Sermon Title: “The Peace and Hope of the Risen Christ”
Date: Sunday, April 1, 2018 (Easter Sunday)
Speaker: Pastor Joseph
Christ is Risen!
As we gather on this Easter morning to celebrate the “Risen Christ,” I would like to share five practical ideas with you that will enhance your faith and reassure your peace in the risen Christ. Also, I would like to highlight six ways the resurrection of Jesus Christ benefit believers.
- Everyone will die, so we grieve.
At the death of Lazarus, Jesus weeps (John 11:35). But death is not the end of life or everything: John 8:51/John 8:52/John 5:24
- The Resurrection of Christ is the ground of our hope and peace in God (Romans 5:1-5).
All the four Gospels report the historic event we call the resurrection of Jesus: Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-18; Luke 24:1-49; John 20. These stories are given to us not just to make a plausible defense for the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus; they serve as a catalyst for the Christian hope, both in the present and the future time.
- For example, in Matthew 28:6, this text compels us to trust and hope in God’s promises: “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.”
- The question many of the women disciples were asking “Who will roll away the stone for us” (Mark 16:3). Some of you have big stones in your life, you are wondering today and at this moment where will my hope come from? You’re looking for a breakthrough? You’re looking for a divine intervention only God can do.
What are then the benefits of the resurrection of Christ for us?
Let me outline six of these Christological benefits:
The resurrection of Christ guarantees the forgiveness of sin (1 Corinthians 15:17).
- The resurrection of Christ establishes our new life in the present and look forward to the one in the future (Romans 6:5-11).
- The resurrection of Jesus proves that the Christ has complete power over our sins and incredible power over all forces of darkness, that death has no power over us, and that his sacrifice was enough for our sins (Romans 4:25).
- The resurrection of Christ ensures us about the faithfulness and trustworthiness of God (1 Corinthians 15:15).
- The resurrection of Christ demonstrates the incredible love of God in Christ (Ephesians 2:5)
- The resurrection of Christ reassures our future glorious resurrection in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:20-23), and that this present circumstances in this life do not identify us nor limit our potentialities in Christ ( Philippians 3:20-21)
We must always remember that the resurrection appearances of the risen Christ are meant to strengthen faith, enhance hope, and to instill peace in our hearts. Resurrection Appearances (See Handout)
- God will give us peace in our sufferings and hurts, and death cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ
- Romans 8:31-35
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
Let’s learn a few practical lessons from the Negro Spirituals
The black Christian slaves longed for the liberation of their body and holistic freedom from their master; although slavery as an evil institution dehumanizes the enslaved and the master often breaks their body through physical abuse and oppression, the Christian slave resisted the oppression of this world and longed for something greater in another world. give heed to the words of this black spiritual:
- Ultimate and sustaining freedom and liberation is from God and God alone
.” Oh Freedom! Oh Freedom!
Oh Freedom, I love thee!
And before I’ll be a slave,
I’ll be buried in my grave,
And go home to my Lord and be free.”
Hope in the midst of despair: Another spiritual goes like this:
- God is our Liberator
We’ll soon be free,
We’ll soon be free,
We’ll soon be free,
When de Lord will call us home.
- Trust God even in the darkest hour. He will see you through.
My Lord delivered Daniel,
My Lord delivered Daniel,
My Lord delivered Daniel,
Why can’t He deliver me?
James H Cone writes about the theme of liberation and the slaves’ steadfastness in this remarkable paragraph:
“The message of liberation in the spirituals is based on the biblical contention that God’s righteousness is revealed in deliverance of the oppressed from the shackles of human bondage. That message was an expression of the slave’s confidence that God can be trusted to stand by God’s word. God does not lie. The slave firmly believed that “God would make a way out of no way,” meaning that God’s providential care of God’s children cannot be thwarted by white masters. So, the slaves lived their life struggling to realize their human potentialities grounded in the faith that God’s liberation is at work in the world; and God’s will to liberate black slaves will become a reality in this land and “all flesh shall see it together.” (James H. Cone, The Spirituals and the Blues) And they sang with assurance:
- God will raise you up. He is your honor and glory. He is the lifting up of your hands.
Children, we shall be free
When the Lord shall appear.
Give ease to the sick, give sight to the blind,
Enable the cripple to walk;
He’ll raise the dead from under the earth,
And give them permission to Talk.
