
      • He has defeated all of his enemies
      • He brought peace to the world… and is Lord of All

And the slogan everyone was forced to confess – Caesar is Lord

  • But the this guy named Paul shows up right under Caesar’s nose
    • Traveling from Corinth to Philippi to Ephesus and even Rome
    • He starts saying he has a different GOSPEL… a better one
    • It’s real – true – permanent
  • And it isn’t about Caesar… it’s about Jesus
    • That’s why Paul uses this word – It was accepted by the people
      • Same reason God calls himself “Elohim” at beginning
      • Pagan people knew El as a powerful Canaanite god
      • The true God uses this to name himself Elohim
      • Menaing I’m like the god you worship
        • But El-ohim – The One True Living God
  • It’s the same reason I’m okay with an Easter Bunny and Candy
    • It’s meeting people where they are at
    • And pointing them to the truth through what they understand

1 Cor 15:3-8 (NIV)

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance (this is at top of the list) that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas (Peter), and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep (euphemism for death). Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

This is Paul’s Summary of the Gospel

He takes it down to the bare bones – Cut & Dry here is what its all about

  • Simple… minimalist… (iphone designer would love it) – just 4 things
    • Jesus Christ died
    • Jesus Christ was buried
    • Jesus Christ was raised from the dead on the 3rd day
    • We know this is true b/c a bunch of us saw him
  • Saying that this wasn’t a rumor… hallucination… mistaken identity
    • 100’s all over Palestine saw him – Alive from dead in his body
  • And all of this happened “According to the Scriptures”
    • Paul makes that point not just once… but twice
    • This is exactly how God said it would happen

Meaning this gospel isn’t some random story – Part of a larger storyline

  • Its a story stretching all the way back to the beginning of creation
    • Starting w/ God making the world & everything in it
      • Creating humans as kings/queens to partner with Him
      • To take care of everything that he had made
    • And at first – It was all “VERY GOOD”
      • Can u imagine a world where EVERYTHING is “very good”
      • No pollution, no bad drivers, no Arizona summers
    • This is how God originally created the world for you and me
  • But sadly the story begins with Adam & Eve turning away from God
    • Rebelling against God’s rulership over their lives
    • And now b/c of that rebellion… peace with God became chaos
  • So on our own.. we don’t live in rhythm with the God of creation
    • And when u don’t live in sync with God
    • It’s a downward spiral that leads to brokenness

So from there the story of the Bible – World becomes darker and darker

  • But God had a plan to put everything back together again
    • And he would do it through humans
    • Not just pushing aside humanity to do it on his own
    • God has chosen to make us forever a part of his story
  • But just like Adam and Eve – Mankind kept walking away from God
    • And just when all seemed lost… God himself steps into the story
      • Again as a human to save all his people (children of Adam)
      • Where humanity had failed > Jesus succeeded
    • From Adam all the way to YOU AND ME
      • Jesus saved us b/c we couldn’t save ourselves

TAG: In the end: He died… buried… raised … and tons of people saw him

Story not just about what happened… but will happen

We see in Revelation that we get to look forward to a new creation

  • Where we read of what Jesus called “The renewal of all things”
    • This is a day in the future that Jesus will return as King
    • He will set everything right again
    • He will bring healing and life over all of creation
  • B/C Jesus’ life and resurrection are ONLY THE BEGINNING
    • There is so much more to come

And Paul continues by reminding us of what’s still coming

1 Cor 15:20-24(NIV)

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

  • This is a world w/ lots of agriculture (4 us who aren’t farmers)
    • First fruits were like what you experience here in the spring
    • You start to see a bud/blossom on a tree
      • It’s the first one but a sign of more to come
  • In the same way… Jesus resurrection is the first one
    • But it isn’t just a “One-off”… it’s a sign of what’s coming

For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. (here is what he means by that) For as in Adam all die (because of sin that started with Adam… we all die), so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the first fruits; then when he comes, those who belong to him.

