Sermon Notes for Sunday, April 8, 2007. Easter
A 9 to 5 World
1 Corinthians 15:12-28
It’s Easter Sunday and we are going to sing songs we sing only once a year; we are going read Scripture that we read only once a year. The History Channel has people with impressive degrees behind their name telling us that Jesus’ resurrection was ‘spiritual’ only and that he was buried and his bones are still in the ground. They hint that only naïve people actually believe in the resurrection and that only the uneducated would fall for the idea. Not wanting to be thought of as naïve or uneducated we tend to secretly believe that also.
Well, for the last 17 centuries we have confessed that in fact we do believe in the resurrection and not as some ‘new age’ event; not as something that happened long, long ago in galaxy far, far away. The only person outside of the holy trinity and the Virgin Mary to be named in the creed is Pontius Pilate. The faith is grounded in actual events in the real world. This is not just some timeless truth that can be believed outside the world of history. God’s actions have always happened in the real world to real people. This is not a fairy tale with Hansel and Gretel.
In the real world of Pilate God did something that changed the world. He resurrected his Son and that action forever changed the world. It was the completing act of salvation. Salvation is not based solely on the death of Jesus; it is based on the entire Christ event: His life, death and resurrection. Without the final act the first two just make for an interesting story; but a story that is incomplete.
The resurrection is the first stage in the renewing of creation. As Paul said in our reading that a day is coming when all God’s enemies will be destroyed and death will be no more and Christ will be all and in all. The resurrection is the first fruits of that day.
The resurrection of the body, as we say toward the end of the creed, is about our bodily resurrection at the end of time as we know it. That resurrection is far more than just going to heaven when we die; it is the restoration of all God intended us to be before we wrecked the world with our sin.
In a 9 to 5 world does the resurrection mean anything? Yes. It is the great hope giver. We are besieged with news of global warming, war, evil of every sort and it makes us wonder about goodness and hope. But the resurrection is the voice that cries in the darkness that hope is alive and well. God is giving us an undying hope that goodness will win the day, that gloom is not the final fate of those who have faith.
When we stand at the foot of a grave, we need to remember that death has been defeated in resurrection. That moment is not the final moment, as much as it may like it; it is not the final moment. Death is defeated, life has won the day, and salvation is complete.
This happened in real time to real people and it is happening now; it will happen tomorrow, and it will continue to happen everyday until the new kingdom arrives, and then it will be complete!
There is resurrection in the 9 to 5 world.
Devotional Guide. Monday, April 9, 2007. Put yourself in the shoes of the ladies who went to the tomb that first morning. (Luke 24:1-12). What would your reaction have been to the angels telling you that he was not there but risen? How easy would it have been to believe then? How easy is it to believe now? Read the passage again slowly and what word or phrase sets out at you? Ask God what you need to learn from this passage.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007. Hebrews 2:14-18. Life can be pretty scary! Then, there is the fear of death! Notice what the writer is saying here. Death has been destroyed and the slavery that the fear of death has held over us has been defeated. How? Through Christ. Christ’s defeat of satan and death have broken the back of fear. He has passed through and out the other side. Because he has won, he is able to help us who are being tested. What fear do you have that the resurrection can dissolve in your life?
Wednesday, April 11, 2007. You have a symbol of the resurrection in your life. It is baptism. In Romans 61-14 Paul tells us that if we have been identified with him in death we shall be identified with him in resurrection. If we have died with Christ to the old way of life, we have been raised to new life in him. Touch your forehead, repeat to yourself, ‘Remember you have been baptized’ and rest in the new life Christ has given you.
Thursday, April 12, 2007. In the last few days as we have seen the flowers and trees begin to bud and we know that soon there will be an explosion of green. Those first few sprouts are a reminder of what is to come. That is what Paul says about the resurrection of Jesus in 1 Corinthians 15:20. His resurrection is a foretaste of what is to come. Christ is the first fruit then all those who belong to him.
Friday, April 13, 2007. Triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13, has no place among us. It is just a number. There are more powerful numbers. Seven is considered the number of perfection. Notice how seven is used in the Bible, days of creation, seven spirits of God, etc. Some of the early church fathers begin to talk about the 8th day of creation. That day is the resurrection, for it is on that day that God’s new creation began. How do you celebrate the 8th day? What does it mean to you?