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Christ has risen - how it effects the elect

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Christ has risen

The benefits for the elect

 

Announcements

Bible presented

Call to worship

Luke 24:6-7: Christ has risen! Remember …: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ 

; Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)

Blessing

Grace and peace to you from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne,
and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. (Revelation 1:4-5)

Doxology Hymn 222:1             “Yours is the glory (1st verse only)”

The congregation be seated.           

Prayer of Adoration, Invocation and Thanksgiving

Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,

Gathered in your Name, called together by your Holy Spirit, we now bow in adoration and praise. Help us, O Spirit, to glorify our Father and our God. 

The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. Hence you observe the sons of men; your eyes examine them.

Glorious and majestic are your deeds, and your righteousness endures forever. You have caused your wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
You provide food for those who fear You; You remember your covenant forever. You have shown your people the power of your works, giving them the lands of other nations. The works of your hands are faithful and just; all your precepts are trustworthy. You provided redemption for your people; You ordained your covenant forever— holy and awesome is your name. To You belong eternal praise.

Lord Jesus Christ, as we consider the cross on which you died and the sacrifice which you made there, we see the utter sinfulness of sin. We see our wrongdoing, which caused you to be made a curse. We see our rebellion which deserves your Father's righteous anger.

We become conscious of our guilt by your crown of thorns, your pierced hands and feet, your bruised and broken body, your utter forsakenness.

Your blood is the blood of incarnate God, of infinite worth, beyond value. How great must be the evil and guilt of sin that demands so high a price!

Sin is such a powerful enemy within. It is present from birth and it darkens our mind, it hardens our heart, it corrupts our conscience and it tarnishes even our best efforts.

Sinners as we are, why should the sun continue to shine upon us, or the air give us breath, or the earth bear us up, or the fruits of the field nourish us?

Yet your compassion reaches out to us, your heart grieves for us, your love endured our curse, your mercy bore our punishment, your grace grants us forgiveness, pardon and peace.

Help us to walk anew in the light of your grace, broken and humble before you, washed continually in the blood of sacrifice, cleansed of a guilty conscience, raised to a whole new way of life, mighty and triumphant as heirs of salvation, in

With Martin Luther we confess and thank you:  Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness, I am your sin. You have taken upon yourself what is mine, and given me what is yours. You have made yourself what I was not, by taking to yourself what you were not.

Lord’s Prayer

Hymn No 225:                            “Jesus Christ is risen today”

(sing in echo as indicated on the screen)

Prayer for others

Scripture Reading                     Psalm 16:8-11

                                                 (; on verse 10)

Hymn (Screen):                          “These are the facts”

(Psalm Praise)

Children’s Address

Elder John Miller

Hymn on the screen

Tithes, offering and dedication

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. (Malachi 3:10)

While the offering is taken up, all remaining seated sing:

Hymn no 234:                              “Christ the Lord is risen today”

Dedication prayer

Eternal God, every good gift comes from above, a certain sign of our Father’s love, in appreciation of which we return thanks by presenting these your tithes and our offerings, the first fruits of our labour, from hearts full of love to you for your mercy and grace. Be pleased to bless both these gifts and we who bring them, for the advancement of your Gospel and Kingdom, and the glory of your great name, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. AMEN.

Scripture Reading:                    1Corinthians 15:12-28

Sermon                                          Christ has risen: 

The benefits for the elect

My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,

I proclaim the Word of God under the heading Christ has risen; the benefits for the elect.  The Word will teach us three things today:

;  Christ overcame death

He raises us up to a new life

His resurrection is a sure pledge or guarantee of own resurrection.

Today is the most glorious, the most beautiful, the most joyful and the most important day in the life of the Christian Church.  This is the Day of the Lord.  Every Sunday is a celebration of the victory of Jesus Christ over the forces of darkness, the power of sin, the authority of death and the tyranny of hell. On this day, with jubilant and happy hearts the church of the Lord gathers in his Name to unite with the living creatures in heaven, the twenty four elders, the angels in heaven, and the souls of those already victorious in the Lord around his throne of glory, to worship, pray and sing the praises of our Lord and Saviour, the resurrected Lord.