So here’s what WILL HAPPEN as followers of Jesus

  • What happened to Jesus will one day happen to you and me
    • Death… Burial… Resurrection
      • We will all die – Statistics are pretty reliable on that one
      • We will end up in the ground… in a vase… in the wind
      • Then as followers of Jesus WE WILL BE RAISED
        • And ur body will be renewed in Gods original design
        • And we will live forever w/ God on a perfected Earth
  • Keep in mind that our existence isn’t just a 2 stage process
    • Many believe we have life… life after death (heaven or hell)
    • And resurrection means we go to heaven
      • And heaven is a powerful reality of hope
      • Because when we experience death – It is painful
      • And life after death is greatest hope we can hold on to

But Bible teaches that Resurrection is what happens after heaven

  • Its not just a 2 stage process… it’s a 3 stage process
    • Life > Life after Death > Life after life after death
    • This is when we come back from heaven to earth
  • And usually (Western World) we emphasize stage 2
    • But the biblical authors always looking to the 3rd stage
    • Cliché saying: Jesus is a ticket to heaven… but its round trip
    • Heaven is awesome place… not b/c u get a lambo and mansion
      • But because GOD IS THERE!!!
  • But we don’t stay there… that is not home – Never God’s plan
    • We come back home… to a renewal of all of God’s creation
    • Imagine the beauty of earth w/ none of the problems of Earth

And this hope is unique to way of Jesus

  • Because when it comes to afterlife… Christianity is not unique
    • Greek – Hades
    • Islam – Paradise
    • Hindu – Reincarnation
    • Bhudism – Narvanah
  • In Paul’s day no one preached we come back to earth after heaven
    • And even today… most people believe in some type of afterlife
      • But we’re only people on planet who believe in rez
      • Who live with the hope of resurrection

TAG: Because… what happened to Jesus will happen to us as well

1 Cor 15:25-26 (NIV)

Then the end will come…

  • End = Tellas – We think: End of time… but its more: The end goal
    • What all of creation has been building up to
    • The conclusion of the story of God… WILL COME

Then the end will come when he (Jesus) hands over the kingdom of God to the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet..

  • So Jesus is on the throne… He is LORD… but still there is work to do

… The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

1 Cor 15:51-57 (NIV)

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed. In a flash, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 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. (And then Paul breaks out into song) Where, O death, is your victory? Where O death is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • And I imagine fireworks in the background…
    • A stadium of people cheering like they won the super bowl
    • Ground shaking/Pinnacle of the story
    • And Jesus’ resurrection is lifted up through his victory

B/C for Paul – Jesus resurrection means the defeat of all Jesus’ enemies

  • There is coming a day when there will be no more pain & suffering
    • No more slavery and trafficking (3 out of every 1000 – 21 mil)
    • No more exploitation of those who can’t protect themselves
    • No more corruption or injustice or depression or violence
  • And finally at the END Jesus will defeat death itself for you and me
    • And for Paul… He declares this with an UNSEEN HOPE
    • B/C this not a statement spoken now… 2 billion Xians on planet
    • This was with maybe 20 believers in Corinth… 15 in Philipi
      • Its a confession of HOPE w/o seeing in the natural
  • And HOPE is what each of us have in what we celebrate today

And when I say HOPE – Need 2 clarify what I mean

To some… hope is nothing more than wishful thinking

  • I hope it’s sunny… I hope suns win… I hope I get tax refund early
    • That’s all it is – Its desire
  • But to Paul and Biblical authors Hope is so much more…
    • Its not based on evidence proven before me
    • Its not based on stories told to me

HOPE: The expectation of coming good based on the character of God

  • It is solely based on who God is
    • Not just desire (I hope this/that happens)
    • Its desire + faith
      • We desire a better world… and we have faith it is coming

And because of this GOSPEL – We are a people MARKED BY HOPE

  • We have hope for the future
    • Whatever you are going through now… HOPE that rez is coming
    • B/C in this room is the entire spectrum of circumstances
      • Some of you are doing great right now… life is good
      • Some of you here are only your last prayer… chance… try
  • And whatever you are going thru now… today
    • Know that resurrection is ur future if you are a follower of Jesus
    • So whatever you are up against – Job/Relationship/Sick/Stuck…
      • Know that resurrection is right around the bend

And if you are here and not a follower of Jesus

  • And for you… death is a giant question mark
    • You don’t know what’s coming… who holds your future
    • And what if there is a creator – and u have to stand before him
    • You don’t know how that will go…
  • Listen you don’t have to be afraid… there is hope in Jesus
    • Yes there is a future for the wicked – Death & Destruction
    • But there’s also a future for those made righteous by Jesus
    • And that is for you today

