For those who trust in and treasure Christ, the resurrection is the linchpin of our faith. Everything hinges on it. We are a people who are trusting everything we have and are on the fact that Jesus, a man we’ve never seen, has died and been raised again. Because so much hangs on the resurrection, numerous benefits of salvation flow directly from it. As we approach this Sunday, I am thinking upon a few of these things and hope you will as well.
If Jesus is alive, you have been forgiven.
Paul put it this way, “and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins,” (1 Cor. 15:17). But he hasbeen raised, therefore you are not still in your sins. That means that once for all you have been cleared and your guilt has been taken away. The resurrection proved that the cross was effective. If Jesus is dead, he wasn’t God, and if he wasn’t God, he couldn’t take away sin.
But he was. So he did.
If Jesus is alive, you have hope.
Peter said that the Father God “has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1 Peter 1:3). I can think of no more hopeless situation than death. To be dead is to be without hope because no one can impart life or has control over it. Except Christ. Death has nothing on him, so he lays his life down that he may take it up again (John 10:17-18). If Christ has that kind of power over death, he has power over anything in your life. That’s hope.
If Jesus is alive, nothing temporary can steal your joy.
For the believer in Christ, his joy is Christ. Christ is greater than anything this world offers and the believer in Christ knows this. Often we give up this joy and focus our attention and energy on low things. That’s why we have this verse, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is,” (Col. 3:1). God knows that we have the tendency to surrender our joy in the face of temporary pressures, so he gives us this reminder. Our joy is fixed on something this world can’t take away or compromise or belittle or degrade or kill. It’s in Christ.
There are obviously more than these, but I pray that as you celebrate Easter this week, you will think upon Christ’s resurrection and remember that you are forgiven and be filled with hope and joy.
This past Sunday we looked at Jesus’ one commandment for us—to love. He says in John 15:12, “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.”
Can you think of a more pleasant and agreeable command? His command is not hard labor, structured religion, avoiding sin, or giving money. It’s love. It’s not having a shiny exterior or perfect attendance at church or a sparkling attitude all the time. It’s love. It’s unfettered affection for people—for each other. That is pleasant.
Love wants the best. If we love ourselves, we want the best for ourselves. If we love family, we want the best for them. If we love our neighbors and community, we want the best for them. So Jesus’ command to us is to want the best for others.
To love is to tell
What is the best? What is the most lasting and fulfilling way that we can show others we care about them? It’s the gospel.
If we truly believe that everyone is enslaved to sin and hopeless without the salvation that comes only through trusting in Christ, then the most loving thing we can do for them is to point them to the gospel.
People need forgiveness because they’ve sinned, healing because they’re hurt, wholeness because they’re broken, rest because they’re tired, and purpose because they’re wandering. They find all of this in Christ. It’s our duty, and delight, to steer them toward Christ.
Fishing Day—March 24
Next Sunday, March 24, we will be going out as a church body into our community to love others by pointing them to the gospel. We may share the gospel with them. We may communicate how much we care by showing up and spending a few moments talking to them. We may just invite them to our Easter services. But we will show them in some small way that we love them.
Easter Sunday—March 31
This year we are having additional events on Easter to hopefully help visitors participate in something other than just our morning worship service. For this reason, we have restructured our Sunday morning schedule. Please take note of these changes.
I hope that as we approach the Easter season the love of God will be perfected in us in such a way that we see it flow out of us toward others. Christ is risen!