How the Resurrection Changes Everything

easter_2014_slide_mainHere are the sermon notes from Easter 2014! Listen to the podcast here.

There is a day coming when everything will be perfect.  As the Prophet Isaiah said, “When the lamb and the wolf will lay down together.”  The prophet Amos said, “When justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”  Dr. Martin Luther King said, “When the sweltering heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.”

 

The Apostle John wrote about the future world:

Revelation 21:3…Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” 5 the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!”… 6… “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. 7 All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

V:23 And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. 24 The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory.  25 Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there.  26 And all the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city. 27 Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

There will be no need for passwords on your computers, you won’t need a security system or even need to lock your doors. In fact, you don’t need doors. There is no need protection. There will be no need of keeping things out or keeping yourself in.

Revelation 22:3 No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him.4 And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. 5 And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.

 


 

This will be an awesome time! An unbelievable place of love, peace, joy, purity, justice.  All the situations that we thought were unresolved, God will resolve them.  We have always called that heaven. Heaven. The unadulterated Kingdom of God. A place of wonder.  HEAVEN IS FOR REAL! Before the movie and book made it famous. We have always known that HEAVEN IS FOR REAL!

But let’s be REAL honest! We live on a EARTH that is FAR different from Heaven!

The world that we live in is filled with flaws. We are surrounded by many people that are far from God. It is evident in their life status and situations.   When we look at many of the circumstances of our own lives sitting here at PSM this morning, There are aspects of our lives that are not right. Grief plagues humanity as we see many folks struggling for joy, lost in anger and bitterness, lonely. And includes a lot of people who go to church on a regular basis.

We live in a broken world. Why? We live in a world that is currently separated from Heaven. BUT IT WAS NOT ALWAYS LIKE THAT.

Genesis 1:1 in the Beginning God made the heaven and the earth.

You might think that these two realms were disconnected from each other, but no where in Genesis chapter 1 or 2 does it say that earth was down here and heaven is some disconnected thing far away. It does say that there were lightings in heaven to bring light to the earth, but it also says that birds flew in heaven too. They were distinct but interwoven and connected with each other. We see differences like night and day, land and water, fish and bird, man and female, etc, BUT everything was TOGETHER AND GOOD.

There is no separation or disconnectedness until chapter 3 when Humans decide to bail on God’s plan. From that point forward there is huge distinction and separation between heaven and earth!

For thousands of years, all throughout the Old Testament, the Israelites talked about the end of time when heaven and earth would be resolved again.

As you see the entire storyline of the Bible you begin to see a beautiful picture of redemption unfolding. A redemption that is not just the salvation of your individual soul, but a redemption that includes the entire cosmos.

Paul talked about this in his letter to the Romans

Romans 8:18Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. 19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

 

They called this great day at the end of the world the RESURRECTION.

When each of their loved ones died, they reminded themselves of the day when they would be resurrected. They believed a day would come when all of God’s kids would be resurrected and live with him forever.  In Matthew 22, Jesus was asked who would be married to who “in the Resurrection”. He used that moment to teach them about resurrection life.

The topic of resurrection came up again when Jesus was dealing with the death of Lazarus.

John 11:23Jesus said to Martha, “Your brother (Lazarus) will rise again.”24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again “in the resurrection” on the last day.”

The statement in the next verse is what changes everything forever.

25 Jesus said to her, “I AM THE RESURRECTION and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

This world of Heaven that was to be reserved for a future resurrection is now personified in front of their eyes! What a BOLD proclamation!  The promise of a new life where everything would be made right.  The eternal perfect Heaven and Earth coming together.

This resurrection that everyone thought was an event being reserved for the End of Time turns out to be rushing forward from the future to the present time!

A beautiful, perfect heavenly space and the broken earthly space were now overlapping in a person.  The only way that Jesus could claim to BE the resurrection as a person, is to in himself conquer death himself!

There will be a day when the earthly realm is completely restored as it was in the Garden of Eden and is united with the heavenly realm FOREVER. Both spaces will be one in the same. They will be inseparable.