TAG: So we have hope in what happened… hope in what will happen

But we also have hope in what is happening

1 Cor 15:58 (NIV)

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

So rez isn’t just about the past & future… but here and now

  • Love the line: “Always give your work fully to the Lord”
    • That we are called to join with Jesus in his work… here and now
  • Rez is a DECLARATION that Jesus is alive
    • But it is also an INVITATION from God to you and me
    • Where Jesus says: New creation has begun… so lets get moving
    • There is a new world bursting at the seems…
      • Right in the midst of us
  • And we aren’t called to just hope and look to the resurrection
    • But to implement the resurrection thru every part of our lives
    • Living as part of the gospel message
    • To stand firm… let nothing move you… Labor in the Lord
      • B/C Resurrection is good news for everyone we meet…

But it’s also good news for you and me in the here and now

  • Jesus is alive and at work in you

Rom. 8:11(NIV)

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

  • This is so amazing… there is a rez power from God himself in you
    • And that isn’t just a theological talking point
    • That is reality of your truth… if you follow Jesus
  • And all u have to do is tap into it… take that step… lean in…
    • What is it that right here and now – You need to defeat
      • An addiction
      • Brokeness from your past
      • Fear/Anxiety/Depression/Anger
    • What is it that you need to defeat RIGHT HERE… RIGHT NOW
      • B/C the same rez power that defeated death itself
      • Lives inside of all who call on the name of Jesus

And if you aren’t a follower of Jesus – You can experience that in ur life

  • B/C of the resurrection – We have hope… for today & tomorrow
    • But remember that hope is something we HAVE and DO
      • It’s a noun (we have faith/hope/love)
      • It’s a command (hope in God)
  • And at least for me… hope the VERB is harder than hope the NOUN
    • Hope the noun – You have it b/c of Jesus – It’s just there
    • Hope the verb – Something you do and its not always easy
      • B/C its so easy to be consumed by cynicism of our world
        • To figure everything’s gonna go wrong
        • If they can hurt you… they will hurt you
  • And I think God is reminding us… Listen!
    • The tomb is empty
    • The story is victory
    • Resurrection power live sin you
      • So stop thinking so defeated because you are anything but

And I believe God is calling us this Easter back to hope

So if you are a follower of Jesus – Invitation today is to hope

  • Whatever you are up against… whatever life looks like in ur world
    • If its fantastic or gut wrenching
    • Its to hope in the power of resurrection for present & future
  • And hope isn’t wishful thinking…
    • It is the expectation of coming good based on character of God

And if you aren’t a follower of Jesus – Invitation is to become one

  • To step into the Gospel… the story – From creation to new creation
    • To join into God’s work… God’s Kingdom
  • To join into Jesus death… Making you right with God
    • Jesus died in your place… meaning you were supposed to die
      • Not just physically but spiritually
      • But instead Jesus died in your place to make you right
      • Your punishment was put on Jesus
  • And Jesus favor and right standing with God can be on you
    • If you will repent and put your faith/trust into Jesus
    • To join in his death… burial and his resurrection
  • And in that you tap into the power that will set u free
    • From everything that does not go by the name of Jesus

And the way that you do that (practically) – Your ready to surrender life

  • It’s thru confession… and then its thru baptism (2 weeks from now)
    • Baptism is the line in the sand… saying I’M ALL IN
    • What a wedding ceremony is to a romantic relationship
      • Baptism is to following Jesus
  • Baptism is the way you say “I’m in”
    • Not just for an emotional sermon… or a season of low times
    • Its I’m in for life
    • And not just “Until death do us part”
      • Because there is no death and there is no parting
      • This is how you are in
  • Baptism is symbolic for death/burial/resurrection

Rom. 6:3-5 (NIV)

Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like us, we will certainly also be united with him a resurrection like his.

  • So baptism is literal (real water)
    • But it is also symbolic
    • It’s a symbol of the death of your old life (into the waters)
    • Burial (under the waters)
    • And Resurrection (out of the water) – Transformed with hope
      • And now His power lives inside of you
      • To defeat all of Jesus enemies… which no longer control u

And that is the hope for everyone who says YES to Jesus


Note from Pastor Aaron:

Want to know more about Jesus and what it means to be a Christian. Did you just make a decision to make Jesus the Lord of your life? We have a new class starting next Wednesday at 6:30PM here at the church for you. We hope you will come so we can help you start your relationship with Jesus with confidence. I hope you can make it!


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