This day sets apart the Christian faith from all other faiths and philosophies.  No other faith has a resurrected Saviour. No other faith has a Saviour who bought the lost, still in rebellion towards their God, with his life, and then also rose again to overcome hell, and sin, and satan and death. ; In fact, all other religions leave it to its followers to work out some way to get to God, or rather a god.  There is no real security of everlasting life, because no one really knows if his attempts were good enough to satisfy his god. Some even teach that you will be recycled back into life until you attain a righteousness acceptable to eternal life.

It is different with the Christian faith. ;  The Bible teaches us, and we know, that God is holy and that we cannot enter God’s kingdom by any other means than heavenly grace. ; The Bible teaches us that we are sinful and therefore God’s enemies on our way to eternal hell, unless God shows us his mercy and grace. Where other religions would teach that humans are basically good and should strive to become better, the Bible is clear:  without grace we are forever doomed to eternal destruction. 

Where other religions teach that by self-improvement, self-torture, asceticism, or whichever method man can attain a righteousness acceptable to God, the Bible is quite honest about Christians:  they are basically bad, unable to do anything for themselves to attain salvation before God.

My dear brother and sister, we find ourselves – in some sense – in bad company.  Here we identify with the lost; here we identify with sinners.

But that’s not the end of the story.  The theme of our sermon this morning is the Risen Christ - and the benefits of his resurrection for the elect. ; Between the holy God and sinful is our Lord and Saviour who paid the price to establish communion between God and us again.

; Christ overcame death

We don’t have a grave or a memorial stone of Jesus Christ.  He is alive.  He has risen. But what does it mean to make this statement 200 thousand years after the resurrection of a person who once died on a cross outside Jerusalem?

We don’t believe in vain!

Let’s ask the children a question:  What are we doing here this morning?  Why have we come to church? Would it be of any value to come to church if Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary never to be raised again?

; Let’s just for one moment presuppose that the statement “Christ is risen” is not true. Then we need to ask this question, “What are we doing here this morning?” Because, if we take the argument of the apostle in this chapter, all preaching would be in vain. This would be true of all Sundays, all your prayers, all your offerings, and all your service in the Lord.

The logic of the argument is stated in the fact that all our preaching, all our service in the Lord, all the work of the church assumes that Christ is alive.  It is the heart of the Gospel.  Paul resolved to know nothing else in his preaching to the Corinthians but Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Now why is it so important to stress this fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Purely because of the fact that between the holy and just God on the one hand, and the pitiful, sinful, and lost sinner, Jesus Christ is standing as resurrected Mediator.  If He only died for us on the cross of Calvary, He would not have achieved any thing for a lost world forever drifting away from God.  ; But the very fact the He rose again, made the salvation complete. Now heaven’s door is opened. Christ bought our righteousness:  He is Gods Friend, and He is our Friend. Without Him we cannot be God’s friends.

Listen to the word of God.  In Romans 4 Paul talks about righteousness.  Righteousness is what the Bible refers to as what we need to be able to live in the presence of God.  By nature we don’t have it.  But we need it.  ; Now Romans 4:24-25:

… 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. (Romans 4:24-25)

Justification is what we need to in the eyes of God be declared free of the charge held against us – sin, and therefore condemned.

Through the resurrection of Christ we are made righteous and declare justified.  Without it, we would be hopeless, helpless and groping in the dark, sinking away in sinking sand.

The apostle Peter states it this way:

; Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you.  (1 Peter 1:3-4)

Because of the resurrection of our Lord, we believe, and our faith is not in vain. The Christian Faith is not a “feel better” religion.  The Christian Faith is a “made new” faith.  It is alive because Christ has risen.

; Christ raises us up to a new life

When you come to Christ, your life changes. It is all because what said up to now, i.e. our faith (what we believe) is not theory.  We put what we believe into practice and show it in deeds. So many Christians fail here.  For so many what they believe is never evident in what they do.  They come to church, they believe the message, but this is where it stays.

