We Believe Jesus Rose Again

Bible Book: 1 Thessalonians  4 : 14
Subject: Resurrection
Series: Ready to Live - Ready to Leave

Easter Sunday is the brightest and best day of the year for the Christian. It is a day of triumph, a day of victory. It tells us that all things are possible through Christ, our risen Lord.

A teacher asked her class what each of them wanted to be when they grew up: President; ball player; fireman; astronaut. One by one they answered until the teacher came to a little boy named Bobby. The teacher asked, "Bobby, what do you want to be when you grow up?"

Bobby responded by saying he wanted to be Possible when he grew up. The teacher thought he had misunderstood. "Possible?" she asked, "You want to be possible?"

Bobby said, "Yes, I want to be possible."

The teacher asked, "Bobby, why do you want to be possible, what does that mean?"

Bobby replied, "My mother is always telling me I'm impossible. So, when I grow up, I want to become possible!"

Let me tell you that without the power of Christ, Easter would not be possible. It was not only possible, it became a reality on that Sunday after the death of our Lord on the Cross the previous Friday.

"Up from the grave he arose,

With a mighty triumph o’er His foes.

He arose a victor from the dark domain,

And He lives forever with His saints to reign.

He arose, He arose, Hallelujah, He arose!"

A family was watching a movie of the life of Jesus on television. Their six-year-old daughter was deeply moved as the film realistically portrayed Jesus' crucifixion and death. Tears ran down the little girl's face as they took him from the cross and laid him in a borrowed tomb. She watched as a guard was set. Suddenly, a big smile broke on her face. She bounced up on the arm of the chair and said with great anticipation, "Now comes the good part." Yes, indeed, this is the good part. The resurrection of our Lord changes everything!

Paul emphasized the resurrection of Christ as he penned his letter to the Christians at Thessalonica. In fact, a belief in the resurrection of Christ is required for a person to become a Christian. In Romans 10:9 we read, "...confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." So, one must believe in the doctrine of the resurrection in order to become part of the family of God. To deny the resurrection is to deny redemption in your life.

On that first Easter Sunday five fabulous facts were realized and ought to be remembered today by every believer. Note these tremendous truths with me.

I. Dreadful Fear Was Neutralized

In Matthew 28:5 we see recorded the first words spoken to the women who had come to the grave of Jesus on that Sunday morning. What are those words? "Fear not!" Why those particular words?

First of all, to be greeted by an open tomb would have been a little frightening.

Secondly, to be greeted by glittering angels would have been a little disconcerting.

Thirdly, the entire weekend had left the entire group of believers afraid of the authorities. Put all this together and you can see why they should have been and would have been afraid. But Easter was not meant to be a time of fear! So, the angel said, "Fear not!"

Later Jesus appeared to the disciples and said, "Peace be with you." In other words, He told them to remove fear and enjoy His peace! The resurrection was meant to be a fear-buster! And exactly what kind of fear could the resurrection remove?

A. The Fear of Death

Death is the black camel that has knelt at every home. Death is the interloper that invades every family. But Jesus rose to assure us that death has been defeated. When we come to the empty tomb, we know that death has been dealt with.

B. The Fear of Deeds

The Bible tells us that Jesus was raised for our justification. We read in Romans 4:23-5:1, "The words 'it was credited to him' were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness - for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

This passage speaks of Abraham, but points out that the resurrection of Jesus assure us that we are justified. Justification is the doctrine which states that believers are forgiven and cleansed through Christ. It is 'just as if I’d never sinned.' The resurrection of Christ was to assure us that our past deeds of wrong, our sins, have been taken away, destroyed.

Two hunters were out in the woods hunting upon a day when they noticed the smell of smoke. Within minutes they realized that a raging forest fire, driven by strong winds, was coming right at them. They did not panic. They started another fire right behind them. The wind carried the fire away from them burning the ground behind them. Then, they stepped over into the burned area. When the forest fire got to them, they were on ground that already burned away and were saved from certain death.

Jesus took the fire of the judgment of God at Calvary. When we accept Him as our Savior, we are stepping over on ground where the judgment has already come.

In God’s courtroom there is no chance of double jeopardy – we can’t be tried for something that has already been tried and paid for. Jesus took our trial. Jesus paid our debt. Jesus was raised from the dead and lives to make intercession for us. Thank God for the removal of our sins – the fear of judgment for our deeds is removed!

A little girl was walking home one night and her friend was going with her, to spend the night with her. The little girl said, "Come on, we are going to walk through the cemetery, it is a short cut to my house."

Her friend hesitated and then asked, "Aren’t you afraid to walk through the cemetery?"

The little girl said, "I am not afraid of the cemetery, just on the other side of the cemetery is home!"

Hallelujah! Death need hold no fear for us. Why? Because Jesus lives, we shall live. Just on the other side of the cemetery is home!

II. Dynamic Faith Was Energized

A. They had a Faith that Overcame the Past

On the day Jesus died, a verdict had been pronounced by the world. Jesus had been rejected.

A verdict had been pronounced by the political society. Jesus had been rejected.

A verdict had been pronounced by the religious community. Jesus had been rejected.

It appeared that even heaven had pronounced a verdict. Jesus had been rejected by the Heavenly Father.

As Jesus was buried, the hopes of the disciples were buried with Him. After all, every verdict was against Him. But, on Sunday morning, the verdict was reversed! The world, the devil, the religious community, and the people were proved wrong in their assessment of Jesus! He was and is the King of Glory. He took sin down, left it there, and came back. When the disciples saw Him, they were overwhelmed. They had seen Him die, now they saw Him alive. They had an energized faith! They were witnesses of this great event. God had pronounced the final verdict. He raised His Son from the dead. The disciples had an energized with faith! In Acts they preached it, 'You crucified Him but God raised Him from the dead!' It was a cry of victory. Hopelessness had been reversed.