Now, in our present, In the man JESUS CHRIST both of these realms overlap. In Jesus and Because of Jesus, the broken world doesn’t have to wait until the end of time to access the heavenly world.  He IS the resurrection and the life.  He said the Kingdom of Heaven is HERE. NOW.

Mark 1:15 The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.

Through Jesus, the Kingdom of God is here. Now.
In Mark 1:15, the terms “fulfilled” and “is at hand” literally means that the eternal God is RIGHT NOW BREAKING INTO your circumstances. Today.

Jesus says repent and believe. When you repent and believe, you begin living in the overlap of heaven and earth just as Jesus is.

BUT ANYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD, can find peace NOW, can find hope NOW.   We can abide in the Resurrection. We can rest in/stay in the hope that Jesus Christ IS our redeemer

There are some of you who are sort of on the outside looking in. You often feel trapped in the world that you live in. It seems as though you are unable to break from the depression. Some of you have job situation that is a dead-end and there seems to be no alternate solution. Others are struggling with a spousal romantic relationship and have given up.

The Resurrection brings Good News to you today.

The Kingdom of God is Breaking In and Bursting forth in your life.

The promised heaven of the future is rushing forwards in time to rescue you heart and mind.  Repent and Believe in the work of the Resurrected Christ!  What I am trying to say this morning is that your life can reflect the resurrection!

Your mind and heart can be at peace today no matter what type of brokenness you are facing on this earth.

A repentant heart, submitting to the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and the resurrection of the empty tomb begins to live in a NEW REALM. A place where heaven and earth overlap.

 

The Lamb of the Story

lambstoryMAINThese are the raw sermon notes from my message on April 13, 2014.  Palm Sunday.    You can get more clarity by listening to the podcast.

Exodus 12:1While the Israelites were still in the land of Egypt, the lord gave the following instructions to Moses and Aaron: 2 “From now on, this month will be the first month of the year for you. 3 Announce to the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each family must choose a lamb for a sacrifice, one animal for each household. 4 If a family is too small to eat a whole animal, let them share with another family in the neighborhood. Divide the animal according to the size of each family and how much they can eat. 5 The animal you select must be a one-year-old male, either a sheep or a goat, with no defects.  6 “Take special care of this chosen animal until the evening of the fourteenth day of this first month. Then the whole assembly of the community of Israel must slaughter their lamb at twilight.  7 They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the sides and top of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the animal.  8 That same night they must roast the meat over a fire and eat it along with bitter salad greens and bread made without yeast.  9 Do not eat any of the meat raw or boiled in water. The whole animal—including the head, legs, and internal organs—must be roasted over a fire. 10 Do not leave any of it until the next morning. Burn whatever is not eaten before morning. 11 “These are your instructions for eating this meal: Be fully dressed, wear your sandals, and carry your walking stick in your hand. Eat the meal with urgency, for this is the lord’s Passover. 12 On that night I will pass through the land of Egypt and strike down every firstborn son and firstborn male animal in the land of Egypt. I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt, for I am the lord! 13 But the blood on your doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.

The Passover demonstrates the uniqueness. For Jews and Christians – the Passovers defines and gives identity.  At the center of Judaism and Christianity is the bloody death of a helpless victim.  Why? What does it mean?

 

There is a Bible long story of the Lamb.

 

The Offering of the Lamb

The Pharoh won’t let the people go. God says he will strike down every first born.

v.23 Moses says- the Lord will not let the destroyer into your house to strike you down.

There is a simple fact/law: when you violate God’s laws you unleash forces of destruction, disintegration, and chaos.

Examples:

  • If you overwork- career as an idol leads to breakdown of all sorts of life
  • Holding a grudge- there is breakdown and disintegration of all sorts.

When God says the destroyer will come, I have scrolled ahead and in one night and in one place, eternal/divine judgment day justice (consequence) will be focused at one point in one place. There will be a preliminary, temporary but devastating judgment day. Not just the forces of destruction, disintegration, and chaos that are out there in general, but for one night there will be a release of destruction.

I’m about to unleash the most irresistible, unstoppable, irreversible force in the universe. The destroyer. It will go through the most powerful military and dynasty that the world has ever seen (Egypt). It will go right through it like a knife going through hot butter.

