Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, Lent, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Passover, Resurrection Sunday
We, on the Single Adult Ministries team, hope that you are enjoying an Easter Season filled with wonder and deep meaning. Yeah, I said, “enjoying;” present tense, as in, that you haven’t put it back in the box and packed it away yet like so many other holidays that seem to just come and go.
Maybe you invited someone to church for their first time, attended services with family/friends or even on your own. However you may have experienced Easter this year, as Christians, we know that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is an amazing gift and the very foundation of our faith. So much so, in fact, that it’s worthy of our learning to celebrate it every day for the rest of our lives. For those who are unfamiliar with or want to know more about the whole story of Easter and Jesus’ Resurrection, at the top of this post, we’ve included links to each “event” within the Easter season to provide some background or even a helpful refresher.
Our hearts can swell with gratitude that we will never outlive the grace and mercy brought about and made available to us through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Yet, we can learn to live it out for the rest of our days in this world, by remembering and practicing the following key truths. This is not meant to be an all-inclusive list or even everything there is to say on the subject, but more of a “starter-kit” that each of us can add to each day as we build and practice obedience in our discipleship.
For believers, the resurrection story is one that elicits great hope in our futures; a story that consistently reminds us, “this world is not our home” and to remain steadfast, even in the midst of the challenges and ugliness of the world. The very fact that Jesus died and rose again can regularly rejuvenate the following truths within our day-to-day realities:
- He is both Savior and Lord.
Mark 16: 14-16 says, “Later, Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. 15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
Let’s never lose sight of the fact that there is nothing more powerful and amazing than Jesus’ being raised and released from the grips of death. Let’s never let this truth become less than an abundant wellspring of hope in our lives. His resurrection is a message to all the world that He has great power; more than most of us realize. And because of this, He is not only Savior; He is to be Lord over every aspect of our lives. Some see the truth of Jesus’ words in verse 16 as a rather harsh warning. They may want and be willing to accept Him as Savior but are resistant to making Him Lord. But it is only through Him that we avoid the just penalty of death and eternal separation from God, since He holds the power over sin and death. He is our only way to The Father and eternal life. In Him – as we make Him Lord overall – we can experience a life so much fuller and richer than ever we could in attempting to do things our own way. Through His death and resurrection, we, too are given the power to spend eternity in Heaven.
- He Opened the Doors for our Forgiveness.
Ephesians 1:7 says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace…”
All of our sins put Jesus on that cross. And the entire, just penalty for our sins was paid-in-full by Jesus’ dying on the cross. On a daily basis, we should remember that His life and death were the ultimate sacrifice. Jesus paid our debts and wiped clean our slates so that we could experience forgiveness and life eternal. His shed blood on our behalf also gives us the power to forgive others and even ourselves, both for things done and those left undone.
- The Gift of Salvation is Available and Waiting for Every One of Us.
Romans 10:9 reminds us, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
The cross is the extreme penalty for sin that Jesus suffered on our behalf. He was not a sinner, yet He made Himself the sacrifice for our sins. This led the way to the pathway of our eternal salvation. He came to save all who are lost. Through the power of resurrection, we are reminded that His love for us is alive and unchanging – forever. This is worth reminding ourselves of, committing ourselves to and once again receiving this amazing gift – every day!
- There is Hope Amid Terror and Fear.
The world is full of ugliness, anguish, hatred, and evil but, as followers of Jesus Christ, we have been given the power to be salt (preservatives) and light (hope and truth) to our dark, broken, decaying world. The story of Jesus’ resurrection represents that there is hope amid fear and light in the darkness.
In Ephesians 1:18-19 we are reminded, 18“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe…”
It’s not unusual or inappropriate that we experience (temporary) feelings of fear when we see all of the turmoil going on in the world, but in Jesus, we find optimism and courage. When we go through difficulties, we should pray for His wisdom, guidance, direction and even correction. Jesus has the answers and is the absolute best provider of genuine, sustainable hope.
- Christ Dwells Within Each of Us.
We are weak but can gain strength through Him. We are sinners but are forgiven through Him. We are empty but we are fulfilled through Him. Jesus’ promise to us is that through our faith in Him, we will, at all times; in every circumstance, have His Spirit dwelling within us.
His Spirit and wisdom and truth and grace are how we hold steadfast to His promise of eternal life.
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” — 2Corinthians 13:5
How can we know if we are in this faith and pass the test? I’ve seen this question answered in this way; “This test is internal and cannot be standardized to evaluate others. Each person must inspect his or her own heart to determine what motivates their personal behavior. No one else can evaluate the results. Those who discover they are motivate by Christ living within them are true believers.” If you believe, you will receive His life-giving Spirit. His life, death and resurrection all led the way for believers to receive The Holy Spirit.
“But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is life because of righteousness.”—Romans 8:10
His Holy Spirit lives inside us and provides the impetus and strength to be able to walk with hope and faith. At all times we can/should know that He protects us.
Join Us Next Week for Part II
This week, in our North Coast Church Daily Dose series, I think a good question is essentially posed to each of us; “How will your life change as a result of Jesus’ Resurrection?” I invite you to join me in checking out each day’s video lesson/devotional through this link.
His word provides us with direction and a roadmap on how to proceed in life. Having a better sense of where we are headed and how to get there naturally brings hope. Hope in the Resurrection of Christ Jesus and regularly renewing this hope through the study of and meditation upon His word breathes life.
Learning to keep the message of Jesus’ Resurrection alive throughout all the days of our lives will quite literally change the way that we live. As the ways in which we live change, the lives of others will be positively affected, as well. Jesus’ Resurrection paves the way. Let’s be reminded and remind one another of it every day.
He’s risen…and because He is, now we can be too.
Right here with you,