B. They had a Faith Sufficient for the Present

Very little had changed for the disciples of Jesus. The government of Rome was still in control. The various religious groups were still in power. The people were still capricious and vacillating.  The devil was still at work. It was not their circumstances that had changed, it was their faith. They had seen the risen Lord. They suddenly were filled with awesome faith and power.

Over thirty years ago there was a philosophy in the pseudo-religious community called the, 'God is Dead' philosophy. Out in San Diego was the wonderful black preacher named S. M. Lockridge. They asked Lockridge what he thought of that theory, that God is dead. He said, "That can't be true. I am part of the next of kin and I was not notified."

The disciples of Jesus realized that they were part of God’s family and Jesus was their elder brother. He had conquered death and enlivened life. Their had an energized faith.

III. Devoted Followers Were Mobilized

When Jesus first saw the women who had come to the tomb, He told them to go tell His disciples to meet Him in Galilee. The Bible said that they ran with the news. When Thomas was not present at the Sunday night appearance of Jesus, the disciples went to tell him. At the next appearance of Christ, Thomas was there. In other words, they got word to him. They could not keep quite about Jesus.

When Jesus met with His disciples after His resurrection, He told them to go into all the world to make disciples. This was a daunting command. It seemed impossible for poor fishermen and former notorious sinners to go carry an important message like this to the world. But, they did not ask how. They did not ask about how much it would cost. They did not ask when. They did not ask who. They did not ask anything. They were mobilized within a few days after the Holy Spirit had filled them. Luke at Acts, chapter 2, and note the birth of the Church. You will note several things about the disciples.

A. They were ready to Preach

"Today he rose and left the dead,

And Satan's empire fell;

Today the saints his triumph spread,

And all his wonders tell." (from Spurgeon's Encyclopedia of Sermons)

B. They were ready to Pray

They went to the Upper Room and prayed in one accord. O, that our churches might do that today! They prayed as the Church was founded in Jerusalem, and they did so continually. Why was prayer so urgent and steadfast? They had a risen Savior who was interceding before the Father in heaven. They were not wishing, they were praying! They were not hoping, they were praying? It was not magic, it was the voice of God's people lifted up to His Majesty!

C. They were ready with Possessions

They were determined to give all He demanded because He had given all He had for them. They weren't arguing over whether tithing was an Old Testament Law, they were giving in a New Testament LOVE! It was not a percentage of their possessions that they were ready to give, it as all they had!

D. They were ready in Partnership

They joined as one body to do God's will. The church today is too politicized and fragmented. Many members act like they are part of church political party. These early Christians knew they had a King and He called upon them to work together as one people for the one Lord. They united and no force of earth or hell could stop them. The gates of Hell had no means of holding them back.

They were mobilized to take the Gospel to the world. Think of this for a moment. A handful of mostly uneducated, basically poor, loosely organized people in Jerusalem knew without a doubt that they were going to reach the entire world with their message. They had no means of mass communication. They had no way of even knowing what the "world" actually was, but they knew at His command and with His power they were going to do His will. That is still possible. He is still Lord. We are still His people. He is alive and we are live in Him. Let us never fear the task before us or shrink from our duty. We are serving - not A risen Lord - we are serving THE risen Lord.

IV. Divine Fellowship Was Personalized

Jesus told them that He would be with them to the end of the age. Up until this point, the Lord was with them for a while and then He would depart. The resurrection meant that they would be blessed with the divine presence at all times.

Our Lord has promised never to leave us nor forsake us. He sent His Spirit to dwell within us. The resurrection, and the subsequent ascension, made way for the sending of the Holy Spirit to indwell every believer. The Spirit is God’s presence with us. Never again would a disciple of Christ  be alone or away from His Lord. Hallelujah for the resurrection!

V. Dramatic Future Was Visualized

The resurrection set the stage for the future. He is alive. What can harm Him now? We have a victorious future secured by His blood and sealed with His promises. He lives to make intercession for us evermore! Can one promise that our Lord made to the redeemed every fail? Never! He lives to see that it will be done. Can one child of His ever fall? Never! He lives to keep us. We do not have a 'dead' hope but a 'living hope.,' as Peter told us in 1 Peter, chapter 1. The songwriter penned:

"One day when heaven was filled with His praises,

One day when sin was as black as could be,

Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin,

Dwelt among men - my example is He!

REFRAIN: Living - He loved me, dying - He saved me,

Buried - He carried my sins far away;

Rising - He justified freely, forever:

One day He's coming - O glorious day!

One day they led Him up Calvary's mountain,

One day they nailed Him to die on the tree;

Suffering anguish, despised and rejected,

Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He!

One day they left Him alone in the garden,

One day He rested, from suffering free;

Angels came down o'er His tomb to keep vigil -

Hope of the hopeless, my Savior is He!

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer,

One day the stone rolled away from the door;

Then He arose, over death He has conquered,

Now is ascended, my Lord evermore!

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming,

One day the skies with His glory will shine;

Wonderful day, my beloved ones bringing!

Glorious Savior, this Jesus is mine!" (J. Wilbur Chapman, 1908)

One man said, "I hate to admit that my wife gets her way, but she writes events in her diary five days ahead of time." Friends, God wrote the victory ahead of time. When we belong to the risen Christ, we have a great and wonderful future. Let us rise up as His people and do His will. Let us remember that He walks with us and talks with us, and He tell us we are His own.

You want to be on the winning team? Come to Jesus today. He is alive and everything else is dying. Turn from self and sin, and accept the risen LORD! He is calling to you because He died for you and rose from the grave to save you.