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How Superstition Has Crept into the Church

1932769_10152302758534887_2049324636_oRELIGIOUS SUPERSTITION strips away the whole concept of relationship.

With superstition, God is no longer your father, and you are not his child. Instead, God is a magician.  You have to say the right recipe prayer and it will unlock some secret door of heaven and all of the sudden YOU will get what you want.  People often read the Bible from a selfish perspective as if the end objective or Goal is about you. As if the story is about you.

Here are 3 areas that I believe superstition has crept into the church.  After I describe them, I will give my thoughts on the truth of the Gospel. Click here to hear my sermon on the topic.

1.  Power of Tongue (good or bad) or the Power of your Speech

I actually read this phrase on church website last week.  It summarizes the belief of the “Power of the Tongue”  -

“What you say is what you have! The sum of where you are today, good or bad, is the sum of what you have been saying.”

People that believe this statement have taken a few scriptures and turned them into a superstitious ritual of getting what YOU want out of life.

Just a quick question before we go any further: If everything that comes out of your mouth is immediately becoming fact, then who is God? You.  Whatever God speaks happens. Therefore, if whatever you speaks happens then you are God.

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How Does Superstition Affect Your Faith?

1932769_10152302758534887_2049324636_oWe are started a new sermon series this weekend, called VERY SUPERSTITIOUS! Where is our fear and faith based?

Let’s talk about some of the most common bad luck and good luck traditions that we have.

Bad Luck – broken mirrors, open umbrellas inside, walking under ladders, black cat crossing, spilled salt, placing purse on floor, saying something positive will jinx, itching ears is gossip about you,   Next week we are going to talk about OJO! Get ready for that one!

Good Luck – rabbit foot keychain, picking up coins, 4 leaf clovers, wish on a falling star, wish on birthday candles (don’t tell anyone), wishbone at thanksgiving, itching palms means money,

Another tradition that we have in our culture is saying “Bless You!” after someone sneezes. Some people are automatic blessers. Others are familiar blessers. Others never say bless you.  Sometimes I’m not sure if I will say it or not.  Do I say it? Do I not say it?  If the situation is reverse and I just sneezed, I wait to see if anyone will bless my sneeze.  When no one blesses me… #smh

Superstition= a belief or notion (not based on reason or knowledge) in the significance (positive or negative) of a thing, action, habit, etc.

(A belief that you have that something is good or bad based on no reason or knowledge.)

Most of you probably aren’t sidetracked too much with the ones we have talked about already.  So, Let’s broaden the spectrum a little bit.

While studying and researching this sermon series has been brutal!  As soon as I feel like I have a grasp on it, it see slivers of superstition rooting itself all through our society.  It is like a spider web sneaking across all parts of our lives.

Many unmerited beliefs are classified as “false religions”.   We recognize some of these superstitious things as other religions.  Some we would classify as witchcraft, weird, strange.

However, where it affects our congregation and San Marcos is where the influence of these belief systems have been integrated into the Christian church.

Throughout the centuries, people have taken the message of Jesus and allowed:

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I baptized my boys!

I have baptized hundreds of people. Strangers. Friends. Family.

However, until this past Sunday I had never baptized one of my kids.  I baptized 2 of them. Wow! What a special day.

The whole service was unique because we were focusing on children.  We wanted to show our congregation how important the next generation IS (not will be) and we wanted the adults to remember how important it is to remain like kids.  You can check out the sermon notes here.  You can listen to the message podcast here.

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Erica and I have been talking to our boys about baptism for years.  Of course, they see tons of people baptized at church every year.  They are compelled to talk about it and ask tons of questions.  Erica and I have been extremely careful to push the decision later in life.  Something in us wanted to make sure the boys were making the decision for themselves and not simply because their friends were or because there was any pressure from mom and dad.

The last month or so, the boys have been telling us over and over that they wanted to be baptized.  I would quiz them over and over with random questions.  I would surprise them in the car, around the dinner table, or getting ready for bed.  “Why do you want to be baptized?”  “What does baptism mean to you?”  “What does sin mean to you?”  “How does sin go away from you?”

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