Here, the slaves are alluding to Luke 4: 18-19
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
How does God provide peace and hope?
There is no specific formula. God cannot be predicted, nor could human wisdom control this mighty and sovereign God. God is not subservient to anyone nor can he be manipulated by human craftiness. However, regarding God’s offering peace, comfort, and hope to families and individuals in despair and dark times, there are some practical lessons we can draw from Scripture about Jesus’ encounter with people.
- Sometimes, peace and healing come when they are least expected.
In the Gospel of John in the fifth chapter (John 5:1-9), it is reported that Jesus meets a man who has been an invalid for thirty-eight years (5:5) (an invalid is an individual who is “1. an infirm or sickly person. 2. a person who is too sick or weak to care for himself or herself: My father was an invalid the last ten year of his life.”) who has been waiting for someone to throw him in the pool of Bethesda, so he could be made whole. First, this gentleman was physically too weak to go in the pool on his own; secondly, there at the pool gathered a long line of “disabled peopled including the blind, the lame, and the paralyzed” (5:4), all hoping to be healed and restored, physically. guess what, Jesus initiates the conversation because he wants to change his life; he wants to give him a new future; he wants to give him a new identity. Jesus approaches this invalid man simply because he loves him and cares for him. Now, pay close attention to the nature of this conversation between the Lord Jesus and this paralyzed man:
Jesus: “When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” (verse 6)
The invalid man: “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” (verse 7)
Jesus: “Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” (verse 9)
John: “At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked” (verse 10)
What we learn about Jesus: he is compassionate and ready to make a miracle in your life.
- Sometimes, God gives you peace, hope, and healing in the last minute when it seems that he is distant and away from me, and when all human hope is gone, and when no human effort or resources can bring happiness, joy, and satisfaction.
- Jesus heals the bleeding woman ((Matthew 9:20–22, Mark 5:25–34, Luke 8:43–48)
In the Gospel of Luke, we are informed about a woman who was has been bleeding for twelve years and no one was able to stop the bleeding (Luke 8:43). In the Gospel of Mark, we are told that “she had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse” (Mark 5:26).
Her life will forever change when she meets Jesus:
According to Matthew (9:21), this suffering and bleeding woman “said to herself, ‘If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Mark provides the context of this inner thought of this woman of hope: “When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, ‘If I just touch is clothes, I will be healed” (5:28). Her life would be radically changed when she touched Jesus, not when Jesus touched her. We must touch Jesus if we want to be healed and delivered from our oppression, suffering, and pain. As the text tells us:
“She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped” (Luke 8:44). I really love how Mark report this incident: “Immediately her bleeding stopped, and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering” (Luke 5:29). Matthew reports, “Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you.’ And the woman was healed at that moment” (9:22).
Is there anyone in this room with physical pain or a mental illness? I want to tell you this morning the risen Christ can set you free.
- Sometimes, God offers his peace, comfort, and hope in the most excruciating moment in our lives where we experience pain and suffering, disappointments, dehumanization, hurt, isolation, solitude, and abuse; yet, even in the moment of death, God shows us powerfully to demonstrate his compassion towards us, to heal us, to restore us, to recover us, to remake us, and to reconstruct our lives:
One of the most moving stories recorded in the Bible and in John 11: 1-44 is the death of Jesus’s best friend Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha. Jesus sympathizes with the family that was hurting and suffering. Let’s observe Jesus’ specific attitude toward them:
Mary and Martha: “So the sisters sent word to Jesus, ‘Lord, the one you love is sick” (John 11:3)
Jesus: “When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” (verse 4)
Commentator: “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days” (verse 6)
Jesus: Jesus the compassionate Lord and Savior takes the initiative to go so he could heal his friend: “He went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up” (verse 11)
17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles[b] from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus: 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus: 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Jesus: “Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance” (verse 38)
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
***Just like Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he can set you free today from shackles of oppression, abuse, exploitation, he can revive those dead bones in your bone.
- Death does not separate us from God and his love
- Psalm 23:4
“Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.”
- 3:20, 21
20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
- Jesus is our hope and our righteousness
- Because of that, God will give us hope in our suffering
- 2 Cor. 1: -3-4
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
- Romans 8:1
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”
- Jesus is the Resurrection of life, therefore God will resurrect our body
. 4 ‘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.”