I want to ask the children a question:  Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?  Do you believe that He is alive because God brought Him back to life?  Do you know people, maybe some of your classmates who do not believe in Jesus Christ? ; How is your life different from these children?  Do you live differently because Jesus Christ is alive?

Let’s follow the argument of Paul in Romans 6:

·         When we were baptised we were ; united with Christ because baptism signifies our sinfulness and the need to be washed clean in the blood of our Saviour. What Christ did on the cross and through the open grave by faith because ours. Our old self was crucified with Him and the body of sin was done away with.

·         ; Why? That we too may live a new life! We by faith died with Him, and by faith we live with Him. Why?  Because we are united with Him in his resurrection.

·         ; What is the result of all of this for the Christian?  It calls for a new obedience and commitment:

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. (Romans 6:11-13)

If I do just that, why is it all worth the while?

; We don’t live in vain!

Whatever you do in the Name of Jesus Christ, for his sake and the glory of the Father, is worth the while.  Every effort, every bit of energy in service of God is worth the while.  You may spend you life, you may (no: we should!) be spent in the service of God, ; because our labour in the Lord is not in vain! 

The opposite of this is also true:  a life not lived to the glory of God, a life without Jesus Christ as the King of its heart and soul, is a life wasted.  Such a life is a life lived in vain. It is time wasted. My dear brother and sister, may it not be said of your life. May you not one day hear the voice of our Master saying, “I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoer.”

Hear this conclusion of this chapter about the resurrection of our Lord:

; Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

; A sure pledge of our own salvation

Children, you remembered how they crucified Jesus Christ, and they buried Him in a grave that looked like a cave.  But you also know that He was raised again. According to the Bible we believe that just as Jesus rose again, so God will raise all those who believe in Him one day, that last day on this earth. So, if we really believe in Jesus Christ, and our lives show it because we live like shining lights to give glory and thanks to our Father in heaven through Jesus Christ, and we die and they put our bodies in the grave, well, that is not the end.  Because, just as God raised Jesus from the dead, so on that day He will for sure raise our bodies to.  And then we will be with God for ever! Also those who did not believe in God will be raised on that day.  But will not go to heaven.  The Bible teaches that they will forever go to hell.  Pray that God will give you faith to believe in Him and strength to live for Him.

Not only does the resurrection of Christ mean that we received a new nature, a new faith and a new life here and now, it also means that we have a guarantee that we will one day, body and soul, enter into eternal glory. The message from Rom 8:11 is:

; And because the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. (Romans 8:11)

; Christ is called the “firstfruits”:  this is an Old Testament term coming from the feast of the harvest.  The first sheaf of the harvest was given to the Lord as a token that all the harvest belonged to the Lord and would be dedicated to Him through dedicated lives.  So Christ, who has been raised, is the guarantee of the resurrection of all God’s redeemed people. Because He is the firstfruits, He will one day return, and those who belong to Him, will be raised from the graves.

Also, hear the proclamation of 1 Cor 15:21-22:

For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)

What a glorious day that will be!  Paul spells it out in Phil 3:20-21:

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (Philippians 3:20-21)

; Yes, our death will not be in vain.  Because Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, our faith is not futile, our life is not futile and our death is not futile.  Those who died in the Lord are not lost.

The Larger Catechism spells it out:

We believe that at the last day there shall be a general resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust: when they that are then found alive shall in a moment be changed; and the selfsame bodies of the dead which were laid in the grave, being then again united to their souls forever, shall be raised up by the power of Christ.

And we echo this by saying:  I believe in the resurrection of the of the body.

; Conclusion

Dear brother and sister in Jesus Christ, our Lord has risen.  Belief in Him, live for Him and die in Him.  AMEN.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, be pleased to accept and bless all that we have offered to you in this act of worship; and give us grace to show your praise not only with our lips, but in our lives, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Hymn No 223:                            “This is our glad announcement”

Benediction

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)

To the Lamb who was slain we ascribe power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise. AMEN.

Threefold “Amen”

Hymn 637

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